Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.
Hidden on one of those charming little streets in TriBeCa that you will walk right past if you're not paying attention is FOURTEENJAY, a charming salon where women (and men) with impeccable hair float out of the door with a noticeable glow--and with perfectly styled locks. Hard at work behind those doors are two of the most talented men in the hair business. Co-owner and colorist David Adams (above, right) painstakingly applies highlights with such precision you would almost trust him to perform your own heart surgery, while stylist Frank Rizzeri (above, left) takes lackluster locks to full on Hollywood glam with a few slices of his shears, then seals the deal with some glossy smooth hits from his hairdryer. It's a magical display of perfectionism, one that begins at the root of the hair and ends not only with perfect hair but with perfectly healthy hair. Below, we chatted with the duo about their unique approach to hair color that has everyone from Kate Bosworth and Elle Macpherson to well, me, as official addicts.
How did you get started in the beauty biz?
DA: Once I realized that I wanted to be a hair colorist, I was fortunate to have the best two hair colorists in the world teach me. Daniel Galvin (Daniel Galvin Salons) and Annie Humphries (was co-owner of Vidal Sassoon). I then got a job as Trevor Sorbie’s hair colorist and developed my own style.
FR: I worked in the salon and fell in love with doing hair. From there, I started to test with photographers, entered the North American Hairstyling Awards and won three times. That got me inspired to work in New York and from there I had the chance to assist Orlando Pita and Kevin Ryan. Later, I partnered with Kevin to develop rSession pro tools, a line of hairstyling tools for industry professionals.
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What’s the question you get asked the most?
DA: “What do you think?” I take it as a compliment and as a sign of trust. My guests are leaving their look to me. Changing hair color can be dramatic. The color does not have to be, but the repercussions are. Changing hair color involves changing makeup colors and wardrobe. This can be a big decision. Guests may have their own ideas but always ask “What do you think?” There begins the discussion.
FR: When I am out at a function, the first thing everyone says is, “I don’t want to talk shop, but…how does my hair look? What would you do with it?"
When did you two meet and what made you decide to go into business with each other?
DA: I met Frank when I was freelance and was working on a shoot for Aveda. Frank did the hair and I did the color. We just clicked both creatively and the way we thought about things.
Frank and I had always talked about ‘doing something’ together, but it was never really defined. One day Frank called to say he had seen a great location for rent on Jay Street. I did not even know where it was. I walked in and fell in love with it immediately. It is such a great space. FOURTEENJAY was born. I can see how people sometimes think we are an odd couple. New Jersey meets South London!
FR: I met David when he came from England to help develop Aveda Hair Color. He did amazing work and was by far and away the neatest hair colorist I had ever seen. Because of the quality of his work, I always wanted to figure out a way to work together. We are like Felix and Oscar from the Odd Couple because our work styles are completely different. David is totally neat and precise (I guess that would make him Felix). I am more Oscar-like in my approach, more free-form.The balance really works and is part of the strength of our partnership.
What’s a day in the life like for each of you?
DA: Never enough hours. I could be in the salon coloring hair or on a movie set or in a photo studio. We also have a consultancy company helping other salons to create successful businesses. So you may find me teaching class. Whatever I am doing it always involves hair color!
FR: My life is always moving and never the same. I sometimes don’t know what city I wake up in! It could be a photo shoot, doing a celebrity's hair, teaching in the schools, working behind the chair, traveling between our businesses in New Jersey, New York and Florida, or anywhere in the world the business takes me.
How did you decide to start Fourteenjay?
DA & FR: There are three partners in FOURTEENJAY. Frank, David, and Virginia who is responsible for the business side of what we do. We grew up in the business together and had known one another for many years. When this location became available, we saw it as the perfect opportunity to collaborate.
How did you come up with the concept and what is the concept of the salon?
DA & FR: Our mantra is “Beautiful Color Begins with Healthy Hair” and we put healthy hair and scalp at the center of everything we do. In the age of one size fits all, we wanted to create a salon experience where one size fits one – creating customized services that have been uniquely created for the guest and their needs. We understand that women (men, too) can sometimes feel a bit invisible and frustrated that the images they see in the media are not personally attainable. We want to be the place that really “see’s” the guest and creates something beautiful for them.
Why did you want it to be so strongly focused on healthy hair?
DA: As a colorist, I see a lot of people with hair that has been damaged by chemical treatments. I started to look at my clients and wondered why some looked good and some looked amazing. I soon realized it was simply that those with hair in good condition had the shiniest, healthiest, glossiest hair with vibrant and long lasting color. So I decided from that point on all my clients were going to have healthy hair. We begin with a thorough consultation, and we often say no to a guest. We will do no harm. Our guests really appreciate it. We have built up a huge following with like-minded guests whose first thought is healthy hair color. Our mantra is BCBWHH (Beautiful Color Begins with Healthy Hair) and we have a big neon sign in the front of the salon stating that. We have even trademarked the phrase!
What’s next for your brand?
DA & FR: We are very interested in the segment of the market that feels unseen. We have lots of women who have real issues and concerns about their scalp and thinning hair, so we are actively exploring new service options, solutions, and treatments that serve that guest. David is becoming a licensed trichologist so that we can add a more medical element to that segment of our business. We are also actively exploring expansion plans in Manhattan and other markets.