Catching up with Tomy Biton is no small task. Between operating his own salon, building a new salon, financial consulting for large companies in manhattan, and traveling the globe, Tomy is always on the go looking for his next big business adventure. Though he is in the running for “Busiest Man in the World”, few things are more important to Tomy than his clients. Most of them like family, Tomy prides himself on the relationship he has built with each person who walks through the salon doors. Sitting down to answer a few simple questions, the passion he has for the industry, his business, and life in general is overwhelming.
How long have you been doing hair?
I started when I was 16, so about 23 years now.
Who inspired you to get into the beauty industry?
My uncle in Israel. As a boy, I used to go to his shop after school and wash hair. After doing that, I decided to go to beauty school at 14 through a high school program. After finishing beauty school, I went to college back in Israel, then moved to France to do hair under Jean Pierre Luc. After Paris, I moved to New York to pursue both finance education and hair.
But my uncle gave me my start and he is my biggest inspiration and he’s still doing hair to this day. In fact, I fly all the way to Israel so he can cut my hair.
Why do you love the industry?
It was the first industry I was able to work in as a young man. I saw a lot of opportunity & potential to grow both financially & creatively. It’s one of the only industries that allows you to utilize both a business mind and a creative mind.
You’re opening a new salon, what’s your motivation behind that?
I finally got to a point in my career where I can do it because I want to do it. I have more time now, I did well with financial work so now I’m able to build my salon business even further. It was always my hobby, but I finally have the time now to make it my business. My goal is to create an environment where I can give opportunity to other stylists. I want to teach “why” not just “how”. Knowing the chemistry behind the color and the physics behind the cut is just as important as knowing everything else.
What’s your trick to balancing work & play?
Time management is everything. For a long time, I couldn’t take new clients because I just didn’t have the time. It was difficult to run a salon and be in finance at the same time. As soon as I was able to focus more on operating my own salon, I branched out my clientele and grew my business.
If you could, What would you change about the industry?
Where do we begin? I would advise a college education. Education, beyond just beauty school, is so important. This industry should not be a fallback, it should be a passion. I’d love to see more men doing hair, too! The stereotype that only women do hair is old school. It’s also so important to address that you can be financially successful AND a hairdresser. It takes time and focus, but it’s possible. Lastly, I’d like to see more salons in between the mom & pop and the chain salon. There is too great a divide and lots of room to fill.
What is your favorite quote?
“Failure is the mother of success.” I’ve proved this to myself many times throughout my career. While building my product line, It took a lot of trial and error. You have to continually try to breed new successes.
What are your passions outside the salon?
Financials, economics, trading options- I love numbers.
I also love museums, music, going to concerts, scuba diving, snowboarding and traveling.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone?
Don’t block yourself. Go with your heart, do what you believe in. Don’t ever let failures, mistakes, or setbacks stop you from reaching your goals.