Behind the Scenes at Oon Arvelo Salon

When celebrated colorist Peter Oon and distinguished stylist Elvin Arvelo created their new Oon Arvelo Salon in New York City, they called upon the talented professionals they’ve known for decades, creating a cohesive “work family” who immediately understood each other. 

Back in the ’90s, Frédéric Fekkai was one of the hottest salons to work at. That’s where up-and-coming colorist Peter Oon met and quickly became friends with enthusiastic stylist Elvin Arvelo. “I liked Peter’s work ethic and his straightforward approach to hair color. We also really complemented each other,” says Arvelo. “I always loved that Elvin’s cuts perfectly showed off my color,” Oon reminisces. 

The team at Oon Arvelo Salon, Elvin Arvelo (far left), Peter Oon (far right)

After decades of working together—in different salons, on different celebrities, and having the same tight circle of industry friends—the two decided to open their own salon—the new Oon Arvelo Salon in Midtown Manhattan. It took them two years to find just the right location and a year to build the salon. But finding the perfect staff proved to be much easier. People from their old training days at Fekkai, and other pros they had worked with for decades, quickly came forward. “These were stylists and colorists who we socialize with, share summer houses with and go on skiing and golfing trips with—as soon as they heard we were building, they wanted to join forces with us,” says Oon. Hiring people they’ve known for years made opening the salon a lot smoother because the trust and respect was already there, but Oon and Arvelo also found an unexpected benefit to this hiring method. “If you hire people who you’ve known for a long time, when new people come in, your old friends are able to set the same example that you would,” says Arvelo. “The assistants see a consistent work ethic and dedication to our craft.” The only downside to hiring old friends, “sometimes it makes negotiations a bit awkward, and it’s hard to say ‘no’ to some of their requests. But you can always work things out,” says Oon. 

Every space at the salon feels like a beauty sanctuary.

As for creating their vision of a relaxing beauty sanctuary, the duo more than met their goal with a modern, minimalist style, complete with dark raw-wood flooring and chic metal accents. “The openness of the space creates an environment that allows our styling and color teams to express their creativity, while providing an upscale experience,” says Oon. “The moment clients step into our salon, they are greeted as if they are in the home of a good friend. They can feel the warmth and positive energy immediately.” And, with their seasoned team of old friends holding down the fort, we would expect nothing less.