The secrets to success & longevity, as exemplified by Bill Tsiknaris

From his family’s corner store to a hairdressing empire

Bill Tsiknaris, a renowned hairdresser and business owner, attributes his success to the solid foundation laid during his upbringing and the unwavering commitment of his parents. As he reflects on his journey, he acknowledges his family’s corner store milk bar & delicatessen’s pivotal role in shaping his work ethic and determination.

From a young age, Bill was immersed in the daily grind of his parents’ business

The store operated seven days a week from 7am to 9pm. Bill assisted in setting up the shop before and after school. He recalls witnessing the tireless dedication of his parents, who would only rest once every task was completed for their business.

These early experiences became valuable life lessons for Bill. The rigorous routine instilled in him the values of hard work and persistence, which would later be the bedrock of his achievements. Little did he know that his path would lead him to the world of hairdressing, propelled by an unexpected opportunity.

Bill’s entry into hairdressing was not driven by inherent talent or a grand plan. Instead, it was a stroke of luck and the result of his grandmother’s connection with Stelios Papas, a renowned hairdresser. Bill was eventually accepted into the salon when his mother intervened and secured him an apprenticeship.

Hairdressing did not come naturally to Bill in the beginning. He describes himself as a “donkey” in the race, lacking confidence and fashion sense. However, compared to the humble corner store where he grew up, the world of hairdressing seemed glamorous and captivating. In his early years, Bill took on various tasks, including cleaning and maintenance, which allowed him to hone his skills and develop a deep love for the craft.

Bill’s dedication and talent caught the attention of Benni Tognini, a senior hairdresser. When Benni opened his own salon, Bill followed suit a year later. These two salons became the solid foundation upon which Bill built his legacy. In 1994, he took the bold step of opening Tsiknaris Hair on Elizabeth St in Brisbane City. Despite facing obstacles and doubts, such as budgeting and navigating the challenges of self-building, Bill’s hard work and determination prevailed.

His salon on Brunswick St in New Farm has become an iconic landmark, housing four apartments, a photographic studio, and another retail space

Today, twenty years later, Bill Tsiknaris is a celebrated and award-winning business owner. The salon itself features a state-of-the-art transparent digital screen front window, showcasing the incredible work of Bill and his team.

Reflecting on his success, Bill dismisses the notion of luck as the driving force. He firmly believes his achievements result from sheer hard work and unwavering commitment. However, he acknowledges the importance of having a healthy workspace and the opportunity to collaborate with talented hairdressers.

Bill’s journey also extends beyond the salon. His wife, Brodie, has built a dynamic business in West End, and together, they have a beautiful daughter named Arabella. For Bill, success is not measured solely by external factors but by waking up each day with gratitude and accomplishment. He understands that not every day will be perfect, but without commitment and consistency, nothing can be achieved.

One aspect of his work that excites Bill the most is the opportunity to create a team of diverse ages working together harmoniously. He sees teaching and being taught as a rewarding experience that transcends ego and fosters growth. Bill is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of future hairdressers, recognizing the importance of being a role model and caring for their futures.

Bill’s impact on the hairdressing industry extends beyond his salon. As the Australian Global ambassador for Alfaparf Milano, he takes great pride in partnering with the brand and raising awareness about their innovative products. Collaborating with an incredible team led by Anthony Nasso has been a fulfilling experience for Bill and his family.

When asked about the key skill that propelled him to success, Bill emphasizes adaptability. He believes in constantly evolving and making incremental improvements in one’s journey. Fear of failure has no place in his philosophy, as he believes that some of the best lessons come from mistakes and setbacks.

Bill’s personal journey has not been without challenges. The most significant hurdle he faced was losing his brother, Con, in 1986. Witnessing his parents’ unwavering courage and dedication throughout their son’s illness deeply impacted Bill. He immersed himself in work, finding solace and purpose in his profession.

The tragedy of losing a sibling left an indelible mark on Bill’s life, reinforcing his resilience and determination.

The Tsiknaris family stands as a testament to perseverance and triumph. Both Chris and Dimitri, Bill’s brothers, completed their apprenticeships with him, and together, they have built successful careers. The pain of their loss inspired Bill to create a foundation of endurance, ensuring that no matter the obstacles he faced, nothing could compare to the pain he had already overcome.

Bill has received valuable advice that has shaped his perspective throughout his career. Two guiding principles have resonated with him: the importance of active listening, utilizing two ears and one mouth in proportion, and the belief that there is no losing, only learning. He sees failure as an opportunity and firmly believes in the power of maintaining success rather than simply attaining it.

In the realm of creative inspiration, Bill finds inspiration from a plethora of sources. His collections are often influenced by photographs, art, street fashion, and the raw creativity of everyday people. No matter how small, every idea becomes a thread woven into a collection. Preparation and collaboration are crucial, and Bill recognizes the significance of having a great team of photographers, makeup artists, clothing stylists, and models.

Bill has looked to various individuals for inspiration and guidance throughout his career. The common thread among these role models is their ability to effect positive change in the world. Their unique voices, experiences, and struggles have been channelled into uplifting others. This trait resonates deeply with Bill’s own aspirations.

As for the future, Bill’s outlook remains optimistic. His dedication to nurturing apprentices and witnessing their growth remains a central focus for Tsiknaris Hair. The right people, instrumental to future success, are carefully selected.

Bill feels contentment in the present and blessed to be where he is today. His journey, shaped by hard work, resilience, and his family’s support, inspires aspiring hairdressers and entrepreneurs alike. With his unwavering commitment and passion, Bill continues to leave an indelible mark on the hairdressing industry and the lives of those he encounters.

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