Interview: Stefano Terzuolo of GUM Salon
The Milan salon's range of organic grooming products and the art of blending tradition with innovation
We first met Stefano Terzuolo after the opening of Milan's GUM Salon three years ago. Since then, GUM has become a point of reference for hairstyling throughout all of Italy thanks to their line of organic grooming products available online. Having used the products for the last year, we can attest to the quality and versatility of the collection, which spans smoothing shampoo to styling spray.
Just a small dab of the Smoothing Shampoo, for example, is enough to create a rich foam and give off a strong scent of orange citrus. The Repair Mask & Conditioner is probably the richest experience of the line, boasting a creamy texture and an intense, fruity aroma. The Grooming Old Cream is a must-have item perfect for styling and moisturizing both your hair or a beard, while the Salty Wind spray will give your hair a nice matte effect for an uncombed look. To learn more about the products, Terzuolo kindly sat down with us to discuss the origin of the line and its future, which will soon include a shampoo based on the natural effects of rainwater.
What is the philosophy of GUM?
We work with a great attention to customers, dedicating the right time to each client. The small environment allows us to follow everyone in the same way. We wanted to go back to the origins of our profession; when salons were a real meeting point for all cultural exchanges while adding our training to ensure a high level of stylistic care. Unfortunately the Italian salons have become sort of assembly lines, where customers are forced to lower expectations in exchange for excessive cost. For this reason, GUM was born with the aim of returning to our origins, when the “Italian hairdresser” was synonymous with style and recognized around the world.
Your salon is certainly avant-garde, but with a great deal of attention to the tradition of grooming. How do you put those two together?
My desire has always been to revive what grooming was in the '50s—that rite of going to the barber shop, discovering perfumes, razors, brilliantine and grease. If you add innovative techniques of cut and color, here’s how you can bring everything back to the present day with an outstanding result; innovation without losing the flavor of those years.
How did you come to create your product line?
Having a well-defined concept salon, I did not feel represented by any brand of cosmetics on the market. From there, I decided to develop my own line of products. I wanted to ensure my customers would be able to continue the GUM experience at home with organic products that are high-level and easy to use.
How are your products organic?
The raw materials we use are from biological origins: Sicilian bitter orange extracts, shea butter, beeswax and so on. They do not contain silicones, sulphates, parabens and are not dangerous for the body. Some of our products can also be used for the body and even to do laundry!
Do you think you will extend the line in the future?
Surely one or two new products—even though my decision was to go for a few products with multiple uses, in order to facilitate the use and to not create too much confusion.
Can you reveal some future projects?
I can reveal a preview: it will be a shampoo based on rainwater. In Romania, back in the '60s, mothers collected rainwater to wash their daughters’ hair, to keep it soft and purify the skin. We want to recreate it, and what’s more organic than that? The big news is that GUM will expand its space soon. It will always be on the same street, but we will have a bigger space dedicated to our products, a bar and an area dedicated to music, where we’ll be hosting weekly acoustics sessions.
Images courtesy of GUM Salon