The odds are slim that a hairstylist from England and another from Peru would meet, become fast friends and open a successful, trend-setting salon in San Diego. But that's exactly how Kenneth Bradshaw and David Valencia became the owners of dk hair in 2003. The two longtime stylists made artistic creativity and education the pillars of their business by setting up an assistantship program and encouraging their staff to attend Bumble and bumble and L'Oréal seminars. They succeeded in establishing a salon that was named a B&B Elite Hair Salon—an honor Bumble bestows on less than 1 percent of all salons that carry the brand in the nation—just two years after opening.
Bradshaw and Valencia also attracted a loyal, diverse and burgeoning clientele, which led to their decision to expand into a new 3,000-square-foot space, twice as big as their original one, this year. They also increased their staff by 40 percent and added facial and body services to the menu. Still, dk hair stayed true to its roots. "It's a chic escape but it's not a spa environment," Bradshaw says. "Our focus is still on hair, but now a facial, massage and color treatment can all be scheduled together, letting us address the needs of the whole client. We've created a personal resource center for the urban, working woman who wants to come in, get everything done and get out." —C.W.