After proudly serving in the United States Air Force, Pivot Point graduate Frank James Dibrino went on to win multiple hairstyling competitions, as a cosmetology student, then a professional. A former national educator and platform artist for Scruples and Logics, his works has appeared on television and in print. As the owner and visionary at Twisted Bangz Salon in EastChester, New York, FrankJames was recently named best stylist and colorist by Westchester Magazine.
As part of our new series “Profiles in Leadership,” SALON TODAY caught up with this Intercoiffure member recently for a little one-on-one interview:
ST: What is your strongest leadership quality, and how has it helped you grow your business?
FrankJames: “To inspire and motivate others to be the best they can be. To guide and help my team members to not only achieve their personal goals, but to also help them contribute unselfishly to the overall goals of Twisted Bangz Salon.
ST: How would you describe your management style?
FrankJames: “From when I was a kid playing sports, I have always been a team-minded player. I bring that philosophy to my day-to-day business practice. Over the years, I have learned that we are all individuals, and it is my ‘job’ to get to know and understand each team member, what makes them tick and what motivates them. It is my responsibility to help them be the best they can be and to be that go-to person as a source they can tap into. The one shortcoming I would love to overcome is getting rid of that ‘monkey noise chatter’ in my head (No, I don’t hear voices, LOL) when I feel I haven’t accomplished enough for my business.”
ST: What the best lesson you’ve learned after making a mistake?
FrankJames: “To learn from all my mistake and to move on. It’s part of the learning and growing process. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Networking with my fellow salon owners from Intercoiffure has been priceless as there is a wealth of knowledge we all unselfishly are willing to share. When we help one another, we are collectively raising the level of excellence within our profession.”
ST: What ‘Ah-Ha’ moments of clarity helped you shape the future course of your business?
FrankJames: “In short, when something didn’t work, I’ve learned to try something new. Making mistakes has made me more aware of my decision making, especially in the hiring process. I’ve learned to spend more time on hiring, so I can spend less time firing. For example, Intercoiffure’s Candy Shaw shared a bit of advice her father told her: ‘Grow from the bottom and prune from the top.’”
ST: From where do you draw your strength?
FrankJames: “First from my two boys—JonRoss and Nicholas. Secondly, the fire in my belly came from being told growing up that I wasn’t any good. That became a source of fuel that rocketed me to strive for more and to be the best I can in all aspects of life.”
ST: Who have been your biggest mentors and what have they taught you?
FrankJames: “Vidal Sassoon and Leo Passage, as well as the co-founders of Scruples—the late Jack Story and Frank Liguori. They gave me my first big breaks as a platform artists. And, on a very personal and professional level, my former employer, the late Victor Balestri first introduced me to Intercoiffure. He left behind a legacy of inspiring others and in honor of him, I want to do the same.”
ST: How do you set goals for yourself, and how do you hold yourself accountable?
FrankJames: “Throw anything at me—large or small—and I will face it head on. I am a warrior. I hold myself accountable because that is the right thing to do. I learned that both growing up in a strict Italian home and from the US Air Force.”
ST: What is the single biggest threat that beauty businesses like yours face?
FrankJames: “The government lowering our standards by doing away with the licensing process. We must band together and educate the politicians that our profession is a noble one which requires extensive training.”
ST: What’s the biggest opportunity for salons like yours over the next five years?
FrankJames: “Beauty on wheels as an extension of a brick and mortar salon.
ST: If you weren’t in the beauty business, what would you be doing now?
FrankJames: “Pursuing a career as a jet engine mechanic—that is what I did in the Air Force.”
ST: If you were training someone to take over your job, what advice would you offer them?
FrandJames: “Invest in a lot of wine and a therapist! Seriously though, find a mentor, network, take classes, read, take chances, think outside the box and even look outside our professional and learn from other industries. Most of all, embrace change.”
ST: If you were to look at a scrapbook of your professional career, what would be your favorite page?
FrankJames: “When I was in the Air Force and stationed in Texas, I met a young lady in the club who couldn’t believe I was a jet engine mechanic. She took my hand and said, ‘These aren’t mechanic hands, these are hairdresser hands.’ That launched my desire to pursue cosmetology school.”
ST: How would you like to spend your retirement?
FrankJames: With friends and family, BBQing, attending custom car and motorcycle shows, drag racing, going to the gun range, traveling with my boys and still contributing to the beauty and hair profession in some capacity.”
ST: Whom do you lean on for advice, support and wisdom?
FrankJames: On a professional level, Tony Commisso, Renee Spagnolo, Anthony DeFranco and Frank Warner. On a personal level, my friend Steven Smith who helps me with the monkey noise chatter in my head.
ST: What makes your beauty business unique?
FrankJames: “We do twisted, dope hair in a place of coolness.”
ST: What’s your next professional step?
FrankJames: I hope to launch an advanced academy right down the stairs in my salon.”
ST: If someone were to write a book about you, what would be an appropriate title?
FrankJames: “Frank James Dibrino: Twisted AF & Unfiltered. A journey through life’s ups and downs and how to bounce back better than before.”
ST: Why did you want to join Intercoiffure?
FrankJames: “I wanted to give back to the profession that has been so good to me.”
ST: What has been the biggest benefit of your ICA membership?
FrankJames: “The friendships.”
For more information about Intercoiffure Canada America and becoming a member, visit Intercoiffure.com.