Salon Privé’s decor is elegant, a bit of whimsy, and has a sophistication that is charming and refreshing. You’re welcome to sit in one of the two posh white club chairs; It’s time to relax, disengage from reality for a bit, and be pampered. That is, after all, the goal co-owner Ryan Gordon was trying to achieve when he opened Salon Privé with his business partner Elizabeth Kalfsbeek. Salon Privé offers an array of services and products; Ryan manages the hair salon while Elizabeth provides esthetician services. Together they make a perfect one-stop shop for clients to escape the every day even if it’s for just a bit.
Here is part one of two posts about Salon Privé, featuring Ryan Gordon.
Tell me your name and occupation.
My name is Ryan Gordon. I co-own Salon Privé in Woodland. It’s a place for clients to come and feel as if they’ve escaped their everyday reality. They can get hair and esthetician services, and have a place to decompress.
When did you first think about opening your own business?
I always knew it was something I wanted to do, especially when I started hair school, at 30 years old, but there were things that kept me from going. When I finally did go, owning my own place was always where I knew my path would eventually lead to.
What did you do before going to hair school?
Before that, I worked for Nordstroms for seven years. That job took me all over the country. I started at Arden Fair, then I was promoted and move to San Francisco. I then relocated to Los Angeles, then to Miami to open a new store. Within a year and a half of my move to Miami, I was then relocated to Atlanta. At that point, I hit a crossroads with the company. I decided to go to hair school, which was always a passion of mine, but I was fearful.
Changing a career at 30! Tell me what life was like during that time.
After I left Nordstroms, I went right into hair school. After one year and two weeks I graduated. At the same time, I was working at Raley’s to help make ends meet, which was great because I could reconnect with people in the community. After graduation, I began working with Paul Sinor at Sinor Salons. He was very helpful and supportive, and I worked with him for six and half years. Over that time, I was able to build my clientele. I couldn’t be more greatful for the clients I now serve because they are families, you know, groups of people. I would start with doing hair for a daughter, then her mother would come, and then I would have their cousins come in for hair service. Eventually, you start feeling like you’re a part of their family. I’ve done their weddings, graduations and stuff like that. It’s opened a whole world that I didn’t even expect or knew existed.
At what point did you decide to open your own spot?
It was always in the back of my mind. Elizabeth Kalfsbeek, my business partner, was a client of mine who wanted to be an esthetician. She was at the same crossroads as I once was, so I always try to encourage people who talk about changing their careers. She ended up going to school, and while she was out looking for spaces, she came across the space we are in now. She was telling me about the space, the rent, and a that it was a great location. I asked her, “What if we do it together?” The opportunity was something I couldn’t pass up.
What was the timeline from taking possession of the space to open?
Ten weeks! It was a fixer-upper too. I received a tremendous amount of help from friends, family, and clients. The support system was unbelievable. People were coming out of the woodworks asking how they could help. My client Winny Roshala’s husband John called and said, “You know I’m retired, I can help you out!”. He stopped by one day and took all the doors off the cabinets to resand and finish them. He said, “Doing this will prevent me from doing work around the house and making Winny upset!” Another client, Karen and Sean Gossard, came down and spend an entire Sunday and helped me build the furniture and tile the back countertop. Then my father helped me with the final touches. It was overwhelming and it was a blessing to have the help.
Describe the style of Salon Privé
I’ve always loved Paris. When I was 14 I was able to travel to France and it was a life-altering experience. It opened my eyes; there is so much more out there, in the world. My mindset at the time was to save for a car, but instead I used the money for the trip with my French Club. So, I’ve always loved Paris – the architecture, the decor, the awnings, the people, art, and museums. I loved the aesthetic and tried to recreate it here. I also have a love for Disneyland. Their service is unsurpassed and they offer a wonderful experience. It’s costly but worth every penny. I wanted that magic in my space.
The chandelier and wallpaper is inspired by the Haunted Mansion and the heads on the wall are from the Country Bear Jamboree. The decor isn’t “in your face” but it comes from things that are near and dear to me. There is a duality to some of the decor; the heads on the wall also represent the fact that some of the women who come in are hunters.
Tell me about a special memory or time while owning Salon Privé.
There are so many. My experience as a client at a salon was feeling like I was on a conveyor belt. One person did the color, another did the cut while another did the style. You miss the human connection, which so much of this business; making connections with your client. It’s not just as a hair dresser but as a human. You celebrate your client’s successes and mourn their woes with them.
Some of the memories that are near and dear to me is when I’ve had an opportunity to do a wedding. Especially, when they’ve been a long time client, and I get to spend it with them doing their hair. There is so much joy, love and excitement in the room. When ever I have that opportunity I can’t turn it down. I even missed my high school 20-year reunion to do a wedding, in Monterey, for a family that I hold very, very dear. Also, having the freedom to be able to choose to be a part of those memories with my client is special.
How do you keep up with the latest trends?
There are a lot of resources available. I follow people on Instagram and Facebook who are in the industry and my partner manages the MAC store at Arden. So, I see a lot of the MAC publicity and the trends that they are setting. We have some great friend in New York City that work Fashion Week, so of course I get a sneak peak of what’s coming up. The lines I use here at the Salon have great websites and resources to educate you on the products and styles. I brief myself on those on a regular basis, especially when I may be feeling a little stagnant or feeling like I’m just doing the same thing.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
Primarily, my number one hobby is I sing. I’m a part of the Woodland Chamber Singers, and I sit on the board as well. That has afforded me some wonderful experiences of singing at Carnegie Hall and possibly, next June, at Disney Symphony Hall. This is a passion of mine, and I come from a lot of art and music background. I have a degree in Musical Theater with a focus on voice and dance. So, outside of work I’m involved with the arts. I love to travel as well. Last spring we went to Germany, two years ago Paris and Rome, and we have Hawaii coming up. Becuase I feel I’m always working, we always try to have the next trip scheduled. If we don’t, it won’t happen. When you’re a business owner, it is easy to get caught up with what is necessary to run your business it’s important to have a good life-work balance.
712 Main St. Suite 104
Woodland, CA 95695