Pon International has a new look, and the trendsetting team could not be prouder. The Anaheim Hills, California salon recently underwent a total re-design dividing the 2400-square-foot 26-station facility into 16 hybrid suites.
Owners Pon Saradeth and Mary Jean Galvez have worked for years to build their brand in the upscale suburban area of Southern California, and with the current iteration, a new business model is poised to propel business even further.
Pon International launched in 1998 with a 1200-square-foot 12-station facility and outgrew it by 2006 when they moved into a larger facility twice the size in the same complex. However, by 2018 these savvy business owners saw the need to make a change. Not just a remodel for the sake of staying current, but a redesign of how they run their business.
With salon suites popping up on every corner, this business duo saw the need to take the best of the rental salon environment and interject the better qualities of salon suite offerings for a new business model.
“The Pon International revamp features a new approach to how our space is allocated," said co-owner Mary Jean Galvez. "Instead of 26 stations lined up across the salon one right after another, instead we went for a hybrid "salon suite" sort of appeal. Fewer hair stations, more room at each one with plenty of easy-access storage and a lit display for each stylists' stock of products. Now two stylists can share a space and coordinate their schedule between themselves."
According to Mary Jean, the split is an excellent opportunity for stylists to strike a balance and work smarter. They have 24/7 access to the salon and work it out between the two of them schedule-wise. It's an ideal option for part-timers or newer stylists who want their own station but cannot manage a fulltime schedule. They pair-up with another stylist who carries a fuller-than-normal load and split the rent accordingly.
Concurring, Pon Saradeth feels that this hybrid approach allows Pon International to offer more to stylists and their customers. With fewer operators working at any one given time, there’s less commotion than when the salon was packed at full capacity before.
“Think of a Saturday, the day before a major holiday! Super busy! Now, stylists have more space to work, and clients have room to relax,” said Pon.
He added, “Another thing we took from the salon suite model is retail. In the past, stylists would have to sell only the products the salon stocked. I carry my own line plus a few other brands and sell a fair amount of retail myself, but most stylists did not see the need. In many cases, they wanted to carry other brands, and with that many stylists, a salon cannot keep up. It’s too many brands. With our new model, the stylists at each station can carry and sell what they want. They have a built-in display and can showcase whatever products they choose to feature. Now the stylists have the freedom to run their retail as they see fit.”
As far as the rest of the Pon International facility, even the processing room and shampoo areas got a makeover, the look is lighter and airier with modern fixtures and other amenities. Pon and Mary Jean also expanded the seating in the lobby by removing the central retail area and lightened up its appeal with a textured white-on-white wall treatment. Inside of the work areas, they went for a neutral tonality with gray walls, white stations, and black chairs. There’s also a modern high gloss white ceiling with ample, balanced lighting to illuminate for even the most discriminating color artist.
“Our stylists love the new look and configuration of the stations. As a hybrid setting, they get the best of the “salon suite” experience but without the walls that confine. This open environment allows professionals to communicate with others and see what everybody else is doing, which is essential for personal and professional growth. Locked away in a little room it’s otherwise hard to stay current and motivated,” added Pon.
To stay relevant in this industry, you’ve got to keep reinventing yourself,” said Mary Jean. “Our salon looks pretty amazing, and the new business model is proving to be highly effective. The investment was well worth it!”
With nearly three decades of hairdressing skill under his belt, Pon Saradeth, owner of Pon International in Anaheim Hills, California, is recognized as the top designer in many hair competitions receiving well over 100 awards internationally. His vast array of specialties includes haircutting, color, styling and photo session work. Pon and his team are also one of the most published salons in the country. Their editorial work is in high demand for both trade and consumer hair publications worldwide. Now with a redesigned facility and complete line of namesake hair care and styling products, Pon and his team can create even more innovative designs for Orange County, California residents.
Photos: Taggart Winterhalter for Purely Visual