Sales & Marketing / Salon Owner's Summit / Leadership

Geno Stampora: What 30 Years Experience Taught Him About the Fundamentals of a Successful Salon

6 min

Geno Stampora: What 30 Years Experience Taught Him About the Fundamentals of a Successful Salon

The charisma of Geno Stampora is something that must be experienced in person to truly appreciate it. The man, the myth, the legend, Geno’s performance at the 2024 Salon Owners Summit was part standup comedy, part motivational speech and earned him a standing ovation. He enthralled the crowd with his stories and straight-talking insights. In one moment, he had you laughing at his observational comedic impressions, like the calm nail techs, ‘high’ on fumes, or his nightmare about all his clients showing up at the same party with the same mullet. In the next moment, you find yourself moved by his vulnerability and earnest mantra that “there is greatness in all of us.” 

A former owner of multiple successful salons on the East Coast of the United States, Geno has employed hundreds of hair and beauty professionals. He has been a highly requested public speaker, mentor and business coach for over 30 years and is the author of Success Dynamics, which has become a beauty academy textbook in the US. He is also one of 22 beauty professionals in history to be inducted into the North American Hairdressing Awards “Hall of Leaders.” 

“The best thing I ever did in my life was become a hairdresser,” Geno says. And his deep love and respect for the industry come across in his every word. He began his talk by pointing out the chair he brought with him onstage (“because a hairdresser is more comfortable talking from behind a chair”) and wrapped up by telling the audience how he has made a habit of visiting local salons on his vacations, dropping in with pizza to connect with “his people.”

“I love us,” he beams. 

Our Favourite Geno-isms

It would be impossible to recap all of the gems of wisdom Geno dropped during his 60-minute talkinterspersed with fantastical anecdotes from his storied life in the industry. Instead, we’ll share just some of our favourite Geno-ismshis thought-provoking one-liners that cut to the core of what matters for salon owners:

  • “In order to be creative, you must be receptive to new thinking, new ideas and new learning.”
  • “Anybody can compete with a great haircut. No one can compete with how you make a customer feel.”
  • “In the absence of culture, there is culture. It’s just not your culture.”
  • Speaking about self-limiting beliefs, Geno asks, “How much is it costing me to think like I think? Where would you be if you became aware of your complete potential? Give 100% every time it matters.”
  • “Value is the difference between what your client gets and what they expect.
  • “My goal with every client? I want to be your dinner story.”
  • “If you don’t forget what you were, you don’t allow yourself to become what you could be.”
  • “You must have faith, confidence, and belief in your products, your services, and your ideas.”
  • “You’ve already been at the right place at the right time, but you just weren’t ready.” 

Geno’s Fundamentals of Success

Drawing from his experience of building and running multiple thriving salon businesses, Geno outlined what he believes are the core fundamentals any salon owner needs to be successful. 


“It’s simple. If you look at your book and your client isn’t coming back, they didn’t get value. Value is the difference between what your client gets and what they expect. How do you make a commitment to blowing a client’s mind every time they come in? Exceed their expectations. Make them love you.” 

Customer Service

“Be aware of what it’s like to be a guest, to be a client, and then treat them like that. Don’t make it hard. All you have to do is listen. My greatest line was, ‘You matter to me.’ Once they know your heart is in the game, the value soars, and the customer service is right on top.”

Grow a Great Team

Geno shared two fundamentals to growing great teamsthe first is to create a culture of positivity and knowledge sharing: “To grow a team, you have to share credit and share knowledge. When the girl working two seats down from you is selling 35% professional products, why don’t you take her to lunch and talk to her? Ask her, ‘How do you do it? How can I be like you?’ 

The second is to build up their spirit and free them from limiting beliefs. “Why do we waste so many moments, so many hours, so many days trying to figure things out, not being happy with ourselves, thinking maybe we don’t have what it takes? You all have what it takes. And you’ve got a lot of people here that will help you get more of what it takes to get to where you’re going.”

On this topic, Geno read aloud three ‘grounding letters’* that he comes back to all the time. Mantras help him see past his own limiting beliefs, and he shares these with his teams and other important people in his life. At the end of this article, you can read each of these in full.


In this industry, Geno insists that salon businesses need to “market 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.” In other words, you, as a salon owner and your team, need to embody the brand of your business. “If you’re charging eighty dollars, look like eighty dollars. If you’re charging a hundred pounds, look like a hundred pounds. Make your dress, your look, your face, and your body language match your price.” Because, he says, that’s what you’re marketing.

“We give people the added confidence of knowing they look their best. How do you market that? You let them know that you are more than worth the money. That you will make them look the best they could possibly look and feel the best they could possibly feel.”

Geno’s Acronym for Marketing Best Practices

Taking a deeper dive into the marketing fundamentals, Geno shared a memorable acronym based on the word:

M: Memorable

Be charismatic and unforgettable

A: Appearance 

Do you look like you matter? Do you look like you’re smart?” Geno gives the example of searching for a friendly stranger to ask for directions in an unfamiliar city. “Look like someone who knows,” he says. 

R: Responsive 

Be responsive to your customer’s needs.  Geno says, “Everyone is loyal. They are just looking for the right place.” Be worth their loyalty.

K: Keep Contact 

If someone hasn’t returned to your salon, Geno suggests simply asking them why. “The truth will set you free. Say, ‘I worked on you a couple months ago. We believe in lifetime customers and long-term relationships at this salon. You came in, but you never came back. How can I get you back in here?’ Find out what didn’t work, what went wrong, why they didn’t achieve that value.

E: Evaluate 

Geno recommends living by Kaizen, the Japanese term for constant, neverending improvement. “Constantly evaluate. What’s not working? How do we make it better? What is working, and how do we improve upon it?”

T: Target

Another Geno-ism: “If I aim at nothing, I won’t miss.” 

*Geno’s 3 Grounding Letters

May there today be peace within.

May you trust that you are exactly where you’re meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. 

May you be content with yourself just the way you are. 

Let this knowledge settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing and dance and praise and love. 

It is there for each and every one of us.

—Minnie Louise Haskins

I am deserving. I deserve all good. Not some, not a little bit, but all good. 

I now move past all negative, restricting thoughts. 

I release and let go of the limitations of my parents. I love them, and I go beyond them. 

I am not their negative opinions, nor their limiting beliefs. 

I am not bound by any of the fears or prejudices of the current society I live in. 

I no longer identify with limitation of any kind. 

In my mind, I have total freedom.

I now move into a new space of consciousness, where I am willing to see myself differently. 

I am willing to create new thoughts about myself and about my life. 

My new thinking becomes new experiences.

—Louise Hay

If I had only known

It was the last walk in the rain

I’d keep you out for hours in the storm

I would hold your hand

Like a life line to my heart

Underneath the thunder we’d be warm

If I had only known

It was our last walk in the rain

If I had only known

I’d never hear your voice again

I’d memorize each thing you ever said

And on those lonely nights

I could think of them once more

Keep your words alive inside my head

If I had only known

I’d never hear your voice again

You were the treasure in my hand

You were the one who always stood beside me

So unaware I foolishly believed

That you would always be there

But then there came a day

And I turned my head and you slipped away

If I had only known

It was my last night by your side

I’d pray a miracle would stop the dawn

And when you’d smile at me

I would look into your eyes

And make sure you know my love

For you goes on and on

If I had only known

If I had only known

The love I would’ve shown

If I had only known

—Reba McEntire

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