• A rendering of The Salon Project
  • A rendering of The Salon Project
  • Bruce E. Teitelbaum and Joel Warren
  • Joel Warren

August 11, 2017
Saks Launches Futuristic Salon
The salon industry is about to be disrupted in a major way, at least that’s the hope of Joel Warren, co-founder of the Warren-Tricomi hair salon chain, who has partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue to debut a new one-stop-shop salon concept with a futuristic edge. The Salon Project launches at Saks’ Huntington, Long Island unit in mid-October with 3,000 square-feet, and will be what Joel called a mix of “Apple, Sephora and a high-end salon.”

“This is the salon of the future. As soon as guests walk in, they will literally enter a virtual reality,” explained Joel. “Screens will be set up right at the entrance, which will allow visitors the ability to virtually try on lipsticks and purchase the ones they want on the spot.”

And, that’s just the beginning of the innovative offerings at the salon, which will be designed by RPG to reflect a mid-century aesthetic with a modern twist. According to Bruce E. Teitelbaum, CEO of RPG, "We are thrilled to bring our global, diversified design and build experience to The Salon Project, a pioneer in its category.  Joel's incredible talent and knowledge along with the prestige and allure of Saks and RPG's creative and manufacturing expertise should prove to be a winning combination."

Joel, who has been operating salons and creating hair care products for more 20 years said, “I noticed that the way many salons do things isn’t as efficient as it could be, so I started thinking about how to make it better and realized it would be easier to bring everything to the client.”

At The Salon Project, there will be no front desk experience. Instead, guests will check in with concierges equipped with iPads who will direct them to their designated station, where they will remain for the duration of their services, to be overseen by one stylist from start to finish.

“I updated an old idea of having a sink at the service chair to cut out the chaos of moving clients around to several stations,” said Joel. “I also realized that clients don’t like to be handed off to people they don’t know, so it only makes sense to have one hairdresser work on them for a more intimate and personalized experience. I tested this bespoke idea at my salon, Salótto, in South Beach and the clients were so much happier.”

To that end, all employees of The Salon Project will be given the opportunity to receive multi-services training, and will play a major role in facilitating sales by establishing a trusted stylist-client relationship. At their seats, clients can use augmented reality technology, developed by YouCam, to try-on products available in the salon’s inventory and test lipsticks from a try-on bar cart, all while receiving recommendations from their hairdresser who can complete product purchase transactions from an iPad.

“The best person to ask what color to put on your face is the person coloring your hair,” said Joel. “It’s a big area that needs to be focused on. All colorists study skin color and tones and our whole careers revolve around that. This model provides the unique opportunity for experts to introduce clients to products and sell it to them right at the chair in a friendly way.”

Estimated prices at the Long Island salon will be as follows: Blowdrys $40+; Cuts $120+; Color $120+; Highlights $250+. If a guest has some downtime in between a hair services, she can visit a central communal table to receive massages, nail services, product demonstrations or charge her devices. A keratin treatment and hair extension room will be housed in a special VIP area, and an AR app is currently being developed to help guests virtually try on extensions before committing to a desired look. Makeup artists, eyebrow and eyelash specialists will also be on site, as well as a med spa which will feature laser and body treatments, hair removals and doctors to provide injectables.

Joel is also working on his own color cosmetics line, Kiss and Makeup NYC, which is launching at the end of the year with 16 lipstick sku’s, and will be sold at the salon alongside an assortment of 15 to 20 third-party brands across all beauty categories.

Two additional salons are planned for Saks stores in Houston and Boca Raton by the end of 2018, and 10 select Saks stores will roll out the following year, including the New York City 5th Ave flagship, which will open in October 2019.

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