Better Business: Rodney Cutler's Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Bar

Room for Growth

With three successful salons in New York City, Rodney Cutler shows no signs of stopping. Most recently, the Redken brand ambassador introduced the Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Bar to his most high-traffic salon, in SoHo. The sleek, modern space, designed by SJ2a founder Jonathas Lanna Valle Filho, features an entrance that leads to an atelier with four styling stations equipped with iPads that show Redken’s blow-dry menu. Open Tuesday to Sunday, with expanded hours on weekday mornings, Cutler feels that “from a business perspective, it’s a phenomenal opportunity to introduce clients to the salon through that experience.”

When Cutler first met with Leslie Marino, general manager of Redken, to discuss the idea, he agreed that there was a real desire for it, but that he had to be realistic. He had a pre-existing space and a large footprint, so it boiled down to expanding the opportunity at a low cost. “People always look for this big magic moment in building a business,” he says, “but I don’t think it’s like that. Most of it is tinkering and tweaking and doing a little more than last year. This is one of those things. It’s not completely reinventing the wheel—we haven’t created a new category. We’re looking at something that’s successful and doing it our way in an existing space.”

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Cutler knows that much of his success is owed to leveraging his alliances and the relationships he’s built. “With StyleSeat and Redken, I think it will work,” he says. “It’s not like we put a sticker in the window and hoped people would notice it when they walked by.” What gives the salon its edge, he says, is that it develops fashion with Redken and doesn’t just follow the trends. “We can say, “Hey, we just got off the runway, this is what’s hot, this is what we’re seeing.’” There isn’t really a salon like his in the area, he adds. “We suddenly do have a point of difference.” —K.H.

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