Hillcrest hairstylist branches out as salon co-owner
By Monica Garske | SDUN Reporter
For the past 10 years, Fred Nuñez has been styling, taming, coloring and cutting coifs at Hairspray, the popular Hillcrest salon located at 141 University Ave. In recent weeks, however, the hairstylist made a little move: just around the corner, to his own salon.
After a decade at Hairspray, Nuñez – who has amassed hundreds of local, Uptown clients over the years – has branched out as the co-owner of Thick Salon, located at 3852 Third Ave.
Nuñez is one of three full-time hairstylists at Thick.
While the boutique salon may be small, Nuñez said it is constantly buzzing with clients and good, steady conversation – one of his specialties, besides hair.
“You have to get a little bit personal with clients; you have to build a relationship,” Nuñez said. “That’s part of being a stylist. It’s more like a friendship than anything else.”
Although it was difficult to leave his home at Hairspray, Nuñez said it has always been his dream to own a salon. When a friend told him about the business opportunity at Thick, he was sold.
Over the past month, Nuñez has been busy making the space his own, decorating, stocking and rearranging to his liking. The salon is set up with individual, private rooms so each stylist and client can have their own space.
Nuñez’s station, which includes soothing colors and a sleek, modern design, is truly a reflection of his personality. Nuñez said his vision was to create a “Zen-like” space where clients – both old and new – could feel right at home.
“I want people to know that everybody is welcome here,” he said. “We’re waiting for you.”
Nuñez said his current clientele includes a lot of families, couples and friends that know each other. Many visit the salon together and that is when Nuñez said he does some of his best work, both professionally and personally.
“I get to know their inner circle and that’s always really fun for me. We have great conversation and I can give an outsider’s perspective on the things they might be going through. The secret is to listen,” he said. “I call it ‘hair-epy,’ a little bit of hair, a little bit of therapy.”
Of course, this hair-epy service is open to new clients as well.
Nuñez said one of his goals at Thick is to welcome a steady stream of first-time clients who might be looking for a reliable salon to call home.
“We’re always accepting new clients. It’s good to call ahead, but walk-ins are welcome too.”
In addition to coloring, cutting and styling services, Nuñez also specializes in makeup. He’s available for special events and weddings by appointment.
Besides welcoming new clients and growing his salon, Nuñez said future plans also include becoming more involved in the Hillcrest community.
As he settles into his role as an Uptown business owner, Nuñez said he plans to actively participate in local events, including the San Diego LGBT Pride festival this summer.
“My plan is to walk this year for Pride,” he said. “That’s one of my biggest dreams I want to do as a local business owner. Walk, or have a float and participate in a big way.”
Little by little, Nuñez said he hopes to solidify his place as a Hillcrest business owner who is devoted to the community, his craft and, of course, his beloved clients.
For more information about Thick Salon, visit itsthick.com. To book an appointment with Nuñez, call 619-260-0094.