Beauty Launchpad Magazine

MAY 2016

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40 | BEAUTY LAUNCHPAD | MAY 2016 lready a salon owner in England at the tender age of 20—in the era of '80s excess—Antonio Solimeno jokes that his mind jostled equally between partying and hair. He was no clueless newbie; an apprentice at 16, he studied intently under Raymond Bessone ("Mr. Teasy-Weasy"), trainer of Vidal Sassoon. But at his current concept on this side of the pond—Antonio Salon, open since 2013 in downtown Seattle—he hits the perfect balance between off-the- clock fun and nose-to-the-grindstone diligence. "I'm not into the big-salon thing," Solimeno laughs. "I wanted to keep it small, creating a team environment in a space we'd love—and that clients would love because it's more personal." His 22 employees indeed adore Solimeno's laid-back approach, no doubt inspired by his European roots: holidays, four weeks of paid vacation, three- and four- day workweeks. Still, education remains rigorous—a detailed two-year apprenticeship allows budding talent to fl ourish; guest artists lead in-salon classes; and stylists frequently travel for further education. "No matter how much you love what you do, you need to have a life outside the salon," Solimeno asserts. "You don't even need to take a course; go to London or Tokyo and get inspired by what you see!" The salon's reputation spreads through almost-daily styling for adjacent "slow fashion" retailer Baby & Company, plus charitable projects like haircuts for the homeless and anti-bullying events. Clients, too, feel the love; each consultation and cut takes at least an hour, eschewing the American in-and-out mentality for a languorous European-style experience that nonetheless remains seamless (think in-the-chair checkout). Luxury lines that include Shu Uemura and Kérastase up the ante (Solimeno stresses carrying "the best products that perform"), while Girls Night Out events supply services, champagne and swank dinners. "When women value their hair, they're happy to save and pay for it," Solimeno concludes. "And when they do, we want them to feel appreciated and get the full experience." Seattle's Antonio Salon stresses European-style work-life balance and unhurried services, building an experience-based environment that wows stylists and clients alike. —TRACY MORIN Conversations/ Salon of the Month Details, Details Square feet: 1,750 Number of chairs: 10 Services: Color, cuts, blowouts, keratin treatments, special occasion styling, bridal packages Lines: Shu Uemera, Kérastase, Wella Professionals Color Client perks: Discounted validated parking; complimentary coffee/ tea; new-client goody bag (truffl es, a product sample, the stylist's business card, and a $30 gift card for future service), Girls Night Out for elite clients (four blowout services, Kérastase Luxe treatments, bubbly and a $200 gift card to Tavolàta restaurant) Retail stars: Kérastase Fluidealiste line and V.I.P. Volume in Powder; Shu Uemura Texture Wave Dry Texturizing Spray, Color Lustre Dry Cleaner and Volume Maker Invisible Texturizing Powder European Union k Antonio Salon's chic decor and intimate vibe attract clients. ANTONIO SALON 113 Virginia St Seattle, WA 98101 antoniothesalon.com

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