Gold Salon Tokyo – The importance of communication

Howard Lee Regner, Artistic Director of Gold Salon Tokyo, tells us about the philosophy behind his business and some of the things expats/visitors should be wary of when looking for a hairdresser in Japan.

How did Gold Salon come about?

When I started Gold in 2009, we envisaged a salon space where our clients could feel completely at ease. This starts from their initial contact by phone or email, which they can be sure will be answered in English. Then when they arrive at the salon, they can look forward to having their hair attended to by someone with whom they can not only converse, but has a similar culture background. I train and direct all team members personally and we spend a lot of time teaching staff that, beyond developing an excellent skill set, it is primarily important to make a connection with your client that will allow them to extend their trust to you. Our hope is that our clients go home not only with a beautiful new look, but also with a feeling of fulfilment and joy from the time we spent together.

Advice for going to a hair salon for the first time in Japan?

If this is your first time in Japan, then I recommend extreme care/attention when it comes to selecting a hair salon. Asian hair is not only very different from other hair types but also requires a completely different skill set when working with it, which just don’t work with other hair types. At Gold, we do a lot of correction work, particularly color correction, for clients who have tried other salons before Gold. After many years working in Tokyo, I have come to the conclusion that there are two main (principle) problems that have led to the varying degrees of disaster that we commonly see:

1. A lack of the nuanced communication skills necessary for picking up on the various subtleties when discussing hair, both from the client side and the stylist side.

2. A lack of skills and techniques with non-Asian hair.

When a client sits down in my chair and starts explaining the details of a recent disaster at another salon, too often I hear that the previous hairdresser tried their very best for the client (often spending as long as 4 – 6 hours) trying to “get it right”, attempting multiple processes that invariably failed to get the desired results.These are not the actions of a cowboy hairdresser, throwing something on someone’s hair and hurrying them out the door when it goes wrong. These are caring individuals, trying their best with both limited English and limited experience with western hair types, which are more varied than those of Asian hair. In short, they are working with the wrong skill set. At Gold Salon, all our stylists are trained in the skills necessary for working with non-Asian/other hair types.

An art or trade?

We take very seriously the trust a client extends to us when they allow us to touch their hair. Though our work is artistic, we see ourselves as highly skilled craftspeople, whose purpose is to create personalized beauty for all of our clients. We do not rush our work, but focus on high quality, beautiful outcomes.

What is Gold’s vision?

We are very clear about who we wish to be in Tokyo. The single best salon for anyone seeking world-class hairdressing and hair coloring services in English.

We hope to see you in one of our salons soon.

6F, 4-1-9 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku
1 min. from Azabu-Juban Sta. exit 4
10:00am-8:00pm * By appointment only
Holidays: Sundays, Mondays
6F, 4-1-9 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku
Cinnamon Oak B1F , 4-11-15 Jingu-Mae, Shibuya-ku
1 min. from Omotesando Sta. exit A2
10:00am-8:00pm * By appointment only
Holidays: Sundays, Mondays
4-11-15 Jingu-Mae, Shibuya-ku
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