David Thurston Discusses Salons vs. Salon Suites

Most salon owners will tell you salon suites suck. And, most salon suite owners will tell you traditional salons suck. I'm one of the few people that own both types (Butterfly Loft salon and Ubungalows Luxury Salon Suites) and here are a few of my opinions:

If you derive most energy and enjoyment from interacting with your stylist co-workers, then you're a Type 1 stylist and you're probably better suited toward a traditional salon; but if you derive more energy and enjoyment from interacting with your clients then you're a Type 2 stylist and you're probably better suited toward a salon suite. There are exceptions, of course.

If you're a Type 2 stylist, a salon suite can be incredibly rewarding, but because they're new and exciting, there are currently a lot of Type 1 stylists working in salon suites. And because of this, I'm often contacted for employment opportunities by Type 1 stylists who feel unfulfilled due to a lack of inspiration at the salon suite they work in.


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With our Ubungalows project, our goal was to retool and rethink the salon suite concept to solve this issue. Stylists at Ubungalows have access to the same education, collaboration opportunities, events, parties, teamwork, and sense of community that the Butterfly Loft stylists have. We've completely rethought design, and one of the innovations is that we have created many break rooms and common space patios (many salon owners think common spaces create drama, we've concluded that they create collaboration, teamwork, and community.

The industry is changing rapidly, which is extremely exciting. We challenge others to also pause, rethink, and innovate the way we all do things going forward to create environments where stylists are inspired and fulfilled, and strive to keep education, collaboration, and the sense of community alive.

- David at Butterfly Loft

About: Butterfly Loft Salon and Spa opened on November 1, 2010, on Ventura Boulevard in Encino.  Owners David Thurston and Alexis Thurston have taken a second-floor commercial space that was vacant for seven years and transformed it into an upscale salon resembling an urban loft, with high, exposed ceilings, polished concrete floors, and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that extend across the length of the salon, offering views of the Encino hills. Follow Butterfly Loft on Instagram