By Emily J Weitz
Barber shops and beauty parlors have historically been the kinds of businesses that invite people to come in and kick around the news of the day. They’re gathering places. But as life gets fancier and fancier, these places seem to become less intimate and more individualized. As Annie Kim celebrates the opening of her new salon, Scarlett Rose, she hopes to bring that relaxed sentiment back.
“There wasn’t a cute little place for local people,” she says. “This is a place where you can get your hair and nails done, relax, and hang out. We have a great porch, where we want people to sit and have a cup of coffee, to just be part of the community.”
To that end, Kim intends to offer special rates for local firefighters, police officers and teachers.
“I want to offer programs that benefit people who are coming here year-round,” she says. “I feel like it’s all about local people in the Sag Harbor community. I love Sag Harbor, and want to contribute to the community.”
Kim previously worked at two other Sag Harbor salons, and she felt that there was a sharp divide among what clients could get.
“There are places that are so high end,” she says. “But when the prices went up, my clients complained, and they couldn’t afford it. So they’d go to Bridgehampton for a quick nail service. I want them to have both: to relax and get better service, but keep it more affordable.”
Kim is originally from South Korea, and she came to the States eight years ago to work with her aunt on the North Fork. She was in the beauty business, and Kim was encouraged to go to school to learn the finer points. She started out doing everything from waxing to pedicures, but she felt drawn to hair cutting.
“It always happens without a plan,” she says. “I was learning cosmetology, and I really feel like I found my true calling doing hair… Professionally, when people come in, just looking at their face I can see their whole story about their hair.”
But it’s more than that, she says.
“It’s a special relationship with hairdressers and clients,” she said. “There are always stories, they tell me and I tell them. They each have their own story.”
Kim’s story is that while she was studying cosmetology, she was also studying English at Southampton College. It was there she met her husband, from Ecuador. He’s a carpenter, and finished the entire front of her new salon. Her uncle has been instrumental in getting her started, and the salon takes its name from her two-year-old daughter, Scarlett Rose.
“We love her name, and when I started thinking of opening my own salon, I realized that Scarlett Rose was also the perfect name for a beauty salon,” said Kim. “The rose is a woman’s bloom, and scarlet is just this pure red that to me connects to a woman. I think it’s a great symbol for when a woman wants to be beautiful and sexy.”
Kim was in a completely different career in South Korea, where she was a logistics manager. Eight years doesn’t seem like such a long time, but Kim’s life is practically unrecognizable. Her family, her business, her life on the East End are all just beginning to bloom as the doors of Scarlett Rose open.
“It’s been meant to be,” she says. “Whatever happened around me has so perfectly brought me to this point of having my own business… I opened a salon because I felt like I wanted to be a part of something small. I am really happy to be in Sag Harbor.”
She hopes that the porch of Scarlett Rose will alight with conversation, that people will linger after they get their hair done to swap stories. With discounts for regulars and offerings like spa parties and points towards free services, she wants people to feel that unpretentious sentiment, even while they’re pampered.
Scarlett Rose is located at 80 A Division Street in Sag Harbor. Check them out online at www.scarlettrosesalon.com.