Every summer in Chicago, the streets by Grant Park line up with thousands of people for a three-day festival called Lollapalooza. And, every year, musicians and celebrities gather at the VIP Music Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel to spend a little down time before the festivities.
For the past seven years, RED 7 SALON has been working with the lounge for Lollapalooza. This year, they worked exclusively with CK1 offering hair services (to compliment their make-up services) to invited VIPs/Artists in the lounge area.
“This year was very special,” says co-owner Jason Hall of RED 7. “We worked with DEV and her team all day (appearances she made at Lolla AND interviews all over the city), as well as did styling and hair cuts on Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child), the Misfits, Dum Dum Girls, Yukimi Nagano (Little Dragon), JC Brooks (The Uptown Sound), Erin Martin (The Voice), and many others!”
This year MODERN SALON Media got access to the event to see all of the action. In the interview below with Hall, we got all of the details regarding how the salon got involved, how it benefits their marketing, and most of all their stylists.
MODERN SALON Media: Why do you do this event?
Jason Hall: It's fun for our team. It's out-of-the-box. It's so much fun for our clients to hear all of our crazy stories in the weeks following the event. Plus, we meet some wonderful people from all over the world. It's an amazing weekend!
MSM: How did you get picked to do this event out of all the salons in Chicago?
JH: We were connected with the organizers through a very special client. The client highly recommended RED 7 SALON and we had to really prove ourselves that first year (probably the most challenging year). Now that we are on many years collaborating together - it's a wonderful relationship! The PR company has even offered our team to work other entertainment events they host throughout the country (South-by-Southwest, launch product parties, etc...) in the future.
MSM: Who provides the products, equipment?
JH: All product giveaways in our area were supplied by CK1. They were launching their very own make-up line and it was very popular amongst the invited participants to our lounge. In our haircutting and styling work, we used a variety of professional products (Bumble and bumble, Aveda, KEVIN.MURPHY) normally used within our salon environments.
MSM: What kinds of styles did you offer to clients? Do you do hair cuts or just styling?
JH: Most of the work we did focused on styling. CK1 really wanted that. However, we also performed hair cut services as well. We gave a total makeover to DEV! The styling really was more avant-garde and "rock-n-roll"...anything to gain attention. However, very pretty styling was also done - i.e. Michelle Williams. It all depended on the client, really—just like in the salons!
MSM: Is everything complementary?
JH: Yes. All services are complimentary. Most VIPs/artists gave a gratuity to our team (unless they had too much to drink and forgot :).
MSM: What’s the most exciting thing that happens when you are working the VIP suite for Lollapalooza?
JH: Honestly, never quite knowing who will walk through our doors. We have an expected artist/guest list each day, but it usually is just a guideline and never 100 percent accurate. It makes the event a big surprise everyday—who am I going to meet? We usually know about two minutes in advance when a panicky talent wrangler walks up to us sharing the artist name, the need/want, and seeing if we can accommodate ASAP! It can get quite interesting.
MSM: What does the staff get out of working at an outside event such as this one?
JH: Experience. It is a highly pressured environment for our team. They have to be "ON" at all times, as well as be their creative and super entertaining self to our guests. It's a lot to take in and take on. It's easy to get overwhelmed—most newbies, on our team, do the first year! It's literally jumping into the fire.
MSM: How does an event like this market RED 7 SALON? Do you see a boost in customers after doing services at the VIP suite for Lollapalooza?
JH: It's fun to share our experiences with our salon community and our clients. It's fun to share our brand w/celebrities and artists who visit the lounge. We make connections that can sometimes last well into the future when they visit Chicago for a tour, etc... Plus, it's great PR to share that we are the "Official Salon" of the Lollapalooza VIP Music Lounge and have been for many years.
MSM: How do you spread the word to your clients that you are doing an event like this?
JH: Social marketing—mainly Facbook and Twitter. Plus, our team talks about it leading up to the event, during the event weekend, and well after the event. Who doesn't like to share with their clients that they styled Michelle Williams, right?!
MSM: How do you spread the word within the VIP suite that you are offering salon services?
JH: The PR company we work with does that for us. Honestly, every year we are so swamped with appointment requests that there is always a long cancellation/waiting list.