In 1965 Farouk Shami came to the United States on a scholarship, intending to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a career in education. While studying, he began working part-time as a hairdresser and discovered his true calling when he became a salon owner. Today Shami is lauded as an artist, visionary, entrepreneur, educator, celebrity, humanitarian and politician. He has always focused first on helping hairdressers.
The International Salon/Spa Business Network (ISBN) will present its Legend Award to Farouk Shami, at its 2012 Conference, “Be Inspired,” April 15-17, at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Shami is the founder and chairman of Farouk Systems, Inc., a multinational corporation that manufactures the BioSilk and CHI brands. Those lines are sold in more than 100 countries, which has given Farouk a unique perspective on global business and how to succeed in the 21st century.
“Farouk Shami is a hairdresser’s hairdresser,” says Paula Malloy Huerta, product development and marketing director for JCPenney Salons and ISBN past president. “He has dedicated his career to helping stylists earn more money, while working in a safe and healthy environment. For example, in his Chi Enviro Smoothing System, he created a safe alternative to Brazilian/keratin treatments. Not only do our stylists breathe more easily, they make more money because their clients love the results. Farouk is a man of great character, who cares greatly for and about others and gives back to help others live better lives.”
Adds Patrick Neville, ISBN Board Member and chief merchant for BeautyFirst, “Farouk is not only an industry icon, he’s recognized by the general public as an artist, visionary, entrepreneur, humanitarian, celebrity and political candidate, thanks to his appearances on ‘The Apprentice’ and his run for governor of Texas. After landing in the United States in 1965 with $71 and a dream, he worked hard and smart to create a billion dollar enterprise—he truly personifies the American dream.”
Being an entrepreneur and small business owner gave Shami an opportunity to create better, more efficient tools to perfect his craft. In 1986, he enjoyed a major breakthrough, the first of many, when he invented SunGlitz, the first ammonia-free hair lightener and coloring system. From that moment, Shami’s mission became environment, education and ethics, creating a company that is environmentally responsible, promoting education and adhering to the highest ethical standards. What followed was the invention of the CHI line of ceramic thermal tools, hairdryers with low EMF (electromagnetic fields) and a line of hair tools that features nano silver, which eliminates up to 650 forms of bacteria, making salons healthier for stylists and clients alike. He holds 10 patents for his inventions.
As a humanitarian who fervently believes that generosity is repaid many-fold, Shami has donated to numerous charities and organizations worldwide. In addition, after many tragedies, including September 11, 2011; Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike and the tornados in Joplin, MO, he donated millions of dollars of his own products to help salons get back in business and help their communities. He also donated care packages of personal hygiene products to help citizens recover. Shami and his business partner, John McCall, demonstrated their commitment to ending childhood diabetes by creating a research center at the City of Hope in California in memory of his father, Sheik Mohammed Shami. He built a school in honor of his father to educate the young women of Palestine in the sciences. Most recently, he visited Haiti and brought medical and hygiene supplies to victims of the earthquake.
In 2009, Shami threw his hat in the primary for the governor of Texas. Although he did not win the election, Farouk made good on campaign promises and created jobs in Houston with the opening the new CHI USA manufacturing facilities.
In 2010, Shami partnered with Lone Star College to open the CHI School of Cosmetology, and the following year, the partnership sponsored a cosmetology student to assist with hair care experiments sent aboard the last Space Shuttle mission. Shami has sponsored the Latino Leadership Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School where he was a keynote speaker. A conduit for peace, he has also spoken by request in Washington, D.C. on Diplomacy through Business and strengthening American relations with the Arab and Islamic regions. He sits on the board of directors for the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., whose foundation bestowed him the American Patriot Award. The award recognizes exceptional Americans who have demonstrated a profound and abiding love of country and whose inspirational leadership and selfless dedication symbolizes our nation’s ideas, values and democratic principles.
A celebrity in his own right, Shami raised the profile of the salon industry when he appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice and tasked the contestants to produce a hair show. Last year, he was a judge for the televised Miss Universe Pageant in Brazil, which his company has sponsored for the past 12 years.
You still have time to register for ISBN’s 2012 conference and congratulate Shami in person! Visit salonspanetwork.org and connect on the International SalonSpa Business Network’s Facebook page.
[Image courtesy of Jayne & Co.]
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