By  on February 13, 2009

Hairstylists Matthew Preece and Kristoff Ball are living many employees’ dream — they have returned to a place where they toiled for years and taken over.

That place, Fred Segal Beauty, has been transformed into Preece & Toff Salon and Spa at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif. Its new co-owners, whose shared résumés list Chris McMillan For Art Mix the Salon, Giuseppe Franco Salon, Art Luna Salon and Privé, as well as a joint stretch at Fred Segal Beauty, aspire to restore the venue to its previous glory and develop it to be among the elite L.A.-area salons.

“We are basically bringing Beverly Hills to here, and the standard of work is super high,” said Preece. “We are trying to build Preece & Toff and make it a big, big brand and get as many locations as we can. Instead of starting with a small salon and then coming into Fred Segal with the flagship, we are starting with the flagship.”

The salon’s look reflects Preece’s and Ball’s interest in music — they’ve been in their share of bands — and spirituality. The open, contemporary space, with contrasting dark wood floors and white walls, is decorated with a large Buddha, leafy plants, prints from Shepard Fairey’s Roxy Music series, Jackie Stanton’s artistic ode to The Clash’s “London Calling,” and soon a work by graffiti artist Nick Walker.

Preece & Toff currently has 14 chairs, but the number could increase to 20 as the stylist ranks fill up. Preece estimated that the salon would generate $1.7 million in revenues by the end of this year, a pace that would make it profitable after around six months in business. Once it is fully staffed, he projected Preece & Toff will hit $3.5 million to $4 million in revenues annually with a single location. Future locations could be on the slate two to five years from now, and a product line is also in the plans.

The anticipated revenues won’t put Preece and Ball into the earnings territory of their clients, who include life coach Tony Robbins, infomercial pioneer Greg Renker, and singers and actresses Gwen Stefani, Ashley Tisdale, Pink and Paris Hilton. Still, the prices for Preece’s and Ball’s cuts and highlights — $200 and $250-plus, respectively — are nothing to sneeze at, although they both insist money doesn’t fuel their drive to grow Preece & Toff. Simply put, Ball emphasized he wants to be recognized for “happy, pretty people” exiting the salon and spa after their services.

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