As reported in last month’s issue, Gino Trunzo, formerly assistant vice president of essie, has been named new assistant vice president of business development for Redken and Pureology. Because of his success leading the essie team and helping grow essie sales, some identify Trunzo as a nail expert but his beauty career started in full-service, and he has a broad understanding of professional beauty and how it operates. Before joining essie, he owned and ran Rescue Hand and Foot Spa in Los Angeles, a premier pampering destination. Trunzo has also managed sizeable salons in New York and New Jersey and developed education with Frederic Fekkai and Depasquale the Spa. “I’m not entering the hair world for the first time,” Trunzo says. “I probably know a lot more about hair than most bald men do.”
MODERN jumped on the phone with Trunzo while he was joining Redken at their annual National Artist’s Exchange, held this year in Austin, TX, to hear more about his beauty past and to learn his plans for moving forward with his brands.
MS: Congratulations, Gino! How did this transition come about?
GT: Thanks so much! Everyone from those brands has always made me feel welcome and part of the tribe, inviting me to events, and slowly we started to build some business together. In 2015, I was honored to be asked to speak at Intercoiffure, and that year there was a tribute to Paula Kent Meehan (the founder of Redken) so I was able to spend time with many on the Redken leadership team and to start connecting with the artists. In the past few years, I have been able to open up some business for them along with my work on essie. It has been a very natural progression and one that I’m so happy about.
MS: Tell us a bit about your beauty background.
GT: I come from beauty. My family owned a salon and spa, as well as a beauty school, and for me, everything happens beyond the chair. I educate around business-building tactics for salons and offer high-performance coaching on everything from front desk to retail.
In 2003, I opened Rescue, my boutique hand and foot spa in Los Angeles, because I felt the nail industry needed a boost and needed something new. We were very successful and won many ‘best of’ awards and accolades. It’s so gratifying to have a concept and to see it realized. Rescue was all about how we treated our clients and guests and providing them with an optimum experience.
Being with essie for the past five years gave me a lot of exposure and maybe there are some who will always think of me as a ‘nail person’ but I have been in the salon business and concerned with the business of the salon from the beginning of my career.
MS: What will education look like for the brands?
GT: The good news is that the essie team I built over the last five years is so strong that it runs itself. They are really dialed in. For Redken and Pureology, my main goal is to develop new business and even though I have my hand in education, my primary aim is to bring a new perspective to the business, from the outside looking in. Having already been on the corporate side, I have the advantage of knowing how things run but I get to be that fresh eye.
MS: What are some of the first things you want to do in your new role?
GT: Before the holidays in 2017, I really hit the ground running. I’m working with some high-profile hotels, transportation hubs and boutique distributors who will be handling new business that I create for them.
MS: How will you be responding to changes in the industry, including independent artists and changes in how product is sold?
GT: The beauty industry has been changing dramatically with suite and independents opening up and I have a strategy for how they can build their business. There is so much education and business training that a future professional needs to learn and many are missing out on collaboration from stylists and amazing leaders in the industry. I have a plan to help with this.
MS: And how will you be approaching the retail side of things?
GT: We noticed that the salon suites and independents are doing the service but they are not giving their clients the proper take home to continue with their care. I want to talk to them about selling with integrity; I have never sold a day in my life but I have always made sure that every guest has what they need to complement the salon services when they walk out the door. It’s not about the dollar but about the relationship you create with your client and the recommendations you, the professional, make. You wouldn’t go to a doctor to have a procedure done and not take the medication they prescribe. At Redken and Pureology we are staying ahead of the curve and you are going to see a lot of great things happening, soon.
MS: Final words?
GT: While so many industry professional know me for my work with the nail segment of beauty, I grew up in the beauty industry and I owe so much to my cousin, Frank Bennett. He brought me to the dance and will always be a mentor to me. Frank owns A.F. Bennett Salon and Wellness Spa in New York and a Paul Mitchell School, as well. He is a master colorist, with a 22 chair salon in its 20th year. Frank is all about continuing education and even closes on Mondays so his staff has access to the latest, newest, and greatest in education.
I’ve had many mentors but I really want to thank Frank for introducing me to this wonderful industry. I dedicate everything to him.