Getting to Know You: Francesco Gurnari, Hair Stylist

Hailing from Norwalk, Connecticut, Francesco Gurnari is an experienced hair stylist, loved by his clients and noted for the many contributions he makes in his community.

Upon graduating from high school, Francesco attended Dean College, a private college located in Franklin, Massachusetts, for a year before deciding to pursue the family business of hair styling and enrolling in cosmetology school. After earning his hair styling license, Francesco Gurnari proceeded to study at the Renasci Academy of Hair in Norwalk, the Nick Arrojo School for Hair, the Vidal Sassoon School, the Goldwell Master Colorist Program, and Bumble & Bumble University of Hair Design. After completing his education, Francesco accepted a position as a hair stylist at Artistic Image Salon, where he works to this day. He still resides in Norwalk.

In his life outside of work, Francesco dedicates much of his time to athletics, including kayaking, lacrosse, golf, and pickleball.

What do you currently do at your company?

I spend my days giving professional-level haircuts and hair coloring jobs to clients. I take on several clients each day, but not so many that I have to rush through them. In fact, one of the aspects of my job that I love the most is taking my time and getting to know my clients. We talk about our families, current events, movies, television shows, or anything else that pops into our heads. 

What keys to being productive can you share?

I always make sure to block out enough time for each of my tasks according to what else I have to do during the day. I have a certain amount of time scheduled with each of my clients—depending on what services they’ve requested—and that is my first priority. All of my other tasks are subject to doing an excellent job on each of my clients and making sure that they’re properly tended. So, with that as my top concern, I make sure to stay organized and productive.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

In the long-term, I eventually want to own my own hair styling business. I would also like to be acknowledged as one of the best at what I do. I’m constantly working on both of these goals.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

Communication is very important when I’m dealing with clients. Sometimes they might not articulate what they want in the best way, so it falls to me to decipher it and figure out what they want. That usually involves a certain amount of dialogue in order to get clarification. But over the years, I’ve learned some handy tricks and techniques to facilitate communication in this respect. It’s not so much a problem with my regular clients as it is with new clients or walk-ins off the street.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

My advice to others considering a career as a hair stylist would be: “Don’t let anything discourage you.”Even if you do something wrong, making mistakes is part of the job. It’s important to learn from those mistakes and adapt your behavior so that you don’t make the same ones in the future.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I’m pretty big on sports and athletics. I like golf, pickleball, kayaking, and I also play lacrosse a little bit.

How would your colleagues describe you?

I think my co-workers and clients would describe me as friendly, funny, energetic, and lively.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

Maintaining a tenable work life balance is all about time management. I’ve learned from my past that it’s not healthy for the body or mind to jam pack my schedule with events, madly rushing around to places here and there in a vain effort to accomplish more than what is possible in a 24 hour day. These days, I make sure to give myself a comfortable amount of time for everything I do.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My parents and my brother have been big role models. I love my family so much, but it’s more than that; through listening to their advice and observing their attitudes and actions, they have taught me how to behave professionally. I cannot emphasize enough how much they have influenced me for the better.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

“Never give up.” I know it might be a bit of a cliché, but a valued mentor of mine once related this advice to me during a particularly important moment of my career, and I’ve kept it at the forefront of my mind ever since. Whenever I feel down or pessimistic about my prospects, I remember those three simple words. They provide me with a lot of inspiration.