Deborah Gavin and Laurie Haney met 22 years ago as shampoo girls. As they worked their way up in the industry, they took a look around and realized that they could do better—both in decor and in service—than the other salons in their area. The result is Fresh Hair Studio in Southampton, PA, which opened in its original location in 2002 and moved to a larger space in 2004.
The highlight of the salon is the processing lounge, which came to be after the owners watched for years as clients were pushed from chair to chair while they waited. "They never had anywhere permanent to sit, so we created a processing lounge and designed it to look like a bistro garden," Gavin says. The lounge features wireless Internet access for busy clients and an open mixing kitchen, where people can watch as colorists create their palettes. Color is the salon's staple service, and several staff members have won awards for their craft.
FROM top: The styling area at Fresh Hair Studio features an open layout and furniture from Formatron; the bright, bistro-inspired processing lounge; the stylish reception area with a retail section offering the salon's new Fresh private line, Goldwell, TIGI, PureOlogy, Wella and Redken.
Gavin and Haney decided to include a booking room in the salon's design, placing it right behind the front desk so that they can make sure to greet clients when they arrive and ensure that they are moving through the system efficiently. There are also two cutting areas. "The salon is set up in a sort of circle, so it feels really spacious," Gavin says. Adding to the spacious feel is the high ceiling, which a lighting architect raised so that he could put in more windows for natural light.
The processing lounge doubles as a location for classes. The salon's 44 staff members receive regular training through workshop sessions with guest artists. Stylists and owners from other salons, as well as clients, can take classes like the recent Blow Dry Boot Camp.
Along with the signature color services, the salon offers cutting, styling and retexturizing treatments, and partners with a spa a few doors down that offers makeup and skincare services. According to Gavin, however, one of the most important things the salon does is give back to the community by donating a portion of their sales proceeds to charities, and by holding fundraisers like toy drives for underprivileged children. "When we opened the salon, we wanted to make sure we gave something back; it helps us remember where we came from," Gavin says. —LORI MORRIS