Mike Mahoney: 2010 Hair Icons Recipient

Born in Gainesville, FL, Mike Mahoney grew to accomplish great success in the hair replacement industry and was honored with the Randy Martin Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 back in his home state. The time in between was spent owning and operating hair loss studios around the country and being an integral part of the industry’s leading organizations, all this driven by a passion to give back a full head of hair to those who had lost it.

Mike’s legacy in the hair replacement industry dates back an impressive 50 years to 1963 when he began working as a cosmetologist specializing in hair systems for Richard Hartwich at Young-Quinlan Rothschild’s Department store in Minneapolis, MN. Almost immediately, he discovered the profound feeling that comes with changing someone’s life by giving them back a natural head of hair and instantly knew he wanted to do that for the rest of his life.

The following year, Mike moved to Dallas, TX where over the course of seven years and with the help of his business partner, he opened a total of seven retail wig outlets, a wholesale division, and even a wig school. Mike had the honor of working with multiple celebrity clients and quickly earned a prestigious reputation that cemented him as a hair system expert in the Dallas area.

In 1970, after he and his wife Carmen discovered the smaller city of Tyler, TX as a perfect place to live, Mike sold his share of the Dallas business and moved there with his family. Starting in 1977, Mike owned and operated “Wigs by Michael”, until six years later when he decided to delve fully into the hair replacement industry and left behind the wig salon to open “Positive Hair.” “Positive Hair” is still in operation today and has evolved into an outstanding hair loss studio.

Mike saw the need for a greater sense of community in the hair replacement industry, and in 1984 he founded the American Hair Loss Council (AHLC). He was President and Executive Director until June of 1994. During this time, Mike served as the Editor of the AHLC’s Hair Loss Journal, providing hair loss studios with pertinent industry information. The AHLC’s annual symposiums were the first events to feature suppliers, manufacturers, trichologists, surgeons, dermatologists, oncologists, radiologists, psychologists, pharmaceutical firms, authors on hair loss and hair replacement specialists all under one roof.

In 1990, Mike saw another opportunity for bringing together the industry and was one of the founders of Transitions International Group, a community of studio owners from different regions working together on marketing ideas. Mike helped recruit and develop marketing materials and TV commercials with other Transitions members.

Mike has solidified his place in the hair replacement industry time and time again through his impressive list of print interviews that include the likes of The New York Times, GQ Magazine, Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, medical journals, and many, many more. He has also lent his knowledge as the keynote speaker and presenter at industry-related conferences around the country for various organizations. In addition to his passion for the cause, Mike led the first lobbying group through the halls of the US Congress in 1991 for insurance coverage of hair prostheses for cancer and Alopecia Areata patients.

In 2010, the Hair Icons honored Mike and his accomplishments by presenting him with the Randy Martin Lifetime Achievement Award. Regarding this honor, Mike said “I was in total shock as I was not a client of New Image and when presented with the honor I could not turn it down as there were absolutely no strings attached to it and I was told my peers had voted for me. I was thoroughly stunned!”

After a lifetime in the hair business and a 47-year love affair with his wife Carmen, Mike says his greatest moments are the ones spent with family, including two daughters, a son-in-law, and 4 grandchildren.