As a Seattle native and a girl who has been to her fair share of salons around the city–I wanted to chat with Antonio from Antonio Salon to get a pulse on what the hair scene is really like in my home state of Washington.
Located on 113 Virginia St. just one block up from the infamous Pike Place Market resides, what used to be, an old food supply warehouse for sailors from the early 1900s. That later transformed into the chic Antonio Salon as it is known as today. As I sit down in the waiting area on a long green velvet couch; Antonio–wearing a casually colorful flannel and sneakers–shares his story with me.
Where are you from?
I was born in Italy, but grew up in Cambridge, England.
Did you always know you wanted to work in the hair industry?
No. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew I wanted to work with my hands, so I thought about carpentry. I had family and cousins who were hairdressers though, so it was either that or carpentry.
What kind of schooling did you go through?
When I was 16 years old I had an apprenticeship with Raymond Bessone aka Mr. Teasy Weasy. He was a famous British hairdresser back in the day who had also trained Vidal Sassoon who, if you don’t know, is another well known hairstylist. After that, I opened and ran my own salon in Britain for about 15 years.
What lead you to move to Seattle?
I had visited Seattle once before when I was younger because of my mother’s job and then eventually moved over there and worked at a different salon for a few years. I fell in love with Pike Place [Market] and I knew I wanted to open my own salon in that area.
What makes your salon different?
I wanted to create a more trusted connection between the client and the stylist. A big pet peeve of mine is when a stylists asks “so what are we doing today?” and they don’t communicate with their client that what they asked for might not actually work for them and just go about cutting their hair. I believe a stylist should always provide their input on what would work best for a client. It’s all dependant on the individual’s hair type, face shape, skin tone, and personal lifestyle and we always take that into consideration when a client comes in asking for something specific. We try and give the best feedback and recommendations based on those criteria and that is something that can be overlooked at times at other salons.
Do you ever see any competition with other salons in Seattle?
No, not really. I don’t really look at other salons as competition and I don’t think they do either. I’m just always looking to find ways to improve my own salon in whatever way I can.
In what ways are you trying to improve your salon?
Sustainability is very important to me and the same with a lot of people here in Seattle. Here at the salon we are about 90 percent recyclable; from our goodie bags we give out, the waste that we produce that gets recycled, to the products we use in the salon. There’s a lot of ways other salons can implement sustainability and I’d really like to see that more.
If there was one piece of advice you wish people would follow, what would it be?
The importance of using the right products and tools for your hair. It’s just like skincare. If you have really sensitive skin, you probably wouldn’t use something super heavy or strong that could irritate it. It’s the same with your hair. If you have fine hair, you probably shouldn’t be setting your hot tools to 400 degrees like someone with thick, dense hair would.