Salon Design Makes for Success

Oakland Salon Owner Shares Her Design Must Have Elements for Salon Success

What makes a successful salon and the definition of success is very different for each salon owner. For Eryn Harrison, owner of Calm, A Salon located in Oakland, Calif., it is the desire to give her clients the best treatment and experience, as well as provide her stylists the best opportunity to be successful, both professionally and financially.

Harrison opened Calm, A Salon in 2005, an 800 sq. ft basement shop that allowed her a manageable space; an excellent location for her clientele and to draw new customers; and financially doable without over extending herself while learning the "ropes of ownership".

As growth of her salon necessitated, going from two employees to 13, Harrison moved her business to a 1700 sq. ft. location in the same neighborhood designing it from the ground up. As much as a larger shop and more employees would create more profits, what Harrison recognized was that the design, ambiance and flow of the salon were key in order to fulfill her vision of success.

"I wanted the salon to operate and function to support and allow our success and not set any boundaries or limitations", explains Harrison. "Part of the growth was to enable me to offer on-going education, hold workshops and host events to support my community," she adds. In order to do this Harrison created her "must-haves" when she began designing the new salon. She knew after operating the first shop, what worked, what she wanted and how the importance of design would lead to success for everyone.


The entrance sets the tone for your client's experience. It is essential to have an area where clients can be properly welcomed and comfortable place to wait, if necessary. This area is also important when "checking out" clients so that payment is easy, not crowded and offers some privacy. Though a counter is not necessary it offers the office manager his/her own space to conduct business, just like stylists have their own station.


Stylists stand all day. The floors have to be easy on their legs and backs if they are going to do their best work. Prior to laying the floors, Harrison installed the most cushioned, absorbent material under the hardwood floors. This benefits her employees while working as well as absorbs sound from clacking heels to dropped items to salon chatter.


Natural lighting is a gift to a stylist. Harrison invested in window coverings that would not darken the salon but would protect the clients and retail products from over exposure. The lighting is an excellent work environment and adds to the overall ambiance of the salon.

Stylist Stations

Privacy is important when serving a client without being "boxed-in". Harrison wanted to ensure some intimacy yet maintain an open concept, maximize the use of space and maintain the flow of the salon. The stations are positioned at strategic angles offering the necessary privacy and giving the stylist space to work comfortably without infringing on common areas or other stylist's work spaces. She uses the above open space suspending the blow dryers from the high ceiling. The stylist reaches up and pulls down causing less strain and arm fatigue and utilizing space that doesn't conflict with anything else. The dryers are always accessible and it allows counter and drawer space for other items.

Powder Room

A luxurious bathroom is a statement and just like in the restaurant industry, is critical in retaining clients. Harrison focused much time in the design, lighting and types of materials used to insure that the powder room was a continued reflection of her brand. "Women are particular about the powder room. As well as being functional, it feels spa-like in the décor and coloring and is an extension of their pampering", says Harrison.


Selling product is necessary to the bottom line of a salon. When walking through Calm, A Salon no matter where you look there is a visible, tasteful display of products that is accessible to the customer. Harrison even created a "floating wall" that kept the open concept yet allowed some separation from the guest seating and service area and is a display. "If they can't see it or feel it chances are they are not going to buy it," she adds with a smile.

Calm, A Salon Receives Best of Oakland Award 2014

Calm, A Salon has won the 2014 Best of Oakland Award by the Oakland Award Program, being honored for the second year in a row in the hair salon category.

The Oakland Award Program annually honors the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown outstanding practices in their category and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

"With our 9th anniversary of opening the salon in conjunction with our one year at the new location in August, this award affirms our efforts and goals in giving what we feel our clients deserve – a great experience," remarks Calm, A Salon owner Eryn Harrison.

Calm, A Salon has been identified by the award program as a business that has achieved exceptional success in their local community and business category. The salon enhances the positive image of small business and raises the image of Oakland as a business-friendly community. Winners are chosen based on the information gathered both internally by the Oakland Award Program and data provided by third parties.

As a stylist for 17 years, Harrison is proud of the success of her new location that will celebrate its first year anniversary in August. "In order for me to grow as a professional stylist and as a business, my employees need to as well. I feel it is my responsibility and one of my greatest pleasures as an owner to make sure they have the greatest potential by creating an environment that allows for optimal success.

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