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They have what it takes, do you?

Rob Angelino and the "Salon-TV" Network

By Ernesto Lechner
How do you manage to survive when you've been an entrepreneur for about 20 years of your life, with the inevitable number of disappointments that such a career path involves?
To Rob Angelino, persistence is the key to it all. "I'm used to rejection," says the 39-year old Mexican-American. "I've been rejected all my life. I'm really used to people saying 'no' to me. That has never stopped me." Angelino is currently involved in the creation of Salon-TV, a service offering original broadcast programming to beauty salons all over the country. The programs are geared to both the salon consumer and the stylist, with documentaries on beauty products and instructional videos. Angelino has so much faith in the concept that he plans to give all the participating beauty shops the necessary equipment (valued at $7,000 per salon) and the programming for free.

Saludos Hispanos met with Angelino at his apartment in Marina del Rey, California.

Saludos: Were you always drawn to a career in business?
Rob Angelino: My father is an optician, so he always wanted me to be a doctor. After I turned 14, however, he realized that I didn't like studying that much. "You're a born salesman," he told me.
Saludos: How did you come up with the idea for Salon- TV?
Angelino: The the culmination of a lot of failures in other businesses throughout the years. I've been an entrepreneur all my life. In the '80s, I invested in microchips. Then it was real estate...I also invested in the stock market. About four years ago, I invested in a company that was going to do the Salon-TV concept. I was very intrigued with the idea of broadcasting to beauty salons. I thought it was a great concept. But then, the president of the company died of a heart attack. He left us all sitting there, with over $1 million in investment and nothing to show for it. We were almost broke. We waited and waited, but his family didn't do anything with it. It was then that my partner and I decided to trademark the name "Salon-TV" and re-establish the idea. I took the concept and expanded it tenfold. I came up with the idea of broadcasting not only to Anglos, but also to African-Americans and Latinos.
Saludos: How did you bring the business side of it back to life?
Angelino: For the past year and a half, I've been out there making phone calls. There are a lot of people who hung up on me and didn't want anything to do with it. Nobody paid attention to me, but I kept calling and calling. Finally, all of them started to come around and realize that I'm for real. So, we've been out there schmoozing the beauty industry. And people seem to like what we have to offer...In August (1999), we attended a beauty industry trade show in Las Vegas to roll out Salon-TV and start the sign-up. We already have one chain that wants to take it. It has 800 salons, which sees one million clients each month.
Saludos: Will there be a Spanish version of Salon-TV?
Angelino: Yes. It will be called "Mundo Cosmetología," and it will be shown in all the Latino-neighborhood beauty shops in the United States.
Saludos: It's taken you four years to set all this up. How have you managed to survive in the meantime?
Angelino: I also own a company called United Global Media Group. It's a production company specializing in titles and special effects. And we will be the production arm for Salon-TV. My partner and I have also invested in the stock market...It's very risky. But that's me (laughs). I've lost some money, but I've made more than what I lost. This entire process has been very hard, though. Thank God for my wife because she has been very supportive and helpful. She's never blamed me for any mistakes that I made.
Saludos: I understand that you were an actor before being an entrepreneur.
Angelino: When I was a kid, I always admired actors like John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone. I wanted to be like them but I was too chicken to be in school plays. Eventually, I studied acting and started getting small parts. I picked up little bits from different instructors and put my own style together. I consider myself to be a dabbler in acting...I always wanted to do marketing and business. The problem with the acting business is that there's too many people in it feeling sorry for themselves. I soon got tired of it. I didn't want to become a professional acting student.
Saludos: Were there any events in your life that pushed you to be so driven?
Angelino: As a teenager, I had a real bad case of acne. I was a loner. I was always the one who went to school, did his chores, and then went to work with my father. Because I didn't hang around the popular group of people, I was always outcast and made fun of. I was different; I didn't want to follow a leader. I was 17 or 18 years old, but I wasn't thinking on that level. I knew there was something else out there, waiting for me. I wanted to get out of school, start working, and start making money.
Saludos: How important is your Latino heritage to you?
Angelino: I was born to a German father and a Mexican mother. I grew up in Mexico, Texas, and Los Angeles. My father worked all the time, so my mom pretty much took care of my sister and I. She instilled a lot of values in me, always having everything neat and clean, making sure you do everything you have promised to do. She was a very strict woman. I think my mother taught me most of the values that define my life as it is today.
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