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John Barrett, the owner and creative director of Bergdorf Goodman’s penthouse-level John Barrett Salon, is building his brand beginning with a 3,000- square-foot location on Bond Street in New York.
This story first appeared in the April 11, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’ve had the salon at Bergdorf Goodman for 17 years, and since I’ve been here I’ve been approached by various partners to do other projects and I’ve never really felt comfortable because of the integrity of the John Barrett salon,” said Barrett, who was born in Ireland and has worked as a hairstylist since the Eighties. “We are very customer driven, driven on the quality and comfort and the edginess of the work.”
Slated to open in October, the new space was completed in partnership with Jim Hedges, chief executive officer of John Barrett Holdings, which was established in January. Hedges is also managing partner of HD Partners.
“I was always struck by the client experience and the way in which the organization is so beautifully run.…This ballet of service, and this volume of people who get this unique luxury [experience],” said Hedges. “I thought there was a great opportunity to expand his brand beyond the Bergdorf community.”
The salon, which will have 20 chairs including VIP treatment areas, could generate what industry sources estimate to be $6 million worth of business in the first year. The average service costs $300.
“It makes a lot of sense for us to be downtown in SoHo,” said Hedges. “It’s a hot neighborhood, very affluent, one where we know we have lots of customers [who] will be happy to travel five minutes instead of 30.”
After the SoHo salon, a third New York City location will open within the year, followed by Palm Beach, Fla., in November. In 2016, plans call for outposts in Washington, D.C., Dallas and Las Vegas. Hedges said he estimates hiring about 400 employees to man the salons over the next few years.
“We are going places where we know we have strong existing customer relationships, places where we will be the lead dog in a community,” said Hedges. “I felt like I stumbled across the Tiffany & Co. of hair care, because there was only one store and an opportunity for an investor to propel the business.”
In addition to the new salons, the John Barrett product line, currently made up of seven products, will be expanded, to about 15, as will the collection’s distribution.
“The whole Barrett experience is about integrity. There is nothing too showy about it,” said Hedges. “Each part of the growth has to be gradual and thought through.”
Barrett said the Bergdorf salon, which services about 60,000 people a year, will remain in operations as is.
“Bergdorf’s was my beginning and it is an incredibly important part of my strategy and growth. This is my jewel. It will stay that way,” said Barrett, who counts among his clients Katie Holmes and Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Our respect of your experience is paramount. I’ve known many businesses that when they grow they begin to lose that so my aim is that as we grow the integrity stays.”