Role Models: Izzazu Salon, Spa and Serata

Izzazu Salon, Spa and Serata: Pittsburg and Wexford, PA

Their Story

How did a little salon with only four hairdressers in an out-of-the-way location become the best-known salon in Pittsburgh? Co-owners Gino Chiodo and Emilio Cornacchione are convinced it’s because they follow these four values: creativity, humility, integrity and commitment. When they decided to open their own salon in downtown Pittsburgh more than a decade ago, they knew they wanted to build a strong organizational culture based on those values. To that end, they look for those qualities in every potential employee. “We know we can train them on technique, but we first hire from the heart,” says Chiodo. “We think of our staff as an extended family.” 

Grass Root Marketing
As young hairdressers, Chiodo and Cornacchione used to stand under the clock at Kaufmann’s Department Store (a major landmark in downtown Pittsburgh at the time), shaking people’s hands and giving away flyers like a pair of evangelists. It was this kind of fervor and dedication that helped them to grow their brand into one of the most respected and well-known beauty brands in the area. In fact, the pair was recently inducted into Pittsburgh Fashion Week’s Hall of Fame. 

Before social media platforms opened up new possibilities for marketing and promotion, they pitched ideas to local media for beauty segments like “Ambush Makeovers.” After that it was a no-brainer to offer their services to radio and television stations. Today Wexford Styles Director Ziggy Murin works with news anchors and radio personalities at WTAE-TV, WPXI-TV and WDVE 102.5 FM. “Having two people with different strengths has helped us with our marketing,” says Cornacchione.

Partnering with local organizations and artists also brings a more diverse clientele into their salon. One such collaboration took place as part of Earth Day celebrations held in the city this past April. Cornacchione and makeup artist Hillary Evans worked with local photographer Laura Patrilla to turn a model into “Mother Earth.” The finished look was showcased in a window at Macy’s flagship department store in downtown Pittsburgh. This is the kind of creative marketing Cornacchione and Chiodo thrive on, but they are equally committed to supporting a number of local charities in the area. “We have a huge list yearly of charities that we get involved with,” says Cornacchione, who believes that giving back is the secret to real success in life.  

Image: Emilio Cornacchione and Gino Chiodo