With the holidays now a distant, hazy memory, you’re probably ready for an escape.
It might not be the first place that comes to mind, but going to a great hair salon can provide you with an escape that’s nearby, relatively inexpensive, and that you walk away from both looking and feeling like a million bucks.
Located on Main Street in Williamsville, Tonic Hair Salon is the ideal place to go if you want that escape, in addition to a superb haircut and color.
Tonic’s loft-style space, with its exposed-brick walls, high ceilings, and modern décor, might be the type of thing you’d expect to find in a refurbished building downtown. It’s a vibrant, lively salon that can serve as a getaway from the every day or as a launching pad for a big Friday night or important function.
Speaking recently with Step Out Buffalo, Tonic’s owner Becky Hoot said her intention was to create a space that has both the vibrancy and hominess of a loft-style apartment you might find in downtown Buffalo.
“What we’ve been focused on since we opened is the experience that we want our customers and our guests to have,” she said. “When we set up this space, the idea behind it was to make it feel super homey. So customers would be like, ‘I could live here.’
“Because the more comfortable you are in a place of business, the more comfortable you are communicating and saying what you like, saying what you want,” she added.
The experience of going to Tonic starts the second you walk in off Main Street. Taking the stairs up to the third-floor salon gets the blood flowing, and upon walking in, you’re immediately struck by the grandeur of the space: large modern chandeliers draw the eye up to the tall ceiling, massive eight-foot mirrors frame the salon chairs, the sound system pulsates indie dance rock and the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee wafts through the air.
With three different areas for lounging, the overall vibe of Tonic is warm and inviting.
“We have clients that come in half-an-hour early just to enjoy the space,” Hoot said. “So I think that’s a huge compliment to what we’ve been able to do just with our surroundings.”
For those looking to try Tonic for the first time, Hoot describes her company’s style and aesthetic as trying to be functional, wearable, affordable, and fashion forward. It’s recommended that you start out with a mini-consultation over the phone, where you can give a sense of what you’re going for in a style.
“For our first time guests, we like to start with a really good conversation on the phone to find out when was the last time they had their hair done and what kind of look they’re going for,” Hoot said. “So we really do try to narrow it down in a phone conversation, and sometimes, when they don’t even know what they want, we’re like, ‘Hey just pop in for a consult.’”
“And that way they can figure out a design plan for themselves based on budget, frequency of visits, and maintenance routine at home.”
The salon owner added that all the stylists at Tonic have years of experience working with all hair types and styles. For instance, many people come into a salon and ask one stylist is better with shorter hair or better with longer hair.
“It’s a very common question to ask,” Hoot said. “I don’t think that concern necessarily pertains to us. We do it all.” There is a heavy focus placed on continuous education of the team at Tonic in order to ensure that everyone is on top of the newest styles and trends.
Tonic also distinguishes itself by carrying Davines hair products. An Italian product line, Davines emphasizes sustainability, individuality, diversity, and uniqueness. Hoot added that the line of products is affordable and easy-to-use.
“I kind of drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago on the product line,” she said. “I love what they have and I have not used one thing that I have not liked.”
With an urban-style space, skilled stylists, and a high-quality product line, you might think that Tonic is mostly for women. However, the salon strives to be very family-friendly and the employees work hard to make everyone feel comfortable, including the occasional toddler who may be along for the ride.
“I’m a mom, I have moms that work for me and we enjoy having a family-friendly environment,” Hoot said. “Now granted, a lot of moms come in here and want to relax. So we have a diverse clientele: We’ve got kids, we’ve got college kids, we’ve got mothers, and we’ve got grandmas. We welcome it all.”
“We’ve got a solid atmosphere for the client that likes the busyness and wants to kind of like have a party, and also for the client that doesn’t want to have a conversation after a long day and just wants to read a book, zone out, and do what they want.”
It’s clear that the folks behind Tonic are trying to build a community vibe. They want to have a regular customer base that can come in feel comfortable and know everybody’s name and personality. Hoot said her salon team also prides themselves on engaging its customers in a comfortable yet honest dialogue.
“We want people to feel special and enjoy the whole package – the service and the experience,”
Hoot said. “We also want them to be comfortable enough to say, ‘I don’t like this.’
“The customers are our friends,” she added. “Come in tell us what you like and what you don’t like. We’re not going to be offended.”
Like many salons, Tonic will take bridal parties and the space is a fantastic one for such a big occasion. TBH, it’s pretty picture perfect. It is recommended that bridal parties book far in advance so the salon can make the proper accommodations.
However, you don’t need a once-in-a-lifetime occasion to book an appointment at Tonic. You just need a reason to treat yourself, like killing it at work all week long. Done and done.
Tonic Hair Salon
5550 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221
Payment: Credit Cards, Cash, Checks