Salons - 10 June 2019
◴ Read time - 7 mins
From Apprentice to Managing Director – Anya Dellicompagni
For Anya, Francesco Hair Salon is in her genes; the daughter of Pete Dellicompagni, company Chairman and niece of Frank Dellicompagni, company Founder, she was raised on the FG Ethos of hard work, family and outstanding customer service.
Anya’s time working within a salon began aged fourteen, as a Saturday Girl at Francesco Hair Salon Eccleshall. She joined the salon full-time aged 16 and due to her hard work and advanced experience, was fast-tracked through her Apprenticeship, completing Finishing School aged just seventeen.
Anya then spent the next 8 years working at other Francesco Hair salons to get a wider experience of how they run, before returning to FG Eccleshall to develop her management skills; eventually taking on a leadership role within the salon.
Ten years ago, Anya became Director of Hairdressing, where she developed Francesco Hair Salon’s presence in the more creative aspects of hairdressing; travelling around the world representing Francesco Hair Salon.
In the last two years, Anya’s attention has been drawn more towards the business aspect of the group; stepping up when Managing Director, Ben Dellicompagni, took a brief sabbatical. Anya embraced working closely with salons and developing the business – so much so, that she wanted to continue the journey.
Echoing how the business ran previously, with two leaders at the helm; brothers Frank & Pete Dellicompagni, Anya & Ben decided to join forces as joint Managing Directors of the company.
We spoke to Anya about her career and journey to becoming Managing Director.
When did you decide you wanted to become a hairdresser?
When I was about 14; I used to do two late nights on the salon floor and I never really thought about doing anything else from that point. When I worked my evenings, I was just a general assistant, but when Dad was working, he would let me work with him on certain clients, before I was even properly shown! He would tell me what to do and I was able to practice. It meant I got hands on experience so much quicker. Dad used to teach me things at home as well; I’d cut his best friend’s hair, when I was completely inexperienced! It was a lot of trial and error, but Dad just loved showing me and encouraging me, making it fun.
What would be your advice to an Apprentice reading this right now?
I was fast-tracked as an Apprentice because my training earlier in life enabled me to do so, but anyone has the ability to do that. You are in control of how much you can do, as such I was a stylist much earlier than a lot of people. If you want to do the same, you just have to live and breathe hairdressing; it’s not just when you’re at work. You’re in control of the level your training is at, you can follow the prescribed track at the regular speed, but everyone has the ability to push it further. Go for it if that’s what you’d like to do!
You just have to live and breathe hairdressing…
What is it that drives your passion for hairdressing?
I think it’s just that ability to make people feel beautiful and look good. You get personally involved with them, they share things with you and you are advising them on something so personal; it’s connecting with people, that’s what I love.
Anya Dellicompagni working with Eugene Souleiman
What did you enjoy most about your time at Francesco Hair Salon Eccleshall?
The team that were at the salon during that time were amazing; people who are now franchisees and some of the best hairdressers in the company. There was an amazing pool of talent and that made everyone work hard and push themselves to be the best. My time there definitely instilled my work ethic and drive to do well. Eccleshall was very much Dad’s base to grow people and move them onto their own salons.
Do you think that’s a talent in it itself, being able to spot talent in other people? Have you inherited that from him?
It definitely is a talent and I think I’ve learned from that experience. I remember initially not understanding why Dad supported people as long as he did. I think that’s what I take from him, how much he cares for people…the amount of people we had live with us when I was a kid because he’d just take them under his wing! People’s personal situations do affect them, especially when doing a touchy-feely job like hairdressing and it’s important to look after them. I think that empathy for people is a key part in being a good hairdresser and boss.
I think that empathy for people is a key part in being a good hairdresser and boss…
When did you become Director of Hairdressing and decide you wanted a change in direction, stepping away from the shop floor?
After I had my first child in 2008, I went back to the salon part-time and worked in Head Office part-time initially, but then it became hard to juggle the two and I focussed purely on my role as Director of Hairdressing. Not long after this we decided as a company to focus on our presence within the industry and work more on the creative side; it was something we hadn’t concentrated on for a while and we thought it was time to make more of an impact. I became the industry face of FG and I pushed to do everything I could within the industry… I was constantly in London working with fellow industry talent, flying the Francesco Hair Salon’s flag! It was a fantastic experience and I loved it.
10 years after becoming Director of Hairdressing, you have been made Managing Director. When did your interest in the business side begin to develop?
It just slowly happened over the last two years; I completed some Leadership Training and started to have more of an interest in how we were doing from a business point of view and how I could help and be a part of that. I would never have thought I’d want to do this, but when Ben had a brief sabbatical, I said that I would be happy to step up and take on more. Normally I would think ‘I can’t do this!’ but I just haven’t had that moment, I’ve loved it. I got so far, and I really got stuck in; to the point that I couldn’t go back to what I was doing before – so then there was a discussion about a new role within the company, and we decided that being Co-Managing Director with Ben was the way forward.
Working alongside cousin Ben Dellicompagni
In your new role you will be working alongside fellow Managing Director Ben Dellicompagni, how do your working styles complement each other?
Our individual strengths and weaknesses really balance, so I think it’s about working to a point where we home-in on what our strengths are and use them to the company’s advantage. In a way, it’s harking back to the days where Dad (Pete Dellicompagni) and Frank (Francesco Dellicompagi, Ben’s father) worked together and ran the business. They complemented each other’s working styles perfectly and I think Ben and I will work in a very similar way.
It’s harking back to the days where Dad and Frank worked together and ran the business…
What does your role entail on a day-to-day basis?
A lot of my role is supporting salons, but my biggest challenge is improving communication within the Hair Salon and that’s something I really want to focus on. I still teach, and I will always do that because I like to know who’s coming up through the ranks; I like building relationships and getting to know names and faces, it’s so important.
Anya Dellicompagni and Eugene Souleiman
What is the highlight of your career so far?
I wouldn’t say there’s just one. When I was doing a lot more work within the industry, I got amazing opportunities to work with session stylist Eugene Souleiman; my idol! I got to work alongside him for Fashion Weeks and fly out to other countries. I loved it. I’ve also been a Finalist at the British Hairdressing Awards three times; the nights spent at the event were big career highlights for me… then, of course, being made Managing Director.
What aspect of your new role are you most excited about?
Bringing people together more, to get the most out of them and making people feel more involved in what’s going on in the group. It’s my opportunity to get close to everyone, so they really come into what their roles are and we give them the opportunity to be part of decisions that are made within the group.
It’s all about our people and developing them to meet their potential and their expectations…
Where do you see Francesco Hair Salon in 5 years time?
For me, it would be having our salons and the training side running the best we can, even more smoothly. Again, it’s all about our people and developing them to meet their potential and their expectations.
We have no doubt that Anya will succeed with any goal she has in mind! Congratulations on your new role…
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