Hidden in plain sight in the busy Central district, Zhan’s Salon has only two seats. With no website, no social media accounts, and no contact number, Zhan relies on word of mouth publicity and loyal customers to keep his business alive.
Dressed in a clean-cut shirt with a dash of youthfulness to their respective age, Ray Zhan and Ann Hung were outside on a cigarette break before starting their day. Ray begins to reminisce their youth when they met seventeen years ago and discusses his life working with a salon where he was an on-set stylist to celebrities such as Tony Leung and Faye Wong. However, there were constraints that the salon enforced forcing Ray to launch a business at his own pace and style, ten years ago.
The husband and wife duo opened up their salon in the Central district of Hong Kong. Hushed on a slope behind Hollywood Road, the salon is remarkably hidden from passersby. Like many independent store owners, Ray and Ann manage the entire place on their own. Still, the biggest problem is rent but twenty-two appointments per week is enough to support the store alone.
The entrance emanates a vintage yet subtle look- there isn’t a sign or name in sight. Ray explains, “Most of the people who come in are confused as to what the shop is really about. A lot of them like to peek through our windows.” With only two seats, the space is filled with antique furniture such as the glass cabinets with wooden frames and the black & white images of Hong Kong hung on the walls. Leaning towards gothic decor, objects such as the 1857 dark wooden carving of two jousting knights, and paintings by Chinese Rou Ran convey an elegant and distinctive atmosphere as opposed to a more conventional salon. Inside the salon are many unique styles but when they are brought together, they form a collective style.
Zhan’s approach to business is unconventional but he has garnered loyal customers. He mentions one of his customers flies in from Bangkok every so often just to get a haircut. Sure, the salon is hidden in plain sight but most of the customers have been going there for years. It’s like seeing old friends whenever they come in. Although, the couple share that they don’t make any money from tourists for the reason that they are either shy or scared to come into the shop. Despite this, Ray and Ann proves that the most important factor is just simply enjoying what you do, with the people that matter.
Shop 1, Po Hing Court, Hong Kong
Edited by Hayden L
Behind the scenes with Marvin Lin