Shawn Paul Gustafson only has two styling chairs in his new salon on Lee Road.
He purposely kept it small, as he likes to work with one client at a time.
“I love that when there is a client in here, I’m focusing on them and not rushing to get to my next. It’s very private,” said Gustafson of his month-old business, Shawn Paul Salon.
His goal was to create an intimate, quaint, home-like environment. More boutique than runway, more comfortable than pretentious.
“I wanted it to be romantic in here. For some people, it’s the only time they get touched,” he said.
Lit candles and bouquets of flowers surround the space, and he keeps soft music in the background. He gives clients scalp massages prior to their haircuts.
"It allows me to give you my positive energy, and for us to connect."
Gustafson, 28, was walking with his partner in early August when he saw the vacant store was for rent. He knew it was the right time to pursue his dream of owning a salon.
The Cleveland Heights resident majored in marketing and business, and had owned a dog boutique in Tremont when he first moved to Cleveland about six years ago. After the store closed, his stylist suggested he go to cosmetology school.
He worked in local salons for about three years before he decided to open his own business. Three weeks after he signed the lease on Lee Road, he opened up shop Sept. 3.
Gustafson offers men’s, women’s and children’s haircuts, all-over, highlight and touch-up color and facial waxing. He sells Surface products, which he says are free of cancer-causing agents found in other shampoos and conditioners. He said the products are paraben-free, sulfate-free and even gluten-free.
He opens his salon to local artists to give them a space to sell their work, commission free. Local merchants, even those who own salons, have supported him, and he wants to contribute to the community, too.
“There were four different salon owners at the grand opening,” he said. “They’re neighborly. We’re a community.”
Clients he used to work with at other salons followed him, and he said since he advertised his phone number, the phone hasn't stopped ringing.
“The community wants to support a new business,” he said.
Gustafson will soon be expanding his hours (those listed below will change in about one week) but he said he offers private appointments and will often see clients hours before opening.
“We’re very flexible because we know everybody is busy,” he said. “You’re never going to leave as a client. You’re going to leave as a friend.”
Shawn Paul Salon, 2265 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. 216.862.6029, www.shawnpaulsalon.com. Mon.-Thurs. 1 p.m. – 9 p.m., (will be 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. soon) Fri. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., closed Sunday. Men’s and children's cut $35, Women’s cut $50. Color services $55-$100.