Laurent and Sue Teichman, along with their team, were clipping along, happily tending to clients at the Mesa Drive & Brown salon, when Laurent got the news no tenant wants to hear: the building was sold and the new owner intended to raise the rent. So, in 1989 Laurent started looking for a new space for Le Studio Salon de Beaute – and some of his stylists - to call home.
In the late 80’s, the days of tall mohawks, jheri curls, crimps, perms and puffed-up styles, Downtown Mesa was in a slump. With so many vacant storefronts, Laurent knew he’d find the perfect spot there. Standing on the North side of Main Street, he noticed a guy putting up a “For Sale” sign on the opposite side, at 47 W. Main Street.
Despite a tin ceiling built in 1928, the building wasn’t pretty: no roof, the air conditioner had been removed, no electricity, nothing but a shell. With the all moxie of a novice entrepreneur, Laurent looked around and said, “I’ll take it.”
Buying his dream building was easy…remodeling it, not so much. While cutting a client’s hair one day, he explained the situation. The client, the president of commercial loans for a bank, said, “You have a booming business here. I think Downtown Mesa is going to turn around and with your great business, you should be a part of that.” He wrote Laurent a check and in 1992, Le Studio Salon de Beaute opened.
The media around one of the few luxury salons in the Valley was huge: W Magazine, Mesa Tribune, AZ Republic. “Clients came to Downtown Mesa from all over Arizona - Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa,” Laurent says. “It was a success right from the beginning.”
Laurent moved to the US from France at the age of 17 and landed in New York City. By age 20, he was in Arizona and started a business delivering homemade sandwiches to the clients and stylists of local salons. Not the most glamorous of gigs, but it is how he met Sue, now his wife of 38 years. It also introduced him to a career, “I’m artistic, I’m creative, I’ve done all types of design – being a hair stylist fit right into that.” The couple worked together, even lived above the downtown salon during the beginning years.
It’s where Laurent and Sue find themselves still – surrounded by people like them. “The salon is a melting pot. We all have our specialties, we all fit together,” he says. “We have a common philosophy: This is our home.” Laurent and Sue don’t know of any salon, open for 38 years, working with many of the same stylists for decades.
One of those long-time stylists, Robin Wellcome, a 36-year veteran of the salon, agrees. “Because it’s just home,” she says. Despite many opportunities to sell, the Teichmans never felt they could. As Laurent says, “I didn’t think I could do that to my employees, this family – our clients are also our family!”
Now a mainstay on Main Street, this uniquely local salon has done its share of changing the face of Downtown Mesa. Laurent considers himself an advocate for downtown, but also for his team, protecting what they’ve built here. ”I’ve waited 30 years for downtown to change, and now it is finally changing, and it’s exciting. It’s going to be amazing.”
Learn more about Le Studio Salon de Beaute at the link below: