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Concerto Salon gets TV makeover

Posted: April 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Artful touches, such as wallpaper panels and signs, are products of the TV makeover.

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Nik Nejad of Valencia’s Concerto Salon has been giving makeovers to his clients for years. On Labor Day weekend 2010, his salon received a makeover of its own.

Bravo network’s “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover,” hosted by “Shear Genius” contestant and salon owner Tabatha Coffey, came to Concerto at the request of Nejad.

With its multicolored walls, too-high reception desk and stained-marble station countertops, Concerto wasn’t as welcoming as Nejad, who bought the salon in 2009, envisioned.

“Concerto needed an uplift,” Nejad said.

So did business. Since Trader Joe’s, an anchor at the strip mall where Concerto is located, moved to another address more than a year ago, traffic at the salon had slowed considerably.

That was the main motivation for the makeover, according to Nejad.

“The center just got really quiet. We needed to bring in new business. People thought we were closed,” Nejad said. “I’m a fan of the show, so I went to the website and asked Tabatha to help us.”

After the two-day “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” filming and renovation at Concerto, the former dark-and-gloomy space now sports matching bright-white walls, black-and-red accents and brand new chairs and floor mats at all 18 hair stations.

These are touches that not only beautify the salon, but make it more practical to service clients.

“Our clients seem to like the chairs better, and our stations just aesthetically look better,” said stylist Sabina Fetter.

“Before the makeover, everything was brown, darker. Now it’s pretty much all black and white,” said makeup artist Betsy Burrows.

Nejad pointed out the new accents provided by the show, such as burgundy crystal vases on the product shelves, which tie in with the salon’s new color scheme of red, black and white. Rich, vibrant fabric panels contrast nicely against the stark walls, with bits of bling thrown in from art deco-inspired decor.

Less-dramatic touches include black nonskid material placed on top of marble countertops that had been stained from years of holding water glasses and other wet objects, and black rubber mats that boast the Concerto name.

While the show didn’t provide any kind of construction upgrades, such as plumbing or electrical work, the once-imposing reception desk was ripped out and replaced with a more open, customer-friendly area.

“It’s certainly made the receptionist’s life easier; she doesn’t get yelled at for not greeting people anymore,” Burrows said. “She just wasn’t able to see them before.”

Another aspect of “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” is the host providing tips on how the staff can interact better with both its clients and each other.

For a team-building exercise, Nejad and the staff were taken to the Anti-Gravity Sports Complex in Valencia.

“I learned how to be more assertive,” Nejad said.

Throughout the taping, Concerto’s staff was encouraged to act as dramatically as possible, according to Fetter, who was portrayed as the salon’s main villain.

“They told us what they wanted — the worse behavior, the better. People don’t realize, a lot of reality TV is staged. They take an existing storyline and blow it up,” Fetter said.

“We improvised a lot on the spot,” Burrows said.

“Still, the whole thing was fun to shoot,” Fetter said.

When the show aired on Feb. 14, Concerto’s staff and many of its clients watched during a private event held at Kisho Japanese Restaurant in Valencia.

“It was a good party; we had about 50 people,” Nejad said.

After the show, Nejad had the reaction he was hoping for. “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” brought in approximately 12 new clients for Nejad, who also works as a stylist at Umberto Salon in Los Angeles, and 25 overall for the salon.

“It was great exposure for sure, for the media to see us,” Nejad said. “Some people watched it three or four times and said they enjoyed it every time. Other salons have been calling to congratulate us. That’s really cool.”

For Burrows, the show provided an opportunity to reconnect with former clients and long-lost friends.

“People I used to do makeup on came back. Someone I hadn’t talked to in 15 years found me, saying she saw me on the show,” she said.

She’s also making new contacts, mainly people on Facebook who caught her on “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover.”

“It’s been interesting to have strangers from many miles away asking what color makeup I wore on the show,” Burrows said.

Fetter regularly gets recognized, even though she’s 65 pounds lighter than when the show aired.

“It surprises me,” she said. “I went to rent a car and the clerk said, ‘I know you! You were on the Tabatha  show!’”

In addition to traditional salon clients, Concerto’s appearance on “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” has opened up new business opportunities. Recently, the salon acted as a location for an upcoming feature film.

“Television really works,” Nejad said. “Reality TV helps business tremendously.”

Concerto Salon is located at  23340 Cinema Drive, Valencia. Through April 9, Concerto will donate all proceeds from blow dry services to Japanese tsunami/earthquake relief efforts through the American Red Cross. For more information, visit www.concertosalon-spa.com or call (661) 287-3700.

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