Hollywood Hair salon owner Cristi Zehr had always wanted to open her own salon but the right moment didn’t align with her life until she’d been styling hair for 17 years. Most recently, six of those years were spent cutting hair at Hair Masters 2000 and she loved her job. But the time finally became right and Zehr took the plunge. In May, she opened Hollywood Hair salon with her good friend and fellow stylist Melissa Hunt and she hasn’t looked back since.
“I’d wanted to open my own salon for the last 10 years but everything fell into place and I finally said, let’s do it. My family was always so supportive. They always had my back and encouraged me to do it.” Zehr said. “It just felt right. We had a good start with our previous clients.”
The influence of Zehr’s father, who was a classic Hollywood buff, is seen throughout the salon as pictures of Humphrey Bogart and other iconic movie stars grace the walls, but the vibe is distinctly modern.
Hunt and Zehr bring an edgy but fun style to the new salon, melding hip Hollywood style with Oakdale charm to create a salon environment that’s fun to just hang out and chat about whatever’s happening in your life or take that plunge to get that daring new haircut you’ve been seeing in the magazines.
Zehr and Hunt, both a little zany, work well together so when Zehr decided to strike out on her own, her natural choice was Hunt to go with her.
“We’ve always worked well together. We’ve always created a good atmosphere. We have fun and there’s a lot of laughs,” Zehr said.
As a new salon, they’re looking to meet new clients and make a good impression. They also want to be accommodating.
“We know life doesn’t keep schedules,” the mother of five said. “We’re willing to come in on a moment’s notice for a hair emergency.”
And there are drinks in the fridge if you’re thirsty, Zehr added.
Since opening, both Zehr and Hunt have been pleased with the results. The freedom of being their own boss, to be free to decorate as they chose, and pick their own hours, was a liberating experience.
But as Zehr soon discovered, being the boss was an eye-opening experience.
“The freedom was crazy but it requires a lot of discipline,” Zehr said. “If you don’t work, you don’t get clients and then you don’t get paid. And everything is really expensive when you start out.”
Minor headaches of salon ownership aside, Zehr’s love of making people feel good has only grown.
“I like the satisfaction of making people feel good,” Zehr said. “I love making people feel like stars. Making people love themselves, especially when they’re going through a lot means a lot to me. We can make such a difference in their lives.”
Hunt, a woman who loves to work with color, admits she’s really good at fixing what others have messed up.
Hunt runs from no hair nightmare; she loves the challenge.
“I love the hands-on, visual experience. It’s different every time,” Hunt said. “My specialty is I can fix a bad cut. And my service is guaranteed. Call me and tell me if you have a problem. I like a lot of feedback. It helps me improve. I always try to find a way to find what the clients enjoy. I can do styles from mild to wild and everything in between.”
Zehr joked, “Between the two of us, there’s nothing we can’t do.”
They’ll also match coupons from Hair Masters and Super Cuts, though they try to keep their prices competitive.
“I want to make an honest living, not get rich,” Zehr said. “I’m trying to accommodate people in this economy. I know sometimes there’s just not a lot of extra left over.”
Also, both Zehr and Hunt are adamant that their clients know how to recreate the look at home so they spend some time teaching, too.
“If you have problems styling the cut, come in, and we’ll show you what to do,” Zehr said.
Hunt agreed, saying, “We actually care about your hair. Making the client feel important, that’s what I focus on. This isn’t a chop shop where we have to get people in and out within 15 minutes. A haircut should take as long as it takes to get it right. Every client is different and that’s the way it should be.”
In November, Hollywood Hair offered the chance to win a basket full of great hair products. They plan to offer a similar giveaway in December so be sure to ask about the drawing.
For more information or to book an appointment with Hollywood Hair salon, call 209-847-1751, located at 1220 E. F Street, Ste. E in Oakdale.