January 2009

Seattle’s Stylus Salon Hits the Mark at Every Level

By Mandy Zelinka

Stylus Salon in Seattle
Stylus Salon in Seattle

Nothing gets my juices flowing more than walking into a salon that looks like the owner designed it with a purpose.

The sheer beauty of the space at Stylus Salon took me aback. Although the first thing I noticed was the Ikea furniture, the owners have taken the initiative to tweak the furniture for functional salon needs, which adds to its impressiveness. The reason I need to point this out is that a salon of this caliber could possibly be intimidating to potential clients, and on the other side, the overusage of such a commercially distributed furniture line could decrease the perceived value of an establishment.

This is not the case at Stylus Salon in the Belltown district of Seattle. The people greet you with smiles wrapped in style. Stylus has managed to hit the mark at every level: The staff is stylish and welcoming, which is a very hard balance to find in this industry. It is remarkable that the space manages to be quite breathtakingly beautiful yet approachable. I want to live here.

It delights me when business owners integrate their quirks into their livelihood. There is something personal about it that adds to the flavor and feel. Along that line, Robert Middleton, one of the co-owners, explained the unique feel of the styling chairs by saying, “I am a big Star Trek fan.”

Stylus Salon came out of 19 years of watching everyone else do it, and knowing someone could do it better. Middleton agreed that although it certainly isn’t a cakewalk to be successful, it seems that a little common sense can get you a long way. “You have to use common sense and learn from everybody, and pick things up along the way.”

One of the exciting features is the three tiers of light settings, which include a special setting for parties, and the four skylights that add the usually missing element of natural light.

The salon hosts an art show every two months, as they have rotating art, and can clear the stations so as not to be in the way. The coffee bar can quickly transform into a bar for such occasions.

If this doesn’t seem to impress you, walking down into the spa area most certainly will – maybe not as much from the perspective of a client, but as an owner the little nuances they have added are genius. The scent is wonderful, and they change it four times a year according to season.

Each treatment room has a clouded window, where the operator lights a certain candle to define the service, and for the use of the client she has inside. In the room that includes the greatest shower ever invented, a client will blow out a candle to let the operator know she is done with her shower and ready for her treatment. This saves the irritating knocking that sometimes happens when a client is trying to decompress.

The shower in the last room has the usual bells and whistles, complete with all sorts of settings and such. Now for the add-ons: it is complete with a waterproof remote control, booming radio, can be hooked to your cell phone and even has an alarm in case of a water emergency. This thing is also self-cleaning. I want one for my home.

“All clients get a ride in the machine,” Spa director May Ling, voted best brow in Seattle 2007 by Seattle Magazine, said. A client can use the shower after a massage in the morning when she would like to free herself of oils before heading to work. Towards the latter part of the day, a client is more than welcome to shower before a massage, to be able to really clean off and be able to decompress from her workday and get the most from the service.

Ling’s personal treatment room is spacious enough to accommodate four operators for one client, to make the most of a busy client’s time.

These owners are so chock full of common sense they didn’t even require an architect. I find that to be the most impressive icing on the cake. For more information, visit www.stylusseattle.net or 2321 2nd Ave Seattle, Wash. 98121.