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Joel Warren Creates the Salon of the Future

September 25, 2018

Joel Warren is arguably one of the best-known colorists in the country. For decades the Warren-Tricomi Salon in Manhattan attracted a clientele that included A-list celebrities, rock stars and fashionistas drawn to the salon’s cutting-edge aesthetic. When two surgeries sparked a reevaluation of his life choices, Warren began contemplating his next move, which ultimately included dissolving his partnership with Edward Tricomi and embarking on something new. What he came up with was The Salon Project by Joel Warren, a unique concept in beauty, retail and services that he calls a “bespoke experience.”

Determined to completely reinvent the traditional salon experience, he’ll open 14 locations—he calls them the “salons of the future”—within the confines of Saks Fifth Avenue stores around the country. No longer working behind the chair, Warren has thrown himself into the project, overseeing every aspect of salon design in the three locations that are already up and running—one in Miami, one on Long Island, NY, and one in the financial district in Manhattan. A fourth location in Boca Raton, Florida, will open soon. He’s also on track to reopen the salon in Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City by the summer of 2019.

Warren collaborated with Bruce Teitelbaum, CEO of RPG, a leader in the design and manufacture of competitively priced retail displays, store fixtures, point-of-purchase displays and retail environments. For a long time he stalled when asked to come up with a name for the salons he planned to renovate.

Warren picks up the story. “So RPG sent me a folder with the words THE SALON PROJECT BY JOEL WARREN on the front. I called and told them I loved the name, and they said, ‘What name?’ It turned out that someone had just written THE SALON PROJECT BY JOEL WARREN on the folder because they didn’t know what else to put there, but I loved it.”

Technology is also a passion for Warren. Partnering with SureTint and installing their new LaRu software in his salon was a no-brainer for Warren, who is all about how technology can help your business operate more efficiently. “We have iPads at every station in order to customize the experience for our guests, who can have all of their services in one chair with retail products showcased to them while they’re having their hair or nails done.”

“The truth is, you’ve got to tighten things up to stay profitable today. The concept of hiring a salon manager and front desk help is old-school so we eliminated the front desk completely. A hostess greets guests when they come in, and when they’re done, their bill is right there in front of them on the iPad so they can settle up without waiting at the front desk where someone is trying to collect your money, answer the phone and ring up products at the same time. It’s all about making the experience more enjoyable and less of a chore for our guests.”

Warren calls SureTint a “perfect fit” with his business model. Take LaRu by SureTint Technology, for example. The app was designed to provide the most innovative software solutions for beauty professionals by providing tools to manage and measurably grow their business, including precise color and batch sizing, inventory management and reporting, and precise, repeatable results that save money and reduce waste.

“In order to be a colorist, you need to know how to adjust each formula to make it lighter or darker. If you don’t have the information you need, you’re just guessing every time the client comes in,” Warren says. “LaRu increases your accuracy, but I also like the fact that at the end of the week we can look at how much product we used, order off that information and analyze our price per head and keep it within a range than helps us become more profitable.”

Before he became a colorist, Warren toyed with the idea of becoming a chef, and it’s no stretch for him to see how both professions depend on recipes that can be recreated with predictable results. By capturing and recording formulas for each client, LaRu offers colorists the ability to do just that.

“The future of our business is technology,” he says. “It’s the key that lets us provide a better experience for our guests and makes it easier to operate a successful business.” Without it, his concept of a curated assortment of hair care, skin care, nail care and makeup might never have gotten off the ground.

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