Helming The Establishment since 2004, with two locations in Milwaukee and Los Angeles, the husband-and-wife team of Howie Goldklang and stylist/makeup artist Carly Flynn were hardly salon owner rookies when they opened Southpaw in 2014. But the 900-square-foot small wonder, nestled in the quirky ’hood of Silver Lake, California, has exceeded the duo’s dreams. “We wanted to grow into the rapidly expanding men’s grooming market, while our friend, stylist Jim Palmer (now director of education), moved to The Establishment from a male-heavy work environment and missed that world,” Goldklang recounts. “We decided to take a leap and expand our salon business to Southpaw, with the vision to be a leader in prestige men’s cutting and styling.”
The Aveda concept salon stamps its mark in Los Angeles through a self-assured design that Goldklang describes as “strong, open, streamlined, and accessible.” The build-out, created by design group Ink & Wood, features a storefront with floor-to-ceiling windows and doors for passersby to view the action inside. Post-entrance, custom- built retail shelves hug the right wall; opposite, 11 employees cultivate their handiwork at six wide-plotted stations, each with hidden Sonos speakers to create warm surround sound. Behind the dark wood, podium-style front desk, partitioned by a diffused, old-time detective glass wall, a black-and-white subway-tiled shampoo area houses two bowls for shampooing, conditioning, scalp work, hot towels, and skin care (included with all cuts). “Our favorite design features are the hooked and angled side-lit mirrors, the antique entry mirror above the plants that helps divide the space, and our found-object coffee bar, repurposed from a turn-of-the-century railway repair house,” Goldklang notes. “Our typical clients—a mix of Eastside creatives, Silver Lake dads and dudes, and fashion-forward celebrity artists, musicians, comedians, and actors—love it.”
But Southpaw is more than a handsome face; look deeper, and you find a whole lotta heart—and a heck of a good time. Free Colectivo coffee remains on tap for guests and neighbors (no purchase necessary), with proceeds from the tip jar donated to a different partner every month, from LGBTQ causes and Surfrider LA to local schools and charities. Then there are regular in-house events—think underground comedy and indie music performances—as well as extracurriculars for staff, like a recent photo shoot partnership with clothing brand NoHours. “We run a monthly DJ night called Process at Gold-Diggers bar with our sister salon, The Establishment, and Instagram upstart @avedapunks,” Goldklang adds. “We’re always looking for more to do!”
Though the concept offers straightforward cuts, styling and gray blending, Goldklang admits his biggest challenge is maintaining identity: not quite barbershop, not quite traditional salon and without a model to follow as an Aveda Men’s outlet. “It’s a constant check and balance, but we overcome that through solid communication with our team and appointing stylists to lead projects,” Goldklang explains. “Now, we want to really lean into who we are as a culture and expand into editorial work and leadership as educators in men’s grooming—to simply grow and perfect what we have.”
This story first appeared in the Spring issue of MAN magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
[Images: Howie Goldklang]