Peter Coppola Beauty recently announced the appointment of Pirooz Sarshar to the position of chief operating officer. Sarshar has held many positions in the professional beauty industry, including stylist to session artist to educator and from salon chain manager to distributor salon consultant, product developer and brand owner.
Sarshar says his mother forced him to practice karate and work in her Washington, DC-salon after school to keep him out of trouble. He was shampooing hair and sweeping the salon at the same age—12—that he earned his black belt. “After a while, I said if I have to do this, I might as well make money, so when two stylists offered to teach me to cut hair, I jumped at the opportunity,” he explains. And when his mother started bringing top educators to the salon from Paris to teach cutting, he joined in the training.
On a trip to New York City, Pirooz wanted to get his hair cut. His older sister recommended Bruno Dessange Salon. “A stylist there gave me a haircut that changed my life,” he says. “I felt so good about myself, that I had to go back. On my second visit, the stylist told me that he was moving to Washington, DC. When I learned that he was interested in martial arts, I offered to teach him karate if he’d teach me hair cutting. I started assisting him, then I’d cut hair on Saturdays and charged crazy money.”
After enrolling in the Graham Webb Academy in Washington, DC, Sarshar learned to color hair. When the school was featured in Vogue for the work they did using coloring guns, he become obsessed. He assisted top stylists to continue his learning, then began managing a chain of salons, which became very successful. He moved to New York City, where he worked at Bruno Dessange—then Bruno Pittini—while doing session work and producing shoots. When the salon closed, he went to France for more technical training.
Returning to Washington, DC at age 23, Sarshar went to work as a distributor sales consultant. After achieving great success by focusing on the 20% of the salons that provided 80% of the business, he asked to change his title to salon consultant so he could work more closely with his customers to help them achieve success. He created a new role for the traditional DSC as salon partner and business-builder.
After being contacted by a colleague who was launching a professional hair care brand for children—Jungle Care—Pirooz began learning manufacturing, branding and product development.
When Sarshar launched the Grooming Lounge, focusing on the male client, he created a three-pronged approach, using stores, a catalog and the Web, to change the way the industry approaches men’s personal care. “We trained people out of beauty school how to retail first, then how to cut men’s hair. That’s how we ended up with 40% of our sales from products,” he explains. “We remembered our clients’ names, educated them about hair care and skin care and grew the average annual client spend from $600 to $6,000. We did 10,000 cuts and shaves a year and were the first group to service salon clients via the internet between services. We did tons of press and made the experience and brand fun by making fun of grooming in our media."
After growing the Grooming Lounge into a well-recognized brand, Sarshar moved back to New York City. There, he began helping people from hair stylists to entrepreneurs create legacy brands of all sizes. Once he teamed up with his cousin to open a boutique product laboratory and manufacturing facility, he was able to develop brands from concept to distribution and every step in between.
Now, as chief operating officer for Peter Coppola Beauty, he’s focusing on developing services, products and an education system that hair stylists will use to achieve success by solving their clients’ modern wants and needs.
“My goal it to turn the industry on its head,” he says. “I’m a guy who loves the professional beauty business and is very concerned about its future. A lot of people are doing a lot of wrong. Peter Coppola Beauty is all about bringing this industry back to hairstylists, doing what’s right for them and giving them the tools to do what’s right for their clients.”
Sarshar’s book, “It’s Not Easy Being a Man,” is coming out soon.