1. Lather Hair Salon
"Lather is an upscale salon without the attitude," owner Jessica Williams says. "We offer all the quality of an upscale salon, from extremely talented and continually educated stylists to fine products, yet we keep the salon environment casual and friendly with a strong emphasis on customer service." The 1,200-square-foot salon, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, features a color palette of brown and blue punctuated by black accents. Large black-framed mirrors at the styling stations, stained concrete floors, and sophisticated and whimsical furnishings create a comfortable and fun atmosphere.
The salon hosts various events throughout the year, such as cut-a-thons to raise money for charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and recently teamed up with an online hair blogger to host a haircare event called Hair tales, Ponytails and Cocktails. Says Williams, "It was a great way for people to come into the salon, learn different haircare techniques, swap products and share stories."
In stock: Graham Webb, Sebastian
2. Primp Salonbar
Primp Salonbar owner Lainie Panos credits the salon's success to its unconventional approach to beauty. "We've broken traditional barriers that people have come to expect from a salon, and we are doing exceptionally well," Panos says. To complement the part-lounge, part-salon atmosphere, the 3,500-square-foot space features an ultrachic urban decor with chocolate-colored leather sofas and taupe and ice blue colors throughout.
Primp offers standards like cuts and color, as well as cocktail-themed services like the popular Tinis & Toes, which consists of a classic pedicure and a premium martini, and guests are encouraged to treat themselves to cocktails, beer and wine from the cash bar. "We believe that our clients are people who want to look good, feel good and indulge unapologetically," Panos says. "Primp is for the young and the young at heart."
In stock: Alterna, Redken
3. Marigold Parlour
Marigold Parlour aims to cater to a pool of clients who value creativity, an urban lifestyle and a unique experience, according to co-owner Jessie Clough. The 2,000-square-foot salon, which opened in July 2007 and is located in a building that was originally a bottle-capping factory, features a decor combining industrial, vintage and Victorian aspects. A welcoming palette of green and orange hues accented with black lacquer and stained concrete greets clients as they enter the salon, and clever displays of antique scissors, vintage hair dryers, chandeliers and faux deer heads adorn the walls and ceilings to create a unique atmosphere and experience.
Owners Clough and Dustin Smith chose the name "Marigold" because they were inspired by the idea that in the 1800s, women used marigold petals to stain their hair gold—one of the first forms of haircolor. They added the word "Parlour" because it's not as common as the word "salon" and it fits the business' vintage flair and style.
In stock: Joico, ISO
4. Alter Ego
"We call ourselves a freedom-based salon," says Shawn Briscoe, co-owner of Alter Ego. "We trust our stylists to conduct themselves as mature professionals and we provide the coaching, support system and space to help them thrive." The 3,800-square-foot salon, which opened in 2008, offers cuts, styles, nail care, waxing and chemical straightening services. During the economic downturn, the salon turned to serving its community as a means to build its business. "We gave away some of our services to new customers for free, which created an amazing amount of buzz in our market," Briscoe says. "We always focus on what's best for the community and for the customer as part of that community." The salon features a clean decor with 16 styling stations, antique pieces to accentuate the feel of being located in a historic building and artwork from local artists. Says Briscoe, "It serves as a way to increase design stimuli for our stylists."
In stock: Alterna, OPI, Redken, Rusk