It is with great sadness that we learnt on Sunday of the death of our Toni Mascolo OBE, co-founder Toni & Guy and Founding E2E Pioneer. Toni’s profound impact as he took entrepreneurs on his extraordinary journey through over half a century of business, inspiring and guiding them to face their challenges, scale, and grow to reach their true potential was exceptional. As the founding father of the first UK franchise business model in 1984, Toni demonstrated the drive and determination needed to expand successfully across the world, and used his own lessons to mentor others to do the same. To put this in perspective, the contribution of franchising to the UK is now estimated at over £15.1billion and the number of people employed in franchising totals 621,000 – a figure that was non-existent when Toni began franchising the Toni & Guy hairdressing model.
Toni was a truly extraordinary entrepreneur. He was a pioneer in the hairdressing industry and a committed philanthropist. He grew one of the most recognisable and influential brands in the world during a career that spans over 50 years – an achievement that is coveted by many but achieved by few. He was also a man who worked with great integrity and humility. He put his heart and soul into everything that he did, and gave everyone his time along the way.
A genuinely altruistic leader with a visible passion for helping others to achieve their goals, Toni’s spirit shone through in his every activity; from the first educational academy he founded to train and progress new hairdressers in 1984, which now trains an average of 100,000 hairdressers a year, to his philanthropic commitments which are distributed to a range of charities and the underprivileged via the Toni & Guy Foundation, which he, and his wife Pauline, have been running for nearly 15 years.
There is no doubt that Toni has been the major and lasting influence in his industry. He employed more than 8000 staff, generated through over 500 salons across the world, with a turnover of over £175million. And the Toni & Guy brand is not just instrumental in the hairdressing industry, it is a major influence in the fashion industry too; as the official sponsor of London Fashion Week it brings great distinction to the UK.
Toni was one of the UK’s original and most significant disruptive entrepreneurs; he had the resilience to overcome severe adversity in his younger years, and the courage and vision to create a brand that changed an industry, developing new ideas and techniques that are now replicated the world over. He also branched out into new areas of entrepreneurship, such as food products and the popular Café Fratelli, which demonstrated his ability to diversify across markets with continued economic success.
But Toni & Guy remained Toni’s primary focus and at the 50th celebration of the brand it was incredible to hear him speak with as much passion and vigour for his business as he had at the start saying, “We may be celebrating 50 years, but we’re only just beginning” which truly summed up his continued drive for success. He was an exemplary role model not only to hairdressers but to all aspiring entrepreneurs the world over.
Toni was a true team leader, always bringing others together, leading by example at every step, and putting his people first, no matter where they are in the world or what they need. He was also a significant wealth creator at every level – both for the UK economy and for each individual who develops their career with Toni & Guy. A mentor, investor and hands-on supporter for anyone who needed his help or guidance, Toni was an inspiration beyond comparison and at this sad time we would like to pass on our condolences to his family and many friends, #thelegendwillneverdie.