Junior & Hatter Salon
Three years ago, two salon gurus gazed upon NW 2nd Avenue, their eyes hazed over with a vision of their salon’s future home. Andrea Battista, co owner of the Junior and Hatter salon, recalls, “I could see the potential but it was too early.” They both agreed it was premature to move their South Beach operation to Wynwood. The Arts District was still early in its development, and the day time fervor had yet to spring.
Fast forward to present day, and the salon duo of Mario Silvestri and Andrea Battista have moved into the Zebra striped Wynwood Building, which also houses Del Toro Shoes and soon-to-be-tenant, Miami New Times. “Then it ended up happening organically when the time was right,” Andrea says. “This particular building was amazing, but it was completely empty, so we didn’t know what was going to happen with it.” Silvestri says of their location, “There’s something about being on the corner, especially this corner during gallery walk…having this space during gallery walk with the windows open, it’s like having a page in Ocean Drive.”
Having worked at high end salons in South Beach, the team wanted to proceed with an artistic vision for their salon that most likely would not fit the chichi stark white archetypal South Beach mold. Instead, they’ve created a fresh, yet rustic salon environment, where guests are welcome to play 8-bit Nintendo while sipping Duvel on a couch that’s for sale. Everything, or almost everything, is for sale in the salon, from the front desk to the coffee table. It’s a way to keep the environment fresh and exciting, raw and organic, just like the neighborhood. “The thing with Wynwood that I like so much,” Mario explains, “is that this neighborhood has really grown organically. And it’s going to continue to grow organically.”
As artisans, Battista and Silvestri also took on the roles of designing the salon, retro-fitted with a rustic finish and organic naturalism. Mario explains, “We designed the whole thing head to toe. In fact, the wooden wall we built ourselves. The furniture is all reclaimed and re-purposed.” Reclaimed wood seems to be a common thread for at least a handful of new businesses opening in Wynwood. “Warmer hues in the wood, we want to make it feel as homey as possible.” Mario continues, “It has a really cool eclectic vibe and people get it.”
Mint condition Barber chairs from 1926, stocked with their original ashtrays await clients, while a late 1800’s piano overlooks NW 27th Street. Paintings by the likes of Banksy and Lebo enrich the industrial space. A former antique wine rack is re-purposed as a towel rack and vintage newspaper lined shelves from an old banged up dresser provide a new source of storage on their walls. Mario says of the décor, “everyday we have to come in with fresh eyes as if it’s our first time walking in because then we see a million things that can be better, things that we can do differently.” Their design choices, layout, and color palette are reflective of the neighborhood. “Ideally, every time you come in we want there to be something to look at.”
Junior & Hatter also plans on contributing to the community in a way one may not expect of a traditional salon. Mario says, “We’re going to be doing a lot of things in here that are a little unorthodox for a hair salon…that’s the cool thing about Wynwood, there’s no rules here.” Whether its participating in ArtWalk featuring live music at their salon, an event they call, Junior and Hatter Plugged, using their projection screen to host Rock Band parties, and even hosting a local comedy night, the salon has a contemporary perspective for contributing to community events. Andrea adds, “I wanted to be in a place that we love and that would give us the opportunity to do something different.”
Though having just opened in October of last year, their established clientele comes from all over South Florida for a great cut and for the Wynwood experience. Mario concludes, “for most of our guests it’s easier to come here than going to the beach. For the ones that don’t come here often, for them it’s like a treat. It’s like this cool, new up and coming neighborhood, with graffiti on all the walls.” Andrea adds, “in a couple of years, we’re not going to believe where we are. Everything around us is going to be different…it’s going to be amazing.”