Tony Odisho is a well-respected and sought-after hair expert, stylist, salon owner, and founder of his namesake hair extension and hair product company. His work ethic and systematic rise in the beauty industry harken to the classic immigrant success stories of those living the American Dream.
Tony was born and raised in Iraq before moving back to Italy, where Tony’s family was originally from. His family settled in a seaside town outside of Rome where he lived and went to school for many years. “Italy was where everything began for me in the salon world,” says Odisho, who started visiting the beauty salon next door to his father’s hardware store when he was 12. He eagerly offered to do odd jobs from sweeping up hair to shampooing clients when things got busy in order to work in the salon.
As luck would have it, his schoolteacher was also an instructor at the local cosmetology school. Odisho took this coincidence as one of the signs the universe was pointing him towards a career in beauty. By the age of 16, he already had a few regular hair clients thanks to his prodigious talent, and he continued to study and perfect his craft.
At 18, Odisho and his family moved to Chicago, where he quickly passed the State Boards to become a licensed, working stylist in one of the largest cities in the US. “That license meant freedom. That piece of paper was my gateway to success — it absolutely changed my life. With that license, I knew that my future was in my hands, literally and figuratively. I knew if I worked hard, I could make something of myself" reminisced Odisho.
After working in some of the most prestigious salons in Chicago and building a reputation as an exceptional, sought-after stylist, he opened Exsalonce Salon in 2000 in Roscoe Village, a chic neighborhood filled with restaurants and nightlife just five miles from downtown Chicago. In 2006, with his Exsalonce Salon up and running successfully, Odisho launched his own namesake line of hair extensions for beauty professionals and their clients. He also launched his Ostia Collection haircare range, named after the beautiful Italian seaside village where he grew up. The Ostia Collection of professional products is now sold in 39 states.
Tony Odisho’s career has continued to soar and he has become a highly sought-after and well-regarded beauty expert who regularly speaks at key beauty industry events and beauty schools across the country. His style has been described as “intuitive and precise” by editors and peers. Odisho enjoys teaching students about hair extension, hair color, and cutting trends but his true passion is in inspiring and sharing with students how their license can be a gateway to success — just as it was for him.
In 2016, Tony experienced a career milestone when he was invited to travel to Havana, Cuba with members of Intercoiffure — the salon industry’s most noted organization — to participate in a special photoshoot, the first-ever in Cuba with a group of top American hairdressers and trendsetters. Odisho described that trip as another monumental moment in his life. “There I was, this little immigrant boy, who is now a member of Intercoiffure, hanging out with my idols and creating inspirational looks that will drive trends for the upcoming year,” he commented. “It gave me a real sense of validation and it gave me a moment to reflect on how far my career has come.”
Tony’s work has appeared in countless consumer and trade magazines and online sites. He continues to spearhead trends both locally and nationally while educating, inspiring, and motivating others.
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