Spoke & Weal salon's cult following and swift expansion across the country testify to the effectiveness of of co-founder Jon Reyman's dry-cutting technique. So is his ability to somehow style my unruly mass of mane into something manageable. The man works miracles. Working to evolve the salon industry's traditional methodology of cutting hair while wet, Reyman and team are going against the grain and cutting hair while dry, as it falls. Which he feels is just a more logical, evolved way of cutting. Spoke & Weal cuts often take less than 45 minutes and Reyman is upfront about how he trains his team not to act as a client's therapist, but to give them 'the best haircut of their life.' Which, as I sort of mentioned above, is the truth. I had a chance to connect with him, while he chopped into my previously untamable locks, about his approach, the current expansion into new markets and how they've grown such a dedicated clientele. Read on for our discussion, below.
You started Spoke & Weal in San Francisco. Who is your clientele there, and why that city to start?
San Francisco was a good jumping-off point. We opened fresh without any roots or name in a city that none of us lived in. Christy Dylo, our master stylist and trainer, moved from Minneapolis on faith that we could do what I said we could. This happened pretty quickly. We did not, and have not, done "studies" or SWAT analysis. Its been more a Field of Dreams situation: if we build it, they will come.
I first heard about Spoke + Weal through a few influencer friends in the wellness space. What is it about the brand that is attracting so many beauty and wellness influencers, especially in Los Angeles? How does this ‘insider favorite’ status take form in other markets?
We don't “go after people” we let our work speak for itself. We want guests who genuinely want to see us and appreciate our work. I think our relaxed relationships (meaning no formal trade or sponsorships), but definitely appreciating the support influencers and social media provides for spreading our work and the word, helps create more intimate relationships with all our guests and especially those who have established themselves as influencers. We work hard to make it easy for people.
We are also not celebrity-driven. We just want to do excellent work for people who want it. We always want to understand our success and exposure comes from our talent and drive and not from a once-removed resource. Our attitude is try us, if you love us great, if you love another place better, great, we want you to be happy.
We are the go-to for people who are looking for alternatives in every market we are in.
Tell us about your dry cutting technique? Why haven’t other salons been doing this? Is this part of why you think you’ve been able to so successfully enter other markets
We believe wet haircutting is antiquated and inferior. I can spend fifteen minutes cutting hair dry and it will be better than a four hour wet haircut. Better meaning, the length and density of hair is managed more carefully, clearly and refined. Hair will be softer and more modern looking.
Wet cutting is the least important part of the haircut. It’s the gross-moves part. The initial chopping of the block. The actual refinement and definition takes place in the dry cutting.
Other salons have been trained under older methods. They are stuck in the past cutting small sections and blunt lines. They cut length to manage density (enter heavy layers). Cutting dry we can cut blunt lines, layers, manage length and density more perfectly.
Yes, we are successful because we give better haircuts in less time. Our haircuts “grow in” not out, they last longer. We have created a language that is simple, that helps us deliver what our guests are asking for. We are driven by giving guests the best haircuts in the world.
You started Spoke + Weal after working for years as a master trainer at Aveda. How have you woven clean beauty into your own brand and how are you still working with Aveda products?
We use Aveda in our salons. We want natural eco-concious products that still deliver the results we are looking for. We want performance, results, and environmental awareness to be embedded in our services.
As the ‘talent’ how have you so successfully been able to map out this beautiful growth strategy? Did you find and MBA to help you on a consulting basis, or take on a co-founder who has grown brands in the past?
I do not want to be the most important person in the room. The business is not built on my success but built on the success of the team and our ability to collaborate. We have created clear cutting, color, styling, and culture systems. We stay flexible and strong. I surround myself with people who are capable. My business partners compliment me, and one another, perfectly. Our master team members and educators, Dell Miller, Lindsay Victoria, Jay Braff to name a few have contributed in ways we would have a hard time quantifying. Building Spoke & Weal has always and will continue to depend on the entire teams commitment and sacrifice.
Does technique remain the same, regardless of place, or are your stylists taking different approaches in places like Los Angeles and Nashville, or New York and Chicago?
Everyone is trained on and required to master our techniques. How they use these is up to their individual creative process and consultation. Our pro’s have brands within our brand. We believe the diversity of what we offer, and our collaborative culture, makes us collectively the technically-strongest salon in the world. We are enormously committed to culture. We fail forward. We are constantly striving to challenge ourselves and each other. We communicate clearly and invest heavily in protecting and cultivating our culture. This is what our company retreats and monthly meetings are about. In our organization, culture is everything. Hence our mission.
For those without a Spoke + weal in their city yet, how do you advise customers ensure their stylists are taking the best care of their hair and giving them the best cut possible?
I would ask if the hairdresser is able to cut dry. Find a hairdresser that has committed to continued education. Communicate clearly and bring in pictures. We hope to be in your city soon!