Get Award Show Ready at M Squared Salon
“Tell me what it is that you like about your hair,” said Daniel Martinez as we stared at my reflection in an enormous 1950s-styled mirror.
Martinez and business partner Chris Megia are the owners of M Squared, the latest addition to West Hollywood’s Salon Republic. With locations in Studio City and Beverly Hills (as well as Colorado and Texas), Salon Republic provides a state of the art facility that offers a variety of private service studios housed in its 16,000 square feet. Each studio comes equipped with a sink, lighting, and four bare walls. The studio owners pick up the decorating from there.
The decor of M Squared blends elegant retro style with sleek modern design. Upon entering the space, a client is greeted by soft, high-backed, armless chairs. The intimate, neutrally-colored room is lined with black over head cabinets, keeping the work space uncluttered and open. One circular window breaks through a wall covered with an oddly soothing three-dimensional diamond-shaped pattern. Megia offers a cup of coffee as she explains that a story board helped them customize their space.
"The process was the most exiting thing," said Megia. "We had never designed a studio before."
Megia, a twenty-two year veteran in the industry, met Martinez fourteen years ago when she became his teacher at the Vidal Sassoon Academy. Seven companies and many experiences later, Megia and Martinez discovered the time had come to explore their own vision of what a client’s experience should be.
"We are focused on the client mentality in providing a comfortable, intimate experience," said Megia. "We want the experience to be personable," added Martinez. "One on one attention creates a whole different climate. I enjoy it more."
It’s refreshing and upbeat to begin a new hairstyle by describing what you like about your hair instead of what you want to change. Martinez spends a few moments reviewing the state of my locks before discussing his vision of the cut that will enhance my favorite feature: bouncy curls.
Russell, a part-time M Squared employee who Megia and Martinez are mentoring, gently washes my hair and massages my scalp. Martinez then illustrates how he will be approaching the cut and defining the curls.
While he works, we discuss the relationships clients often develop with their stylists. People often feel comfortable sharing insights into their personal lives: problems at work, dynamics between friends, successes and failures. Both Megia and Martinez want to foster these relationships and have found ways to expand on them beyond their regular salon hours. They’ve begun working with a local women’s shelter, providing haircuts and confidence to those women re-entering the work force after various traumatic experiences. Megia and Martinez have also enrolled into the Masters program of Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica, a program that is offering them insights into ways they can combine their practice as stylists with the ability to help people explore new possibilities in life.
“We encourage individual transformation through beauty and inner explorations,” said Martinez. “As people share, we practice the art of listening. We’d like to devote more time with the women at the shelter, and ask questions to help them explore what is possible.”
While styling my hair, Martinez shares hints and suggestions that enable me to maximize the style on my own. Together we survey his creation, looking at the shape, the bounce, and the curls. My hair looks great, and I feel great. As I head out the door eager to show off my new look I realize that Megia was on the right track when she said:
“We want the client to really notice a sense of self awareness of their beauty coming from the inside out.”
M Squared is salon # 18 at Salon Rebulic, 8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood