Growing up everyone has an idol. Mine changed many times over the years and as I would grow and develop so would my idols. For example, I went from wanting to be like Paris Hilton in her Simple Life days (yes, that really happened – not my proudest moment) to wanting to be just like Rachel Zoe and become a fashion industry powerhouse just like she was.

That was until I met the very special Mario Tricoci!  He started his own business at 21, grew it into an empire in just a short time, and now  is one of the most respected individuals in the beauty industry! Naturally, I had to sit down with him and pick his mind about his career, the beauty industry and entrepreneurship.

Honestly Unfiltered : How did you get your start as a hair stylist?
Mario Tricoci: I was a baby! I was in highschool and had been working as an assistant after school. When I graduated, I got a job offer in Chicago. Without hesitation, I went back to Italy, got my green card, and moved  here!


HU: When in your career did you decide that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

MT: Right away! I was 21 and the choice already felt so natural to me. I made the choice to own my own business primarily because I truly love what I do, and I love the people that I work with – I couldn’t have imagined doing anything else.


HU: We all know that owning your own business can be exhausting but what would you say is the most rewarding part about what you do? 

MT: My gratification comes from the fact that I have the power to make people’s day. The thought that I was somewhat responsible for how their day turned out was all I needed! As long as they were happy, I was happy! That’s what we continue to do at the Mario Triccoi salons now. We want to be that deciding factor on whether or not someone has a good day.


HU: Aside from your gorgeous salons, you also have a school. What sets your students apart from those attending any other beauty school in the country?
MT:  Passion. When attending our school, that’s the one thing that we ask that our students come with. It’s important to me because I know passion is what separates people who want a career from those who are just looking for a job. A career is a lifestyle and a job is something that you do because you have to.


HU: Exactly! As an entrepunuer myself, I can agree that if you have a career, you will never work a day in your life.
MT: Yes! You go to bed and wake up thinking about it, and in my case sometimes even dream about it! What I do never really leaves my mind. I’m constantly thinking of ways to improve or about what I would have done to a client’s hair differently – my mind never shuts off. That’s truly a part about what keeps me young as well.

WWN: As an expert in your field, what advice would you give to those who are just getting started?
MT:  Never stop being a student. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been doing something for 5 minutes or 50 years. There is always room for improvement!


WWN: I’m sure that you’ve inspired many people throughout your career. Is there anyone that inspired you along your career journey?
MT:  There was a woman that lived right here in Chicago, that passed away not to long ago at the young age of 99 years old. She was the inventor of the beehive hairstyle. Her name was Margret Vinci Heldt and when I came to Chicago all those years ago, she was one of the first people to believe in me, and encourage me to never give up. Vidal Sassoon was also a mentor of mine – he was another true legend in the beauty industry.


WWN: Though you’ve been expanding your business for years, whats next for Mario Tricocci?
MT: I just want to see that the people who work with us continues to learn. My goal is to have everyone remain a student. I want to see everyone that I’ve helped train continue to develop themselves and become better and better each day.I’m always moving forward and I want to help the people that surround me do the same!


Photos By: Nicole Gardner