Iles Formula Hair Talk are pleased to introduce Giovanni Vaccaro.
Giovanni is obsessed with creating unforgettable customer experiences. As a top hairdresser in NYC, he parlayed his expertise in hairstyling with his passion for innovation and hospitality by co-founding the mobile beauty app Glamsquad. Since 2014 this brand has disrupted the beauty industry by allowing you to get ready in the comfort of your own home with top Glamsquad artists.
In just 8 years, Glamsquad has completed over 1,000,000 services with a community of 1,500 beauty professionals nationwide. As a modern leader, his formula Listen.Learn.Lead fosters trust, high energy, transparency, and approachability because he believes trust-based cultures have the ability to create unparalleled success.
Vaccaro has been published in the pages of Cosmopolitan, Brides, Elle, Vogue, Oprah, and InStyle and has been seen on morning shows such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, QVC and Access Hollywood.
Tell us a little about your journey to the world of hairdressing.
My upbringing in the restaurant industry, rooted in the traditions of my immigrant Italian family, has profoundly shaped my perspective on service and hospitality, but I knew the restaurant business wasn’t for me. A pivotal shift happened when I began spending time at my friend's mother's salon.
I quickly recognized the remarkable ability of hairdressers to transform not only someone’s physical appearance but also someone’s energy and self-confidence. After that experience, I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser.
Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
Studying psychology in school, I was always curious about people and their behaviors. I knew early on I wasn’t built for a typical office 9-5 job. I wanted to connect and build relationships with others while running my business, and saw hairdressing as my opportunity. I appreciated the 1 on 1 with a client, building trust with another human and helping to give someone else confidence through their physical appearance. It all sounded so powerful!
My plan, which worked out, was to attend beauty school first, graduate, and then go straight to the number 1 salon in NY at the time, Fekkai. I was fortunate enough to see my vision come to life.
If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser to begin with, what would you have been?
I didn’t really have a plan B at the time because I don’t believe in them. I think you give your plan A literally everything you’ve got and there is no way you can fail. But when I was in my early teens, I wanted to be an NBA basketball coach, so if hairdressing didn’t work out, I’d find myself in the coaching industry.
What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is understanding people. Business is made up of people and to be great at business, you have to be great at understanding people. I’ve worked very hard over my career to become a great listener and strong communicator.
What made you decide to make the leap from hairstylist to entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship demands a significant tolerance for risk. Eleven years ago, when the concept of Glamsquad first took shape, I held one of the most substantial client books at Fekkai. But I believed so much in the idea of on-demand mobile beauty services and creating massive opportunities for the beauty pro freelancer community that I was willing to walk away from my success behind the chair and take the path of greatest resistance.
The decision to venture into the unknown, leaving behind a secure and thriving career, has not only contributed to the growth of Glamsquad but has also played a role in reshaping the landscape of on-demand beauty services.
Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favorite?
My wife is a beauty expert who receives tons of products from brands. I found Iles Formula Shampoo in my shower and quickly fell in love with not only the timeless and chic packaging, but also how expensive the shampoo felt. It lathered better than anything I’ve used and my hair, which is thick and wavy, was the perfect balance of cleanliness with manageability. I’m totally hooked.
What was your worst hair moment and why, privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
Over the years, I’ve led many NYFW shows. But 1 in particular left a scar. The founder and the creative director of the fashion brand had a completely different vision of what they wanted the hair to look like.
The founder’s vision was more timeless and sophisticated, and the creative director wanted something more grunge and edgy. As you can imagine, this turned into a nightmare and an end result I wasn’t proud of. It was a mess.
If you could style, or provide a Glamsquad hair service to anyone, who would it be and why?
Cindy Crawford. She is such an icon in fashion and beauty and I’ve always been obsessed with the 90’s blowout!
Your squad of stylists are based all over the US. How do you manage the squad and ensure Glamsquad standards are maintained?
We built and scaled Glamsquad because we knew we needed to create the best customer experience through on-boarding and retaining top pros combined with great technology. Every pro goes through a technical evaluation and character assessment to ensure they meet the Glamsquad standard before joining.
We accept less than 20% of pros that apply, so the bar is really high. The average years of experience of our stylist community is 7 years. Additionally, we have a very sophisticated algorithm that matches pros to clients based on reviews, reliability, performance and other inputs.
Your advice to young stylists with entrepreneur aspirations?
My favorite quote by Dan Koe I believe speaks to every existing and future entrepreneur. “The best way to make a leap toward a better life is to force yourself into a place you don’t belong. You can get scared and run away or grow until you belong.”
Throughout your journey, you’ll find yourself in rooms you may not belong in, around people you may be intimidated by. This discomfort means you’re growing.