In 1989, native New Orleanian Kenneth Smith, the owner of bustling Veterans Memorial Boulevard salon Kenneth's Studio for Hair in Metairie, opened an additional location on Robert E. Lee Boulevard. Smith says that even though the salons were only 2 miles apart, it made a difference.
'People in Lakeview didn't want to go to Metairie and vice versa," Smith explains. 'This city is like little villages, and people don't really like to travel to other villages too much. I think it's wonderful because it makes little communities, and that's what makes the city so interesting."
When Smith lost his Lakeview salon to Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters, he and his wife/business partner Mary Beth wanted to contribute to the city's rebuilding efforts. They decided to take on a new territory: Uptown. Smith enlisted the help of architect Byron Mouton to transform a space at the corner of St. Charles and Jackson avenues into a salon that would be both comfortable and contemporary.
Today, with two salons (400 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-5556; 2100 St. Charles Ave., 528-8585) and more than 25 employees " some of them stylists who have been with him for more than three decades " Kenneth's has a reputation for quality haircuts, color services, extensions, manicures, pedicures, facials and waxing.
In addition to offering a new service " a laser application process for natural-looking hair extensions " Smith says his staff is also especially skilled at providing an age-old age-concealing service: covering gray. Kenneth's stylists use foil and weave micro-fine pieces of hair so that the client doesn't leave with a harsh or too-dark look, Smith says. 'Instead, your hair will look like it did 10 years earlier," he explains. 'We use Joico color because it's not opaque. It's more translucent, so it looks more natural. Joico is also great because their reds don't fade."
Although Smith has chosen to stick with one brand for color services, clients will find a variety of hair-care products on the shelves in his salons " Aveda, Paul Mitchell, Joico TIGI and Kenneth's Signature Line.
'We have more [product lines] than most salons, and it's kind of against the trend," says Smith. 'But we like giving people a choice, so we handpick our favorite products from different lines."
His salons also carry Dermalogica skin-care products and Jane Iredale makeup.