Brush — New York City
After more than a decade of experience in the hair industry, stylist Brandon Shin and colorist Michelle Hong decided to team up and open their own salon. Named after the French word for “blow dry,” their salon, Brush, is located in the Flatiron neighborhood (suiting) of New York City.
With Shin’s background as a top senior stylist at the 5th Avenue Frederic Fekkai Salon, his work with some of the biggest names in fashion and entertainment (Valentino, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, DVF, Rag and Bone, Missoni, and The Oprah Show—no big deal), and his impressive collection of Vogue editorials, it’s no surprise that Brush is constantly being sought out by high profile clients such as Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr, and Anne Hathaway. But to Shin, who knew he wanted to be a hairstylist at just 14-years-old, name and status isn’t everything.
“I treat all my clients like high profile clients,” Shin said. “Styling hair has brought my art to life. I have been able to create looks I felt best suited each client.”
Specializing in the Balayage technique, Hong is one of NYC’s highly regarded colorists. The former top senior colorist at the 5th Avenue Frederic Fekkai Salon has an elite clientele that includes Sigourney Weaver, Kelly Rowland, Bon Jovi, and the Princess of Rome, Georgina Chapman. She has also worked with modeling agencies such as Ford, Elite, Wilhelmina, and Next.
Read the full interview to learn more about Brandon Shin, Michelle Hong and Blush.
BANGSTYLE: What made you want to open your own salon?
Brandon Shin & Michelle Hong: To create an environment with good energy so that artistic stylists and colorists can pursue their creativity in creating a personalized experience and style.
BANGSTYLE: How did you decide on the name “Brush?”
BS & MH: We happen to work with a lot of French people, and in French, the word for blow dry is “brush.” We decided to go with that!
BANGSTYLE: What was the opening process like?
BS & MH: It was a long journey, but we were never stressed. Each moment we accomplished something such as picking the space, signing the lease, and choosing the chairs. It was very exciting.
BANGSTYLE: If you could change one thing about your salon, what would it be?
BS & MH: Nothing.
BANGSTYLE: What constitutes a good working team?
BS & MH: A team with great personalities and great energy. With our team, we feel that everyone brings something to the salon. We care for each other and make sure we have one another’s backs. Being a part of a team also brings responsibility; each individual must do their part.
BANGSTYLE: What do you look for in an employee?
BS & MH: We want our team to be full of energy and eager to learn— to be individuals who truly want to be at the salon, who are creative and artistic, and who we can really rely on.
BS & MH: We work as a team, and being a part of a team, we have to trust each other. Our team doesn’t just work together; we work off of each other, taking ideas, tips, and constructive criticism. Our biweekly meetings help bring all of that together. This builds a web of relationships between all of us that really works.
BANGSTYLE: What’s your number one business “no-no?”
BS & MH: People who aren’t responsible and can’t be on time!
BANGSTYLE: What do you think your salon is best known for?
BS & MH: With years of training from Frederic Fekkai, we’ve grown to acquire the ability to create a style for each client that works with both their lifestyle and personality. Our clients know us best for that special look that we are able to create just for them.
BANGSTYLE: How did you decide on the décor?
BS & MH: Having lived in Manhattan for a long time, we know that black and white is a true classic and clean-cut representation of the city itself.
BANGSTYLE: What do you think Brush’s biggest strength is?
BS & MH: Our ability to customize a look for each client. Our cuts and colors are different for each person based on who they are.
BANGSTYLE: What’s the craziest think that’s happened in your salon?
BS & MH: During our grand opening party which we assumed about sixty people were attending, word spread and the block became filled with New Yorkers eager to see what was going on. What started out as our grand opening ended up being a 19th Street block party!
BANGSTYLE: What do you do to promote your salon and generate new business?
BS & MH: Our work is our promotion. When clients leave the salon, their new hairstyle draws attention and encourages people to ask the question, “Where did you get your hair done?”
BANGSTYLE: Who would be your ideal client?
BS & MH: A person who comes in, pays $200 for a haircut, and leaves the job up to us—no limits to our creativity.
BANGSTYLE: If you could open a salon anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
BS & MH: Paris.
BANGSTYLE: What are the hottest hair trends right now?
BS & MH: The beachy hair look is really in. Women want movement and body—relaxed looks that are sexy and carefree or wavy looks with sun-kissed color.
BANGSTYLE: What hair trends do you see on the horizon?
BS & MH: A more unisex look: women with shorter hair and men with longer hair.
BANGSTYLE: What trends have come and gone and shouldn’t be revisited?
BS & MH: A trend that was around for a while was the “posh” hair cut. Victoria Beckham sported it for a while, short in the back and angled longer in the front. That one should not be revisited; it’s an old Midwestern look! Not very “posh.”
BANGSTYLE: What about your salon are you most proud of?
BS & MH: Our amazing teamwork.
BANGSTYLE: Any words to live by—hair mottos?
BS & MH: ”You’ll regret the things in life that you didn’t do more than the ones you did do,” a rendition of a Mark Twain quote.
BANGSTYLE: What are your goals and/or future plans for Brush salon?
BS & MH: We would love to make “Brush” a brand name, creating a world of “Brush.”