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Media the key to salon success

Frank and Helen Ciccone had been married less than a month when they bought the Macleod hair business that now employs 10 staff. In 22 years of business, they’ve given over a quarter of a million dollars back to the local community via sponsorships.

“Our aim was to put Macleod on the map” says Frank, remembering when they first opened Hair By Ciccone in 1996.

“But it was Helen’s business brain that helped it all happen” he adds.

“When we started, Macleod had an elderly clientele, but Helen had this vision that she wanted to make our salon a bit more trendy, a bit more Chapel Street. She told me not to look at what other salons in the area were doing, just to do our own thing. It was hard in the beginning, but we just put our heads down and didn’t go out on Saturday nights like our friends…we ate a lot of pizzas!” he says, laughing.

In 2000, a mystery shopper changed everything.

“Fox FM called us to say we’d won Melbourne’s Best Hairdressing Salon which was through a mystery shopper – we still don’t know who it was. They came and filmed live in the salon and suddenly everyone knew about us. We advertised in the local Leader newspapers but advertising was expensive. So that media from winning the Fox FM award, suddenly all of Melbourne knew about us…”

Frank and Helen loved working on red carpet events, so they started pitching for more celebrity and media clients through the Fox FM link. Tim Cahill and the Socceroos would get their cuts at Macleod, but another call came in 2010 which changed things again.

Slash from Guns N Roses was in town for some live concerts at the Metro, and for three days Frank and Helen stayed on-site at Crown as the official hairdressers and stylists for Slash, INXS, Vanessa Amorosi, Em Rusciano, the entire Geordie Shore Cast and Wolfmother.

Frank started sharing snaps from the celebrity events on Facebook and instagram, and soon after they were the official hairdressers for the ARIAs, as well as celebrities such as Sia, Rebel Wilson, Sophie Monk, Powderfinger, and the Miss World Australia awards. Last year, they even went to the Emmys in Los Angeles.

Both extroverts who love engaging with the community and the international stage, Frank also says marketing is a huge part of their success.

“With social media, you can do that now and it’s not expensive, like advertising used to be.”

While they have an extraordinary list of celebrity clientele, Frank is keen to stress that the family-run salon is the main business, and their motto is that they service the first cut to the last.

“We have people of all ages come in here, and we don’t want to be too pricey for that reason” he says.

Asked if he has any advice to upcoming business owners, Frank barely skips a beat.

“Put a smile on your face even if you’re having the worst day of your life. The customer has to be the most important thing.”

“Treat your staff really well. And persist. Don’t think your business is going to happen overnight. And use social media.”

When not primping stars for the ARIAS and other galas, Frank and Helen are always in their salon, treating each customer as if they’re the latest rock star to walk through the doors.

Hair By Ciccone
48 Aberdeen Rd Macleod
03 9459 0161