Ryan Trygstad is a celebrity hairdresser at Sally Hershberger in New York City, whose clients include Golden Globe-winner Brie Larson and Amy Schumer (he does the wigs for her show, Inside Amy Schumer). Childhood friend Rebecca Surbrook—the two are originally from Michigan where they attended the same Aveda Academy—followed her fiancé to Richmond, VA, eight years ago, handing in a high-profile career as a makeup artist working on Broadway in plays like The Grinch and The Color Purple. She and Trygstad had often talked about opening their own salon someday. Then the owner of the salon Surbrook worked at in Richmond announced that she was moving, and they decided to make their dream a reality. “We completely renovated the salon, which was very dark,” says Trygstad, who wanted the décor to have a Scandinavian feel. The reception area, which is light and airy, is reminiscent of Shutters on the Beach, the famed luxury hotel in Santa Monica, CA. “I wanted people to feel like they’re on vacation when they enter the salon,” he says. The building itself, which is in a historic section of Richmond, was home to Pohlig Bros., a paper box factory. During the Civil War, it was used as a hospital. The salon is located on the ground level in an area that was used to load tobacco in the 1700s. “There’s a huge movement in Norway and Sweden toward spaces that shape shift, serving as a yoga studio one day and an art gallery another,” says Trygstad, who applied the concept to Shelter where the stations are moveable. “We wanted this to be a very interactive environment where we could move the stations out of the way and offer classes. We just offered one to teach our clients how to blow dry their hair at home.” Currently, the service menu includes haircuts, color (Wella, Redken and Pravana), extensions, manicures, waxing, eyebrow tinting, relaxers and keratin treatments. “We also offer hair growth supplements like Viviscal,” says Trygstad. Weddings are big business at Shelter. Well, it is the South after all. The long-term plan is to open multiple salons in different cities. The first will probably be located in the affluent Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. “It’s only 45 minutes away,” says Trygstad, who has worked with Hillary Clinton, Queen Noor and Queen Rania. Grand Rapids, MI, is also on his radar for obvious reasons. For now, his goal is to build a top-notch staff. To that end, he’s already hired two Toni&Guy educators and someone who worked for Sassoon. ““There are a million salons in Richmond and at least five in our neighborhood,” Trygstad says. “Our goal is to give consumers a reason to come to Shelter instead.” He seems to be off to a good start.
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