Beauty Launchpad is spotlighting the winners of its Top 20 Salons contest for 2024.
Here, Kelly Cahen welcomes us to 1213 Hair Studio in Richmond, Virginia, established in October 2009.
Beauty Launchpad (BLP): What is the backstory of your salon?
Kelly Cahen (KC): 1213 Hair Studio was designed to incorporate all of the things I had experienced from a laid back approach of a small local business, to the upscale customer service of a higher end corporate spa. Having worked at both, I was able to see where each environment had what the other didn’t and I wanted to create an upscale environment with a laid back approach. I created the salon I wanted to work in when I was only a stylist.
BLP: What was the most challenging thing that happened while opening your salon?
KC: Everything was a challenge. As a stylist turned salon owner, I had no clue what it took to successfully operate a business. It's not as easy as if you build it, they will come. I had to get serious about what it takes to lead a team and manage a clientele that was bigger than just me. Being honest with myself and deep diving into personal development has been my biggest lesson, and I am still always growing and evolving.
BLP: What is the overall aesthetic of your salon? What inspired you when designing the space?
KC: I love to travel and Europe is hands down my favorite. I love the feeling I get in a french boulangerie or high end hotel. I look for design aspects through every trip I take and try to bring a piece of it back home to elevate the salon. We started off with all IKEA fixtures and have slowly upgraded to Restoration Hardware to always offer the best we can and provide that experience for our clientele. I have a challenge I like to call the “One Item A Month Challenge” Every month, I take a look around the salon and try to upgrade one thing. Sometimes it may be time to replace the towels, and other times it may be a fancier lighting fixture or cutting chairs. It doesn’t always have to be a major upgrade, but this keeps our clients excited and our space fresh and new.
BLP: What services do you provide your clients? Are any of these services signature and/or exclusive to your salon?
KC: We offer all hair services including cuts, coloring services, extensions, smoothing treatments and texture services.
BLP: What products are used/retailed in your salon? Do you have a personal favorite?
KC: We are a Davines salon. I love that they care about the environment, are an Italian based company and deliver superior results for our clients.
BLP: What makes your salon unique and stand out?
KC: 1213 Hair Studio truly is like no other salon. Unlike a lot of small businesses, we believe the stylists come before the clients. As the leader, I believe that if I make my team happy, they will be in a better position to make the clients happy. Happy stylists plus happy clients makes for a happy leader.
BLP: What takeaway do you hope clients have after a visit at your salon?
KC: We want our clients to feel as though they have stepped away from the daily grind. We do all we can to give them a relaxed environment with impeccable results.
BLP: What piece of advice would you give to a new salon owner?
KC: Do the work ahead of time. Learn your brand beyond just a logo and decor. Set your policies for both your team and clientele and stick to it. Your policies are your boundaries. Always treat people the way you would want to be treated in their situation even if it isn’t always what’s “best for business.” It's personal, not business.
BLP: What’s next for your salon? Do you have any goals for the year?
KC: We have systems in place to create year over year growth and stay committed to that. Our goal is to continue on that path and always do our best to create a working environment that promotes the stylists growth all while encouraging their work/life balance.