On Friday, June 1, at 6 pm the neon sign of a new hair salon in Ljubljana officially switched ON. A brightly lit space with a tasteful minimalistic interior with hints of industrial opened its doors for the public. The architect behind the space which was inspired by nature – iron, wood, stone and plants – is Benjamin Koren, who gave the salon a comfortable, homey feeling. But it’s the two guys that run the place that give it the energy, the finishing touch. Simon Volčič and Jani Anželj both come from the Primorska region but their careers started out differently before their paths crossed and they joined forces. Simon’s been working in Ljubljana for 14 years now, starting his career at the Secondary School for Hairstyling which he wasn’t a big fan of. But after he finished it, he started working in a salon. “When I first set foot inside that hair salon I knew that that was it. I was 18 and practically feeding off of the energy inside the salon, the hype, there was so much going on – I immediately knew this was what I wanted to do.” At 24 he already ventured on a solo path. He’s mostly self-taught; learning from the opportunities life had given him. Jani’s hairdresser career however started a little later, after he’d already spent one year at the high school for economy and one year at the secondary nursing school. “I soon realised that my fingers were a little more creative and at 18 years old enrolled in the Secondary School for Hairstyling.” After he’d finished that he moved back to Primorska, worked in a L’Oreal hair salon in Udine, Italy, and when he returned to Ljubljana he started working for Mare dresura Frizure. Simon and Jani met backstage at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Ljubljana a couple of years ago and it immediately clicked that they had the same goal and a similar vision – to start their own salon. They knew it would work because they’re both dedicated to their work and they’re both perfectionist which reflects not only in their work ethic but also the upkeep of the space. Starting their own hair salon wasn’t an easy job though things have been running pretty smoothly since its opening. “It’s maybe a little harder because we’re not from Ljubljana,” they say, “There’s always that fear of survival nagging at the back of your brain. But so far it’s been completely amazing. If you work well and you aim towards working good it reflects in the satisfaction of your clients. The main thing we keep in mind is that we treat every client as best as we can.” The idea behind the name of the salon came from their friend, Dorotea Škrabo. “We’d been banging our heads against the wall about the name, trying to come up with something classic yet edgy, something international maybe… And then she sat us down and there it was – SalON/OFF. When we’re open, the neon sign is switched ON and when we close up we simply flip the switch and turn it OFF.” What makes the space special – aside from the name – is that it’s multifunctional. It not only serves as a hairdresser’s salon, no, SalON/OFF is a place where people can display their art, hang it up on the walls, showcase their work. It connects different branches of art. “We see hairstyling as a form of art – so why not tie them all together in one space?” says Jani. As for what the future holds for these two charismatic, hardworking boys? “To offer the best service we possibly can. Bring in clients that are looking for that, clients that know what we have to offer and are familiar with our work concept. Maybe in the future offer some working seminars, educational seminars. We would love to mentor young hairstylists, give them an opportunity to learn from us.” With the energy these two give off, there’s no doubt that the future of the salon is brightly lit and definitely switched ON.
Special thanks from Simon and Jani goes to Daša Kastelic, their social media manager, Benjamin Koren and Dorotea Škrabo.
Photo: Magnolia Neya