Matteo Susini: Salon Boy to Salon Owner

story and photos by Christine Syptak Hinrichs

Hairdressing has always been a part of Matteo Susini’s life.

“I was a salon boy,” says Matteo, who spent his weekends during high school helping at his mother’s salon. “I washed people’s hair and swept the floor.”

Now 37, the owner of Cagli’s Loft Parrucchieri is a bit of hometown celebrity.  Walking through the piazza, the life-long resident is constantly greeting the people he passes. Matteo Susini Image Gallery “Everyone knows me,” Matteo says. “Everyone knows you when you grow up here, especially close to the center of town.”

Matteo’s salon is clean, open, and modern.  Mirrors line the walls and windows invite the sun. The staff works hard to make sure each client is treated to an enjoyable, relaxing experience. For Matteo, the salon is the realization of a dream he has long held.

After graduating from high school, Matteo decided he wanted to open his own salon.  His wanted to create a place where quality was key, a place where the residents of Cagli could receive the same salon experience that major cities offered. The Loft offers an array of services including hairdressing, head massages, makeup, manicures, hair extensions, relaxing massages and hair straightening.

Over the next five years, he spent time studying at hairdresser academies in Milan and London.  He worked at his mom's salon during the week and traveled to Milan on weekends.  Later, he left his mother's salon to gain experience at another salon in town.  In 2000, at the age of 27, Matteo finally opened his own salon in Cagli.  It was a natural location for him because of his roots. People knew who he was, and his business quickly took off.

After only four years in the business, Matteo was featured in Hairdresser Magazine, a publication that reaches salons all over Europe.  The residents of Cagli were excited to have their own celebrity, and Matteo's fame increased. Eventually he began working as a stylist on editorial shoots, traveling to Milan a few times each year.

While Matteo has an easy-going personality, he is a goal-oriented business owner.  In November of 2009, he decided to expand his business by opening a salon in Pesaro, a beach town nearly nine times the size of Cagli. “If you want good business, you have to go to a big city, so that's what I did,” he says. 

The new location offered him a chance to grow his business, but it meant a lot of change for Matteo.  Leaving his Cagli salon in the capable hands of one of his assistants, Matteo decided to focus all his efforts at growing the Pesaro salon and solely work there.  “Everything has changed,” he says.  Instead of walking a few blocks to his shop, he now spends two hours in his car each day. You make yourself who you want to be.

Unlike Cagli, no one in Pesaro knows Matteo or his skills.  But Matteo embraces the challenge.  “I have to be very focused and keep my confidence,” he says.  “In Cagli, everyone knew what I could do.”  In Pesaro, however, Matteo had to work hard to advertise and to expand his business through word of mouth.  He believes that when people see what he can do, his work will speak for itself.

Matteo is a little wistful as he thinks about how much his life has changed and how it will continue to change.  His friends and family remain in Cagli, but he often feels like he comes there just to sleep.  Eventually he plans to rent an apartment in Pesaro, but he adds, “Everyone will miss the place where they are born.”

Matteo is passionate about growing his business because he loves what he does.  He enjoys the chance to be creative, to collaborate with others, and to connect with people. In his spare time, Matteo enjoys jogging, listening to music, and reading art and motivational books. He can often be found on the Cagli piazza hanging out with friends.

In the future, Matteo says he would love to live some place like New York. He admires how welcoming the United States seems to be to small business owners and sometimes feels frustrated by Italy’s numerous business laws. For now, his business keeps him in the area.

“It's not the place that makes you special,” he says. “If you are the first, you are the first in Cagli, in Pesaro, in New York.  You make yourself who you want to be.”