The man who opened a store that sells chic furniture and trendy clothes was pretty brilliant. The man who opened a store with chic furniture, trendy clothes and a cutting edge salon was Matthew Izzo.
Since making his debut on the Philadelphia scene in 2001, Izzo has opened a furniture store at 9th and Pine streets in addition to a clothing store at 13th and Sansom streets. His newest store at 11th and Walnut streets, Matthew Izzo Lifestyle, has all the same elements of his other locations, but now with a hair and beauty salon.
“All my stores are actually very similar because they’re all about living in fashion. It’s just another extension,” Izzo said of his new store. “It’s a lifestyle.”
Izzo calls his stores a “modernized department store,” and, upon entering the store, it’s easy to see why with its high ceilings and spacious layout.
His funky furniture and chromatic lighting pop from the white walls and floor. The back is lined with racks of the stylish clothes that make Izzo’s stores so popular. You know you’ve entered the salon when the floor unmistakably turns from white to an eye-popping red glitter. You’ve now entered the “Head Area.”
The sleek and small space is inviting with retro-chic furniture and Philadelphia DJ Erica “The Baraness” Baran’s personally made music mix playing in the background.
Lee Clapson, the creative director of the salon, is one of three stylists who partnered with Izzo to start this new age salon. Formerly of East End Salon in Philadelphia, Clapson co-founded Head Area to take part in a creative vision that differed from any other salon.
“[This salon] is like every aspect of creativity and art,” Clapson said. “We didn’t want generic.”
Clapson believes hair stylists must not only be talented at what they do, but, most importantly, they must be passionate. While observing him work on Sheila, a professional model, it’s apparent that he is quite meticulous with his craft. When Clapson is your stylist, no strand goes unnoticed.
While only three stylists work at the salon, Head Area has been performing remarkably well.
“It is very exclusive,” Izzo said. “There’s been practically no advertising. It’s all been word of mouth.”
Word must travel fast because these stylists are booked. “You should see people line up when Lee [Clapson] has a cancellation,” said Stephen McFalls, one of the other three stylists. “He is like the new Tickle Me Elmo.”
Head Area’s loyal list of clients will help the salon to remain successful while building internally, Clapson said.
“All we are really looking for is people with passion to do hair. We can work with what their hands can do,” Clapson said. “We retain a majority of our clients for years so I don’t have to hire ‘Joe Schmoe’ just to pay the rent.”
The stylists promise a haircut perfect for a client’s hair type. Striving for originality in their work, the last thing they want is to send clients out the door with the same cut and style over and over again.
“Anyone can style hair in five minutes to look great, but it’s all about the cut,” Clapson said. “I always take time with my cuts.”
Caitlin Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.