you could get a beer and a haircut for $5 on Friday afternoons in his dormitory. Amico had already decided to make a career in the hair industry at an early age, having grown up in the business with father John Amico, Sr. He worked in his father's salons as a child, selling Christmas ornaments, sweeping up hair, stocking retail shelves and doing a variety of odd jobs. While in high school, he attended cosmetology school and he then attended Bradley College in Peoria, IL for his undergraduate degree in Marketing. Being actively involved in his father's business at an early age gave Amico Jr. a head start. By the time he got to college, he understood how his business knowledge would apply to the industry he intended to join. He received the 'Marketing Student of the Year Award' while at Bradley, which came with a scholarship from Proctor & Gamble. He later earned an MBA in Finance from DePaul University.
In 1989, Amico Jr. started his full-time career in the professional salon business. He worked at his father's new salon business "Hair Performers" for one year, taking it from zero profit to a high performing salon, reaching $11,140 in sales during their top week. Amico learned early on how to be a successful leader in his field, through the influence of his father as well as his own experiences. His father taught him perseverance, hard work and the importance of always giving something back to others. "My father is the most persevering person I know," says Amico Jr. If there's a brick wall and only one way over, under, or through it, he'll do it. He'll make the impossible -- possible." Amico Jr. then became Director of Operations for his father's national "We Care Hair" salon chain franchise, working on store designs, training and lease negotiations. He quickly learned one of his first business lessons from Fred DeLuca, founder of Subway Sandwiches and co-owner of "We Care Hair" with John Amico, Sr.. Fred was a role model and mentor to John Jr. Amico credits other great entrepreneurs for inspiring him as well, especially early industrialists like Marshall Fields, Dale Carnegie and Henry Ford.
John Amico Jr. continued to work with his father in their cosmetology schools and salons until they were sold in the 1990's, shifting focus to the John Amico Product Company and education. Amico focuses on ensuring that new students and salon owners are successful through the many educational opportunities. Amico says he likes to "talk about the moo," which is being positive and motivated. He posts a motivational message on a board for his staff every night. One of his personal favorites "Life is a journey, not a destination," stressing development and learning along the way in order to achieve any personal or business goal.
For Amico, the rewards of leading the John Amico Products Company and the John Amico School Of Hair Design have been great, including seeing it grow with new students and salons and witnessing salon professionals succeed in each of their own businesses. His wife, Julia and their three children, Jenna, John Jr. and Joey, have all been involved in various aspects of the business too, just as he was growing up. Amico says it is impossible for him to separate the individual components of his personal and family life from his business career. "It's not like having a steak and potatoes on your plate and keeping them separate. It's like baking a cake" all the ingredients go into the same end results. You don't say, 'now I'm going to work on my business, now my personal life, now my spirituality.' All those factors create who we are." Amico Jr. stresses that the wealth in the 'Share the Wealth Program' is not just about making money, but also in creating wealth in your life through personal elements such as family and spirituality."
Amico credits other factors contributing to his success as the ability to grow and adapt to change, as well as giving back to others. He shares, "If you unselfishly give to others, it is a foundation for success!" Share the Wealth has its own charity program called "Sharing and Caring," which gives to members who have had emergencies, from healthcare to salon damage. John Jr. recorded a CD of Christmas music to sell in order to profit this charitable cause. Along with strong values, ethics, teamwork and hard work, John credits his father as also instilling him with a love of helping others. That has been the main motivation for administrating our school and helping the thousands of salon owners and what has driven its success. Amico Jr. says his father always taught him that in the end, "people don't care how much you know, they only care how much you care about them."