NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Yoni Kreger of YK Salon has partnered with NAHA winning Master Stylist Wendy Bond to open his second salon in New Jersey -- bringing their hair styling expertise to New Providence. Both Kreger and Bond are passionate about both technical excellence and creative artistry.
TAPinto sat with Kreger and Bond to learn their story and what brought them together to open a new salon in New Providence.
Kreger first learned to cut hair at 13 years old growing up in Israel. He honed his skill in a high school "beauty school" program, where he learned the foundation of hair and skin care.
He opened his first salon in Tel Aviv at 21 after serving in the army. He then followed his dream to make it in New York City. "There were Israeli names I remembered as a kid that were successful here," he said. He arrived to New York with $700 in his pocket, barely speaking a word of English.
He knew one person in New York -- a client, who reached out for a blowout. Call it serendipity when we walked down Second Avenue to purchase a blow-dryer, he stepped into an opportunity that would launch his NYC career.
He met the owner of Dramatics NYC, a salon chain regarded as the most successful hair salon chain in New York. He was hired to work in the 57th Street salon. With two years experience under his belt, and learning "a little" English, he became the salon manager and led the company's education program.
After seven years, he decided to open his own salon in SoHo. He chose SoHo to not compete with Dramatics. "I didn't want to be next to Dramatics. We remain very good friends," said Kreger.
His clientele in SoHo grew and he built his professional reputation that includes styling fashion industry runway models. In 2015, when he was ready to open his second salon, he decided to bring his vision across the Hudson River and established YK Salon in his hometown of South Orange, New Jersey.
There, he launched the Silk Road Hair Care line of products—only available at YK Salon—and built a team of exceptional hairstylists, colorists, and client satisfaction representatives. He also established the YK Hair Academy, "to ensure that learning and growing never stops for the passionate and committed hairstylists of YK Salon."
"I started from the bottom in South Orange with one client, one assistant, one stylist. --- It was the right time, the right place, the right people. -- I bring with me a story -- the city -- SoHo to SOMA." And now, he brings this same vision to New Providence with business partner Wendy Bond.
Kreger first met Bond when he attended a class in New York. They both opened salons in SoHo. During their Soho days, Bond recalls, it was less competitive, even though it was such a small footprint.
Bond, a NAHA Master Stylists, got her start working alongside her husband Oscar, a world known hair stylist. Together, they were the Creative Directors for L'anza hair products and traveled the world educating stylists in the classroom and in the chair. They left L'anza to start their own school in New Jersey.
Bond left the city to raise her children and began teaching full time. She was the National Director of Education for LAKME, teaching stylists about their new color lines and products. She re-connected with Kreger when he opened his SOMA salon. I would invite Yoni as a guest artist, she said. "We started running classes together."
In 2017, Bond was a Hair Color finalist in the NAHA competition, having already won the Master Stylist award with her husband. NAHA celebrates the talent and creativity of the beauty industry's most inspiring artists, according to Professional Beauty Association. The artwork displayed in YK Salon features Bond's collection of award-winning color and Yoni's precision cuts.
When TAPinto sat with Bond, she said being a hair stylist is a skilled trade. "I love teaching, I love being creative. But if you don't have clients, you don't have a business. I'm motivated by working my chair -- and my clients. People want to look and feel good -- it's really important."
Kreger agrees, "I love what I do. I work three days behind the chair -- this is what I love. When I see the salon busy, that's the joy -- when I do the hair." Both Bond and Kreger like their relationships with their clients. When their client is happy and feels good, that is what makes them happy.
They walked through the YK Salon experience. "You will get that consultation -- what's going on with your hair. You need to pay that extra special attention to your client," said Kreger. He said, you may need to suggest spicing it up with something new. If you don't bring the suggestion to her -- "you can lose her without even knowing why. Maybe she wanted something new." It's all about the client.
Bond added, "You also have to like the people you work with. Your team members have to be nice people. It's so important to like the people you work with." Yoni said, in any of his salons, you will never get an attitude from his employees. "Really, because I have the best people -- not even a question."
YK Salon is offering an introductory FREE blowout to first time clients. Call (551) 210-3203 to make your appointment for this complimentary service.
YK Salon has gone above and beyond to accommodate for COVID-19 mandated guidelines with sanitation and servicing procedures to ensure the safety of his staff and clients. "We call it Safe Styling," said Kreger. Masks are required and each client will be assigned one chair for the duration of their appointment, regardless of their service. Click here for salon safety procedures.
YK Salon is located at 1274 Springfield Avenue in New Providence. Visit YoniKregerSalon.com.
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