In prior years my work ‘hood was the infamous Rodeo Drive. I know, cry me a river. But the thing is, I was working for a company that, though they gave me my start as a colorist, was stifling me creatively. Like the polished Rodeo Drive, I was required to show up to work every day in uniform, blending in with my coworkers like a robotic tribe. Corporate thought our get-ups were chic, and provided “comfort” to the clients because we all looked streamlined and the same. Meanwhile, I thought I looked like a damn waiter and it robbed me of all individuality and expression. To this day I never wear a combination of black and white ANYTHING because it reminds me too much of that time in my life. Scarred for life I tell you. But I digress.
4 years ago amongst other reasons I found a new salon home. I left the perfect mirage of Rodeo Drive behind and headed east to Melrose Place. Yes, like the show. Since I made the move to work for Serge Normant at John Frieda, I can say that hands down it is the most gorgeous place to work (people are often surprised to see the swimming pool in the middle of the salon surrounded by bougainvillea and to hear the salon was once Neil Diamond’s recording studio), and the Melrose Place block has the best neighborhood vibe. And, I was finally able to wear my own clothing and express my personality. No matter how tough the day, at some point I glance at the pool and I burst with gratitude. The upside and downside of my beautiful hood? The best shopping right at my fingertips. It takes sheer willpower not to stroll the street in between clients and pop my head in all the amazing stores. I lose that battle every time. But my loss is my clients’ gain.
Two subjects that women like to talk about endlessly is hair and shopping. Sometimes before the hair color consultation the first questions my clients ask is have you bought anything lately? What’s in the stores? What are you wearing? I’ve managed, to my bank account’s dismay, to develop a really friendly relationship with the stores surrounding the salon. A few current choices are perennial fave DVF, the amazingly curated TENOVERSIX, and newcomer makeup legend, Nars. What’s a girl to do but frequent these awesome establishments?! What really makes the experience of visiting these stores special for me are the relationships formed with the employees there. Cat and Mariel at DVF are gorgeous inside and out, and helpful without an ounce of pressure or pushiness. I feel confident recommending my clients to them because I know they will be treated with the utmost of care. Kim Howe at TENOVERSIX is educated about everything from the coolest local designers to the best accessories to gift your nearest and dearest. I’m simply obsessed with this impeccably curated store. And Nars. I bless the day this makeup mecca opened on neighboring Melrose Avenue. I kid you not when I say the staff could not be any nicer. My favorite employee there, Andrew Toma, is a girl’s dream. Knowledgable and complimentary, he helps me navigate my tried and true makeup staples, and also what’s new. Currently they have an Andy Warhol collection that is whimsical and cool, that I’m tempted to purchase just for the packaging alone.
Day in and day out, my block is solid, combining world class shopping with a personal feel. We all strive to make all the visitors to the Melrose Place area happy and feeling like their experience was unique and second to none. And in this economy, I can’t think of a better mission. When strangers start acting like neighbors, communities are reinvigorated. I certainly didn’t feel like this on Rodeo Drive….
Yes, I actually work here everyday…..;)