Get ready to have your socks blown off! Today, we are getting to know the infamous Lance “Energy” Centofanti. In the Hair industry for over 51 years, Lance is an industry icon and friend to all. He coined the phrase “Beauty Making”, as he likes to refer to the Hair industry. Lance’s most recent role was VP Marketing, Hair Visions International (or industry proclaimed “Ultimate Beauty Maker”). His endless capacity for energy garnered him the nickname of “Energy”. Lance has created an everlasting legacy for those who follow behind him. Lance is also an industry-leading speaker and success coach for salons and studios worldwide.
Advanced Hair Specialists Salon
Let’s start with his humble beginnings back in 1964 in Detroit Michigan Where he opened his first salon. Lance was both a licensed barber and hairstylist and In 1970, he opened a second salon. The salons grew quickly and developed into a family Business with his father serving as business manager and his mother serving as the Receptionist. During those early years, the salons became a well known destination For many of the celebrities, athletes and media personalities of that time. In 1971 Lance opened his first hair restoration facility called Advanced Hair Specialists. Lance put together A team of experts and traveled to surrounding studios to initiate in studio seminars that Featured unique and inspiring client makeovers. Those efforts created a referral source of Hair replacement clients from Some 75 Michigan based studios.
Advanced Hair Specialists Salon Second Location
Advanced Hair Specialists Offered men’s and women’s hair restoration, as well as transplant surgical options for the More than 400 clients sent through the referral program.
As Lance’s career and business was evolving and growing he made the life Changing decision to sell his Michigan salons and move to Florida to enter the manufacturing and supply area of the hair replacement industry. With the prompting of his friend Leigh Gardner He joined the On Rite company in 1998 along side company president Andrew “Andy” Wright and served as a sales and marketing consultant where after one year he was promoted to The position of National Sales manager. With his hairdressing background Lance found the Hair replacement options being offered to clients at the time in need of vast improvements.
Lance was determined to improve the quality, consistency, marketing messaging, application options and most importantly the look of what was being offered. He challenged himself and the On Rite team to find ways to improve the results by creating hair systems that didn’t focus on durability but instead on believability.To that end Lance was instrumental in growing sales for the company as well as value for the dealers with innovations like Bella Moda and the Folligraft programs.
Lance – First Day at HairUwear as Vice President of Sales & Marketing
In 1999 Lance made another career change and accepted an offer from Michael Napolitano, CEO of HairUWear As Vice President of Sales and Marketing for their American Hairlines division. HairUwear was a worldwide leader in creating successful brands and Lance saw an opportunity to create a highly respected brand for the company, and the customers of American Hairlines. Lance and his world class department manager Julia Villaorduna supervised the design of new line he called Virtual Reality, Trend Hair Grafts designed to be beautiful and malleable.
Virtual Reality Live at National Hair Centers Phoenix, AZ
They also introduced The four week solution to hair loss initiating an incredible upgrade to looking natural, and the program also took all the home care out of the equation. The studio technicians did all of the maintenance, and the Customers just lived life normally. Of course this required hair to be changed monthly and customers Happily paid for that level of naturalness. With the talented and dedicated Virtual Reality live team Lance started traveling around the country and eventually the world upgrading the studios most difficult clients into the Virtual Reality Upgrade programs. One by one and totaling over 2,000 customers signed on the dotted line. “VR Live” was a huge hit with the salon and their clientele, as well as creating incredible revenue for the studio and just as important more peace of mind for the technician and the clients.
Virtual Reality – Montel Williams
The American Hairlines division took off like an exploding can of hair spray and led to launching a similar program for women called Virtuesse line. Lance saw the potential in the ethnic market too, and expanded the reach of all the programs. To help support the stylists and customers Lance turned to his best friend and hair product Developer legend Scott Scharg to introduce both the Link and it’s a 10 Hair Care lines to the Virtual Reality affiliates. Lance also wanted to emboldened the media to help the dealers, and began with local television crews covering their VR Live events instant makeover shows perfect for the local human interest stories. Then National shows came calling, Movie and a makeover, “Montel” even “Good morning America featured the amazing Virtual Reality and Virtuesse makeovers.
Hollywood came calling too. Screen stylists, like Linda Arnold, directors, like Armand Mastriani and many movie stars who realized there was a more realistic high tech and undetectable level they could turn to for that close up featured on a high definition screens. As a testimony on how much positive affect Virtual Reality and Virtuesse brought to the hair industry in 2011 Miss Nebraska Teressa Scanlon was crowned as Miss America wearing the product innovation.
Lance Centofanti and David Schwartz
In 2013 Lance left HairUWear and started a consultant business which enlisted two major companies. Cesare Ragazzi Laboratory (Bologna Italy) and Capilia of (Canada). Cesare Ragazzi Laboratory noted to have beautiful quality hair, and was introduced to dealers in the United States by Lance and John Vincent at a industry conference in Las Vegas. In 2015 while working as a consultant lance was hired by CEO. David Swartz as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for HairVisions International. Shortly after Sam Donofrio of the Capilia group offered HairVisions International the opportunity to become the exclusive distributor in the US for the Head First Trichology Programs, overseen by Karla Hurtado which now boosts over 75 certified Head First Hair Renewal centers.
In 2019, Lance and his marketing team composed of Darryl Grahm, Oscar Rabeiro and Neil Greenberg launched the marketing campaign for Head First dealers called Give Your Hair A Future. The three cornerstones of the campaign are:
- Love your hair? Great! We’ll help you keep it.
- Thinning? We’ll help restore it!
- Severe loss? Then we’ll use the latest innovation to replace it!
In regards to what comes next in a recent interview Lance noted the need for Hair Replacement studios now doing business in an Amazon world to concentrate their efforts to enlist today’s younger consumers by offering what on-line venues cannot. The personalization, differentiated expertise, menu choices including Laser therapy, Trichology, PRP procedures, and latest surgical procedures as well as the passion and energy that comes from only sitting in their styling chair.
There is much to be learned from Lance’s extensive years of experience. Here are some valuable “nuggets” Lance was generous enough to share.
The Hair Society: Why is the beauty making industry so phenomenal?
Lance Centofanti: Hair is the only attribute that frames the face, impacts personality. It suggests three things about everyone – youthfulness, health & vitality.
The Hair Society: What is your favorite piece of advice?
Lance Centofanti: There are only two ways you can affect people…inspire them or infect them. Don’t bring your mood-flu to work. It’s not fair to others around you. They’ll forget that their own team is a superpower. What your staff says to a customer is way more important than what you say in an ad. Staff will make your business or destroy it.
The Hair Society:. Why is the beauty making industry so phenomenal?
Lance Centofanti:. Without out a doubt the biggest asset of our industry are the phenomenal gifted talented beauty makers who are so dedicated to their craft.There are many people who will tell you that their relationship with a beauty maker Changed their lives. I’m so very proud to be counted alongside these caring professionals and with total appreciation for their selfless devotion to bringing out the inner beauty in all their guests.
The Hair Society: Where does your energy & inspiration come from?
Lance Centofanti: I remind myself that Life begins each morning… Each morning is the open door to a new world, new vistas, new aims, new tryings. We all don’t get to run a leg carrying the Olympic torch but we can all carry the torch we can light from the fire of our own enthusiasm, passion and energy. One more thing: sleep is overrated get caffeinated early each day.
The Hair Society: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Lance Centofanti: True success is creating a joyful and grateful life. Every single day remember to do something that makes your heart sing. Here is the roadmap: Find your passion, Be present, and all in, set goals and take action, learn something new everyday, don’t complain, blame or gossip, instead innovate, avoid energy vacuums by being where your celebrated not tolerated, love your family, your peers and your friends, and remember there are only two ways to affect human behavior you can manipulate it or inspire it, choose wisely Lance, because leadership is not declared it’s earned.
The Hair Society: What advice do you have for the younger people in this industry?
Lance Centofanti: Totally believe in yourself, you’ve got talents unexplored, you are capable of things you never would have guessed and the world needs to see, and to dedicate even one hour to this exploration each day will enrich your world beyond measure. Surround yourself with a short list of mentors you check in with regularly for wisdom, insight, and brilliance.
The Hair Society: What’s your favorite piece of advise?
Lance Centofanti: Success is a moving target. To stay relevant commit to lifelong learning and continuous improvement. Financial ends never justify unethical means. Success comes to those who posses skill, courage, integrity, decency, commitment and most of all generosity.
The Hair Society: What do you see for the future of the industry?
Lance Centofanti: First and foremost we are facing unprecedented challenges right now but like all challenges they are temporary and to solve them requires thinking of and implementing the solutions in regards to what comes next. For example with temporary product disruptions it’s the perfect time to focus on and enrich our menu offerings with new initiatives that have the potential to generate new excitement, new leads, new traffic, and staff engagement. Examples would be offering and marketing Head First Trichology with the Give your hair a future social media and website campaign, offering a fashion wig line like TressAllure, offering the benefits of the newest laser hair growth products and services.
Today even before the virus pandemic our biggest challenges are connecting with younger consumers and competing with cheaper online offerings. It’s now time to focus on making a customer instead of making a sale! Today if your studios messaging and offerings fails to form a dynamic differentiation you are just another transaction, off the grid. In days gone bye exclusivity, volume and margin wrote the rules, today in a connected world that represents a dry formula with no emotional connection. Only by understanding the current needs of customers can you build great products for them. Never ending innovations are essential for long term growth and to avoid industry decline.
The Hair Society: Is there anything you would like to add or say?
Lance Centofanti: Yes! To the dedicated professionals who have worked alongside me I say a heartfelt thank you. To the phenomenal salon owners, managers and technicians who put their trust in me I am forever grateful and pleased to see the good fruits of our labor. To my special friends inside and outside the industry who encouraged me and said “go on, you can do it Lance”, I have to reply that we have learned together what inspires you, and transforms you.
I would also like to offer special thanks to my supportive and loving immediate family, to Julia Villaorduna and the American Hairlines team, the phenomenal VR Live Team, The On Rite and Hair Visions International team the incredibly supportive retailers, as well as Richard Garner and the Hair Society, Chris Webb and the Hair Authority, and Howard Margolin from Professional Hair Labs, and the AHLC.
Finally I would like to acknowledge some special colleagues and Industry Giants:
- The General Jimmy Toscano
- Arnold Zimmerman
- Sy Sperling
- Randy and Les Martin
- Leonard Venti
Without these industry icons, none of us would be were we are today. May they rest in peace, and never be forgotten