DALLAS — For 10 years, Frédéric Fekkai has been coming to this hub of the Lone Star State to promote his hair care products at Neiman Marcus. Now he has a place of his own.
Fekkai's sixth salon in the U.S. opens Monday at Highland Park Village, the open-air luxury shopping center surrounded by exceptionally wealthy neighborhoods.
"Dallas has always been a city that I liked," Fekkai said during a phone interview. "The opportunity came up when Highland Park Village announced that they would have a great location for us. Dallas has a great customer base for Fekkai. Our products sell very well, and Neiman Marcus has always been a strong supporter."
Fekkai will be in town for the salon's opening next week.
With dark walnut woods, cream and lavender walls and chocolate-brown leather chairs, the 2,400-square-foot salon has the same look as the unit that opened on Melrose Place in Los Angeles in September. But it's a bit bigger, allowing space for waxing services, a sitting area and a cloakroom.
It's situated on the second level of the center, near HPV management offices, with windows that overlook the center's Spanish architecture and stores such as Jimmy Choo.
"It's a nice little size that is charming and suited to the customer," Fekkai said. "I'm told by my team that Dallas will be the prettiest salon we've ever had."
The format will be repeated at the Greenwich, Conn., salon opening this spring, as well as the salon at The Mark Hotel in New York late next year. Fekkai is scouting locations in Houston, San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz.
"They're markets we are pursuing," said Fekkai, who envisions a total of 15 to 20 salons. "If there is an opportunity that arises in London, I would look into it. Moscow is another one."
Fekkai already has Dallas clients who visit his salons in New York; Palm Beach, Fla., and Los Angeles, including nearly 300 loyal customers who go to the Fifth Avenue flagship at Henri Bendel alone, noted Kimberly Callet, vice president of salons.
"I've got a great feeling for Dallas," Fekkai said. "There are a lot of clients there who are very sophisticated, fun and very aware of fashion, very much in synch with Fekkai."For the salon opening party Fekkai enlisted two mother-daughter social powerhouses to help script a list of 100 guests for the lavender martini event: Myrna and Kari Schlegel and Jan and Elizabeth Showers.
Fekkai himself did six haircuts at $750 a pop that afternoon, and all proceeds are earmarked for the Elissa Project, a local charity that raises awareness about eating disorders. In addition, Fekkai also is giving 20 percent of sales through Dec. 17 to the charity.
There is no dearth of talent to staff the growing chain, Fekkai said.
"If you stay with 15 to 20 salons, you can control the quality," he said. "I don't have much choice. We generate a lot of talent in the salons, and if you don't offer those people the opportunity to grow in the business, we will lose them."
Brian Keller, a popular colorist who was with Fekkai in Palm Beach, will manage the Dallas salon as creative director. Of the 12 staff members here, half have Fekkai experience, Callet said. The salon has 15 styling chairs.
Business is booming, and revenue will be about $100 million this year company-wide, including salon and product sales, Fekkai said, though he declined to project sales for next year.
"We are lucky to be in luxury products, and we are benefiting from the great growth that they have seen in the last two years," Fekkai said. "We are growing double digits every year. Let's not forget that we are a brand, the only luxury brand in hair today that is national."
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