Success Story: Desire, Dedication and Determination with Richard Calcasola

In this Success Story, we bring another new perspective on the ever changing beauty industry from Richard Calcasola, owner of Maximus Spa/Salons of Long Island and member of Intercoiffure USA. Richard has been innovating in the industry for decades and has recently brought inspiration to the family of Repêchage spas at the Power Lunch event in December. Find out what it takes to manage over 150 employees, where Richard sees himself in 10 years and what celebrities are on Richard’s hair-to-do list.

Repêchage: How did you get started in the salon industry?

Richard Calcasola: I went to hairdressing school in the late 1960s and opened my first salon in 1970. It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since!

Repêchage: Was there a defining moment when you decided to open your own salon?

Richard Calcasola: I was very unhappy where I was working and decided to move out of the community and start all over in a brand new, up and coming community!

Repêchage: As an owner with a background in hair, how do you effectively incorporate skincare as a prominent piece of your business?

Richard Calcasola: Almost 20 years ago, it became evident that a good friend of mine, Noelle de Caprio’s, influence in the spa industry was becoming apparent. Our close relationship allowed her to encourage me to start thinking about skincare. In an effort to incorporate skincare with our overall hair background, I surround myself with people who know a lot about skincare! With the help of Lydia Sarfati, we’ve actually brought skincare out of the spa and into the salon with our FaceBar. Having skincare so visible and easily accessible made it much easier for us to incorporate skincare education and services to an already loyal clientele.

Repêchage: You were very busy preparing the opening of the Old Country Road location recently. What went into conceptualizing and creating this new state of the art salon and spa?

Richard Calcasola: The most important thing we wanted to accomplish was taking advantage of an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, offer new services and introduce our clients to new products like Repêchage. It was critical, especially during these very trying times, to offer something beyond same old. It had to be new. I firmly believe clients will spend the money if they see the value and perceive it as being different. Our location was perfect after moving out of a bankrupt mall. It is two blocks away with a parking lot that can hold 300 cars, so this gave us greater visibility and plenty of parking! We were also concerned with making a move that we didn’t leave any clients behind, so with it being only two blocks away we were able to bring everyone with us.

Repêchage: How do you keep yourself motivated and energized every day?

Richard Calcasola: I am never bored! I’m constantly educating myself—reading. I am fortunate in that I still have the creative passion. It’s no different than 40 years ago when I opened up my first salon. My job provides me with tremendous diversity—as a CEO of a company with two locations and over 150 employees and I’m able to still style hair for photo shoots on a VIP basis at the salon level. No two days are alike in my world. Every day is different. I read a great deal about fashion, beauty, art—all the things that stimulate creativity.

Repêchage: Where do you see Maximus Spa/Salons in 10 years?

Richard Calcasola: In the hands of others! In the next 10 years, I will hopefully have a company model that is sustainable with the help of a well prepared leadership team including my family. I expect my wife, Joyce, and my daughter, Laura to continue with the same energy and with the help of people who are in management.

I’ll be at the beach under a palm tree, reading and sending emails!

Repêchage: You recently spoke at our Power Lunch event and gave attendees an amazing speech on succeeding in business. Can you share the nuts and bolts with us now?

Richard Calcasola: First, stay informed. Keep your finger on the pulse. Realize that the plates spin of fury. You must spin each plate enough to keep it going. You will be able to overcome challenges with desire dedication and most of all determination.

Repêchage: How do you maintain your work/life balance?

Richard Calcasola: I’m very fortunate in that my work and life are almost one in the same. We enjoy what we do most of the time so that it’s so interrelated that it’s every day. My family and I work together. To me there’s balance because it’s so intertwined that it’s related. It’s not like I punch out and take three days off and come back Wednesday. If I go to a movie, I’ll somehow bring that back to the salon. One of the nice parts of research in business are spa services.

Repêchage: What is the one song you can’t stop listening to right now?

Richard Calcasola: I’ve been very into 50’s music right now! It’s just fun, easy, romantic and reminds me of some very good times.

Repêchage: Who had the best hair at the Grammy’s?

Richard Calcasola: I didn’t stay up long enough to see it all! Not much after the tribute to Aretha. There were five fantastic vocalists. It wasn’t really about hair, it was more about costumes! I don’t think there will be many hair trends coming out of the Grammy’s as much as outlandish and entertaining costumes. I think it came down to who could be the most daring.

Repêchage: Is there one celebrity whose hair you’re dying to do?

Richard Calcasola: Natalie Portman is high on the list! Jennifer Aniston, who didn’t like her Friends haircut, I would love the opportunity to restyle her hair! It became such a thing that she said she can’t believe she’s known for her hair more than her acting!

Repêchage: Do you have any upcoming plans to travel? Where are you planning to go?

Richard Calcasola: We’re going to Mexico on a business retreat! That will be in mid May.

Repêchage: What is the best tip you can give to someone looking to open their own salon right now?

Richard Calcasola: Do it your way! Do your homework and pay attention to the math.

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