New salon opens in Dinkytown, offers expert coloring stylists

Haircolorexperts will celebrate its grand opening next week.

Molly Moker

Virgins, it’s time to get some experience from the experts – the hair coloring experts, that is.

The Haircolorexperts, a national chain based in Florida, opened a Dinkytown location Sept. 2, and attempts to takes the fear out of first-time hair coloring by offering free cyber-imaging with any service.

The imaging gives clients a preview of their new styles, which can be particularly helpful for those who have never colored their hair – called “virgins” in salon lingo.

“It’s really good if you’re going to do something drastic,” artistic director Stephanie Gabrielson said. “You can see what you’d look like with a pixie cut or with red hair.”

The salon celebrates its grand opening next week, but some customers said they are already hooked.

Travis Johnson – a second-time customer – said he was shocked at the response from his first cut and color.

“I got my hair all dyed up and cut last time, and it was really good,” Johnson said. “There was definitely a difference. Girls were coming up to me, and people were looking at me all the time. I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know a haircut could make such a difference.’ “

Co-owner and manager Erin Sayles said Johnson’s reaction – along with the salon’s name – were hard earned by employees.

When the salon opened, a corporate trainer came for a three-day artistic training seminar. After passing tests and evaluations, the salon’s stylists became experts in hair coloring, cutting or both.

The salon has three expert levels, including colorist, senior color specialist and master colorist. Gabrielson said she travels to national seminars to keep the salon up to date on the newest hair styling techniques.

Sayles said her decision to start the salon was impulsive.

“My mom and sister were in Florida this summer and went to (a Haircolorexperts salon) there,” she said. “They were really impressed with what they were doing.”

Her retired father also started looking into the franchise and decided to buy the Dinkytown store with his daughter – a process Sayles said took two months.

But she said convincing the company to open the Dinkytown franchise – the third Haircolorexpert salon in Minnesota and the 28th in the country – was an uphill battle because of its urban location.

“It was really hard for us to convince them to put one here, but once they saw the space they really loved it,” Sayles said.

She said the atmosphere at her salon is ideal.

“It’s really open and bright,” she said. “All of our employees are really friendly, and they all love what they do. Dinkytown needed an upscale salon, but it’s not expensive.”

Although Sayles said business has been great, other Dinkytown salons said they are not worried about the new competition.

“I don’t think it will be much competition for us,” said Sunny Doraiswany, owner of Shanti Spalon in Dinkytown. “Their prices are similar to ours, if not a little more expensive.”

Sayles said her salon’s pricing is competitive with other salons in the Dinkytown area, with haircuts starting at $22 and coloring starting at $20.

She said Dinkytown businesses have been receptive.

“We fit in really well with the area,” she said. “We’re all really excited to be here.”

Sayles said Haircolorexperts franchises are still growing, and she said that by December there will be more salons across the state. She also said the chain will open in Europe sometime next year.