In the early 1980s, Joy Silverstein and a business partner opened up the Fresh Hair salon on South Street. Thirty-five years later, the business is still going strong and Silverstein will be hosting an anniversary block party tomorrow, July 29, to celebrate. The Gazette conducted a question-and-answer session through email with Silverstein to discuss the anniversary and the history of Fresh Hair. (The session has been edited.)
Q.: When and how did Fresh Hair come about?
A.: In 1982 I was working on Newbury Street with Marie Doucette. We had realized that we both wanted to open a salon and we had many of the same ideas: to stay with natural ingredient products, to be neighborhood oriented, and to be comfortable and really enjoy our work. So we decided to go into partnership and we rented a storefront. After working with friends and a few hired professionals, we opened on July 15, 1982.
Q.: How has your business, and the industry in general, changed over the 35 years?
A.: Marie was my business partner until 1998 when she moved out of state and I became sole owner. The salon expanded from just hair services to include skin care, nail care, and cosmetics. A retail area was added, and then spray tanning. The industry in general has evolved to mainstream a more ‘green’ approach, and hairstyles, well, they just keep on changing.
Q.: How has the neighborhood and your clientele changed during that time?
Q.: The neighborhood (lower South Street) was sketchy when we first opened. Now there are expensive condos and renovated houses everywhere. Our clientele has always been about 60 percent from JP, and we have always been family oriented, servicing women, men, and children.
Q.: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a business owner and how have you overcome them?
A.: The day-to-day challenges are usual, regular, and predictable: have a great team of co-workers, and bring in more money than is spent. As a long-time business owner, I have been challenged by former staff opening their own salons nearby. However, I have persevered, stuck to my original vision (natural care in a comfortable atmosphere) and been rewarded by being respected in the community.
Q.: What are your favorite hair styles from the past 35 years?
A.: Haha! Too many: the shag, big loopy curls, smooth long layers, pixie cuts, asymmetrical cuts, full bangs…
Q.: What are your thoughts on “the mullet”?
A.: I heard that it’s coming back in Europe!
Q.: Tell us a little about the anniversary party you are having.
A.: On Saturday July 29 from 4 to 7 p.m., there will live music playing from the roof of Fresh Hair. A couple of my staff people will be like party facilitators getting people in the tennis court area and the South Street Mall to dance. JP Licks is donating ice-cream. Ferris Wheels will be demonstrating some bicycle riding tricks. There will be a face painter and activities for kids.
This is the fifth time we have done this. There is no rain date because if necessary, the party will go inside the salon!
Q.: Anything else you would like to add?
A.: Please join us!
Please look on the About/History page of my website freshair.com. I wrote that 5 years ago when Fresh Hair turned 30 and already some businesses that I mention have changed.