River Forest man works to redefine the children’s salon
Lemonmade stylist Janice Hernandez cuts the hair of customer Evelyn Cultra of Oak Park. | Meredith Morrise~For Sun-Times Media
What’s in store at Lemonmade?
Lemonmade Style and Snips for Kids, 187 N. Marion St., is open Mondays through Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. While its specialty is childrens’ haircuts, the salon is equipped to accommodate older teens and parents, especially in instances where a child wants a haircut together with dad or mom.
“We want to make this salon open to everyone. It’s a family salon,” owner John Haagenson said.
A sampling of Lemonmade services includes:
Kid’s cut and style, $25
Temporary hair color, $5
Updo, $35 and up
Undo (untangling), $35 and up
Mom’s and dad’s cut, $55 and $35, respectively
Walk-in service is available. Call (708) 948-7769 to schedule an appointment or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:36AM
OAK PARK — John Haagenson, owner of Oak Park’s newest full-service hair salon for children, isn’t out just to give your child a good haircut.
He’s out to redefine what families can expect from visiting a children’s salon.
Haagenson, who opened Lemonmade Style and Snips for Kids at 187 N. Marion St., is so sure families will embrace his concept that he plans to open two more Lemonmades next year and have 30 franchisees within a decade.
“I know absolutely nothing about cutting hair, but I’ve looked at other franchises for kids and I knew I could do it better,” said Haagenson, a self-described entrepreneur who opened his doors on Aug. 29.
A life-long River Forest resident and father of three children – ages 8, 6 and 3 – Haagenson, 43, has seen his share of childrens’ salons.
“They’re over-stimulating for the child going into it,” he said. “I wanted to make a much smoother experience for the child, but also for the parent.”
Following about a year of research and planning, Haagenson created a new salon model that includes a living room-like waiting room for parents, a playroom for waiting children and a distinct salon space.
“The kids’ play area is designated so the stylists can focus on cutting a child’s hair and not have to worry about other kids running around,” he said.
The “carefully calculated” layout is also intended for ready duplication by future franchisees, Haagenson said. Simulating a home, the play area is stocked with wooden toys and its walls are lined with family photographs.
“I’ve gone with the vintage look and subtle colors. It’s refreshingly different from the norm that’s out there,” Haagenson said.
Other features of Lemonmade include a small party room with a wall-mounted flat-screen television. The party room was created for parents to host glamour-girl or dance party birthday parties that involve childrens’ hair styling, or football parties where boys can receive temporary hair dye in their teams’ colors.
“Parents are looking for that. They’re looking for another way to have an outing for a child,” Haagenson said.
As for the stylists, each has experience working with children and is versed in cutting the hair of children with special needs. They know how to work effectively with autistic children, for example, and client stations are adjustable to accommodate wheelchairs, Haagenson said.
Just weeks into its existence, Haagenson’s concept seems to have caught on.
“My daughter loved it the second she walked in,” said Chris Koch, a customer from River Forest. “Going to Lemonmade is an easy choice for parents. I know Grace is in good hands and I can sit back and watch her be a kid.”
Another customer, Becca McDonnell, also of River Forest, was pleased to have a childrens’ salon close to home.
“I used to travel to Oak Brook just for my daughter’s hair cut,” McDonnell said. “It’s great to see a person who lives in our community take care of our community.”
Lemonmade’s title? Chalk it up to a childhood nickname, Lemon, that’s become Haagenson’s enduring moniker. Lemonmade has lemonade on tap – and Haagenson hopes departing happy customers will take a cup to go.