We are thrilled to introduce you to Gian Antonio Pisterzi who is the Founder & CEO at PISTERZI – ITALIAN GROOMING ART. We discovered PISTERZI at a beauty panel at the Italian Trade Commission & were hooked. We have both tried their products as well as visited their Soho Atelier, and we can’t wait for you to meet Gian Antonio & discover his brand in this Q&A interview!
What led you to start PISTERZI?
After a long training and experiences in international brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Acqua di Parma, I started to feel like I wanted something of my own, a project, a dream, which I had been harboring for some time and I finally felt ready to realize.
I wanted to create a special place where it was possible not only to cut hair and take care of appearance but also to disconnect from the outside world, from the frenzy of the city, and have a moment to recharge, enjoying a private moment for ourselves.
What did you do before starting PISTERZI?
I worked as a barber on cruise ships, which required me to move from Italy to London and attend the Steiner Academy for nine months. This was the moment when all my dreams started becoming reality. After nine months, I was sent on my first Cruise Ship in Dubai.
When I finished the year on the ship, I decided to take a vacation and go to Milan, which I had never visited before. I looked for job openings and found a very interesting one, and decided to apply, just to give it a try. Four days later I was hired by Dolce & Gabbana as their second barber in command.
After this experience, I was recruited by Acqua di Parma as international Master Barber and Trainer; here I led the barbershop located in the brand’s prestigious boutique in Via Montenapoleone in Milan and traveled around the world to train their distributors on the brand’s shaving product line. Thanks to the experience acquired, I realized that it was time for me to pursue my dream and start my own business project.
How did you get into the grooming industry?
When I was 8 years old, my grandfather, who was a farmer, noticed that I was not interested in following his steps, as I would always find an excuse to not help him on the farm. One day, since he still wanted me to start gaining some experience, he spoke with the barber in the village where we lived and asked him to take me on to help him in the shop. Every Sunday, after mass, I would go in the barbershop and help in any way I could. Then, little by little, Sundays became the whole weekend, weekends became summer jobs, until I realized that that was what I really wanted to do. At the age of fourteen, I decided to pursue my dream full time.
Will you tell us about the Italian approach to the art of grooming?
It’s a mix of Italian traditions and innovation. Let’s say that we want to keep traditions alive and add a contemporary touch.
Italian elegance and style is the “signature” of every haircut and beard trim that we create during our services.
The service that Italians give is certainly high level and more focused on details. This is what I wanted to recreate in my Barber Ateliers, an environment where my clients could have special attention and personalized experiences. For me, it is not only about a haircut, it is about making the client’s experience unique, not about the quantity of customers that can come in throughout a day.
Will you tell us about your time working as the barber for Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana?
I was very young back then and everything was new for me, I learned to understand the difference between working for a mass market industry and for a more niche one. For example, I picked up a higher attention to details, how to become confident with myself when I am scissor cutting or shaving a celebrity or running through model styles during a fashion show , which used to give me a lot of pressure. I am thankful to Dolce’s family for giving me such a great opportunity.
How do you define the modern gentleman?
A modern gentleman is someone who respects himself, others, and the world around him.
A man who expresses himself without praising himself too much. It doesn’t matter if you have a luxurious car or an expensive outfit if you then don’t pay attention to your image and you don’t take care of yourself with a fresh haircut and beard trim or skin care routines. And if your style makes you look good, you will feel good and, therefore, definitely more confident and up to any task.
In the end, a modern gentleman is someone who has self-confidence but is able to not show it when there is no need.
How often do you recommend men visit your atelier?
It’s a very personal recommendation, as every man has different needs, different hair, or skin type. We have clients who come weekly, or every two weeks or once a month.
I personally suggest a weekly base visit, in order to maintain the ideal professional look for beard and hair, always clean and well groomed.
Will you tell us about the blue color that’s your signature?
Our Blue comes from the blue of Giotto’s starry sky, inside the chapel of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.
It’s a shade that evokes Italy in the 1200s-1300s, a pigment made from precious stones and materials like Lapis Lazuli, symbol of exclusivity.
Blue is the color of the sky and the ocean, it symbolizes infinity, tranquility, stability, and inspiration.
What is the difference in your American vs. Italian clients? What Italian philosophies do you think Americans should adopt?
Italian clients are sometimes more relaxed. They turn off their phones to fully dedicate some time to themselves. They come for a haircut, and at the same time come for a coffee, a talk with the barber and they are very attentive to details.
American guests are usually very “busy”, always on call, or in a rush, most of the time they don’t have moments to ‘’cut off’’ and relax from their daily commitments.
I think they should adopt the Italian philosophy, giving time and experiences to themselves. It’s the best present!
What are your clients most interested in these days? Any hair or skincare trends you’ve noticed?
It is very personal, every person needs different attention and necessities, but yes there are men’s haircut trends, as well. There could be more generic trends, like the ones linked to a soccer player or an actor, for example Peaky Blinders style today is very requested.
Generally, each guest asks for something personal, to highlight their features and that is in balance with their professional and private life. It is common for our clientele to sit on our chairs and tell us to do ‘’what we want’’.
Talking about skincare, a glowing skin is the most requested goal. Our clients care about their skin asking for a healthy and radiant complexion.
Will you tell us about the ateliers?
Our New York Atelier, in the heart of Soho (367 West Broadway), reflects the style of the area, elegant and industrial. It has two private stations where Clients can relax and enjoy our services, leaving the chaos of the outside world behind.
Our Milan Barberia is in via Montenapoleone 17, the core of the fashion district. It’s a hidden and elegant location, on the third floor of a typical Milanese building. It holds the atmosphere of an apartment, private and welcoming, with a vip room separated from the other seats with the possibility to connect your own music to make yourself more “at home”.
The two Ateliers are a second home for me, and my wish is that each client can experience the same feeling.
Will you tell us about the services?
La Dolce Vita:
La Dolce Vita is an ideal solution for those who want to take a break from the outside world and find time for themselves with a special experience included in the treatment: damp haircut and shaving (or beard regulation) with full facial treatment.
Like Father Like Son:
It is a celebration of an Italian tradition: to bring new generations into the hands of the same barber. A traditional scissor cut with style consultation to identify the needs of each client.
We are creating and planning a Groom Package, for every man who wants to prepare himself in the best way for one of the most important days of his life. A 3 Steps package to achieve the perfect and customized look.
Will you tell us about your membership program?
We believe that our Membership program is the best way to take care of our guests. If you are a Member you are more than welcome to come to the Atelier every week, or every two weeks (it depends on the Membership) in order to maintain the ideal look for beard and hair, always perfect. Member’s packages are an extra attention towards those who trust us and give us their loyalty.
Will you tell us about your products?
PISTERZI Italian Grooming Art is inspired by me and my teams’ experience, and aims to respond to the multiple needs of our international clientele.
Skin care and grooming care products that clean and renew the skin in depth are precious allies during the shaving phases and irreplaceable in taking care of our skin aging, loss of brightness and protection from internal and external pollution. Each of the Pisterzi Italian Grooming Art line products is designed to have multiple functions, a factor that allows consumers to benefit from sever all skin care treatments from the usage of one product only.
The multifunctionality commits the brand to sustainability, an aspect that is reflected also on the natural ingredients chosen for each product, and on the glass bottle and jars designed to be replenished with special disposable refills. Through our products and the ateliers, the opportunity for PISTERZI is to ensure an experience that elevates our customers’ well-being while encouraging them to be deliberate in caring for the world around them.
How is sustainability reflected in your Ateliers?
We re-designed the ateliers on the sustainability concept, we find collaborations with companies made in Italy that include substantial interventions such as furnishing materials and armchairs covered with Vegea, a green ‘Made in Italy’ material created through the processing of grapes, and work capes made of recycled polyester. To limit the use of virgin raw materials and support a more circular economy, we have chosen to use recycled paper in our secondary packaging: our shipment boxes and our shopping bags are made with a particular paper, Recyco, which contains recycled fibers in its formulation. Acid- free, biodegradable, and compostable, it is a symbol of respect for the elements of nature thanks to its eco-sustainable qualities. No one has ever taken such actions in the men’s grooming luxury market.
The Style That Binds Us