Cathie Anderson

Suite inspiration: Sacramento salon owner creates studio spaces for other stylists

Take a tour of Sacramento's Five 1 Nine Salon Suites

Hairstylist Samantha Corley got some suite inspiration from her two years renting space at Sola Salon Studios, launching her own business renting small salon studios to hairstylists in May. It has been so successful that she is already looking for
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Hairstylist Samantha Corley got some suite inspiration from her two years renting space at Sola Salon Studios, launching her own business renting small salon studios to hairstylists in May. It has been so successful that she is already looking for

Hairstylist Samantha Corley got the inspiration for her latest business concept from her two years renting one of the suites at a local branch of Sola Salon Studios.

She and her husband, Jose Noriega, opened up a salon suite concept of their own, Five 1 Nine Salon Suites, in May near the corner of F and 12th streets near downtown Sacramento. She’s undeterred by competition from better-known names such as Sola and Phenix in the region.

“No one has a patent on the concept,” she told me, “and I thought I could do it better.”

A graduate of Sacramento High School, Corley attended the school at around the same time as Adam Federico, whose family founded Federico Beauty Institute more than 60 years ago. She knew she wanted to be a stylist and decided to attend the school, now based over in North Natomas.

At 36, she’s been a stylist for 19 years. She also owns and works out of What A Do Hair Salon, right above Birkenstock’s at 2612 J St. in midtown Sacramento. She has seven suites at Five 1 Nine, and only one is currently empty.

“I offer a few more benefits than Sola does,” she told me. “Some things I provide for them, Sola doesn’t provide. I provide towel service. … They just put their towels out. We pick them up. We wash them and drop them off. “

Robin Moran, one of the tenants at Five 1 Nine, said she operated her own salon on Watt Avenue for a while and had four other stylists in her shop, but she wanted to get closer to downtown where a number of her clients worked. Five 1 Nine is a one-stop shop, she said, because the tenants offer different services.

“I do weaves and flat-irons and natural hair,” Moran said, “and we have an esthetician, a lady barber and a lash and brow lady. I like that my clients are able to get other services, if they choose to do so.”

Moran, who is 27, noted that all utilities, Wi-Fi and other extras are included in the rental price. She found the salon suites through a listing on craigslist.org. Besides Moran’s Salon 3 Sixteen, other tenants include barber Carrie Caluya, Brash Brow & Lash Studio and J. Paige Chatfield’s C Space for hair, skin and art.

Five 1 Nine is doing so well, Corley said, that she and her husband have asked their real-estate brokers, Rob and Patricia Branch of Sacramento’s PRB Commercial, to search for a larger space for her in the Sacramento suburbs. The Branches, she said, were an invaluable resource when it came to finding her first location and reviewing the lease terms.

Corley said that, having rented space both outside and inside Sola, she could see the appeal of suites: Stylists have a space of their own where they can shut the door, but they can also visit with other tenants and exchange ideas if they want.

“Some stylists who have been in the business for a while, this works for them,” Corley said. “They don’t have the big overhead, and they don’t have to deal with all the other stuff. … It also works for younger stylists, though, too, for the same reasons.”

Fortunately, Corley said, this is a business concept that doesn’t require either her or her husband to be present all the time. They go down regularly, however, to clean the building and to check on tenants. The couple live in West Sacramento and have three sons, ages 6, 9 and 20.

“I thought, ‘You know, I’m going to take some money and invest it in a business that is going to make me some profit,’ ” Corley said. “My husband … was just like, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘I’m going to do it, so we’re going to ride together with this. We’re going for it.’ 

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee

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