Former Prisoner Reinvents Himself & Builds a Million-Dollar Company

Entrepreneurship is not easy. It's even hard when you are returning from prison and starting over. For Salvatore “Ronnie” Passariello, entrepreneurship was his only hope. Salvatore went to prison on a drug-conspiracy conviction, he lost everything. He had no idea how he was going to make it when he got out. He turned to entrepreneurship and built a million-dollar company called Hair Illusion. We had the opportunity from Salvator how he was able to reinvents himself.

Tell us your story

I spent time in prison productively, reading anything I could get I could get my hands on related to entrepreneurship.  By the time I was released after 6 and half years for drug conspiracy, I had accumulated two large boxes of notes and magazine clippings. I set up a “home-office” in the back of my friend’s tanning salon by hanging up a shower-curtain, and a $200 laptop that his friend bought, and got to work on Hair Illusion. I didn’t want my past to defy my future. I was determined to be successful and not return to prison.

Tell us about your business and what you do

I’m the CEO and Founder of Hair Illusion, which is a cosmetic product made from 100% real human hair that allows men and women to conceal the appearance of thinning and balding hair, giving the impression of natural human hair. I run every aspect of the business from customer service to marketing. I’m currently in the process of hiring a team that is as passionate and ambitious as I am.

How were you able to get Nick Young to use your product?

One of my friends is a celebrity barber and he called me to send him samples of Hair Illusion. Nick Young is one of his customers.

What advice would you give to someone that might be going through a difficult period in life and looking to start a business?

Find something that you’re passionate about and it won’t feel like work. I know that’s cliché to say but it’s true. Don’t do something for the money, because you may become miserable because it’s not your passion.  Don’t quit, it’s too easy. Be consistent. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goals. If you keep working hard you will succeed. You have no choice but to succeed if you don’t give up. Winners never quit and quitters never win.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?    

Freedom. I can work remotely and travel at the same time.

What entrepreneur do you look up to and why?

I don’t look up to one person specifically but anyone who started from the bottom and now is a successful business mogul, such as Oprah or Sean “Diddy” Combs is who I can relate to.

Where do you see the business in the next 5 years? 

Within the next 3-5 years I will be partnered with a huge corporation. I’m currently in the process of writing a book about how to be a successful entrepreneur. I plan to visit other prisons and share my success story and motivate others to achieve.

Anything additional?

It’s 2017; you can learn anything you want from the internet. There is no reason you shouldn’t be successful. For more information about Hair Illusion visit:


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