Ahwatukee Foothills resident Saskia Almasan has spent years training, planning and designing her dream salon. Now that dream is finally coming true and Saskia Salon is open for business.

Almasan says she decided she wanted to open her own salon 12 years ago and that's when she first drew out her plan. Once she graduated beauty school she went to work for a large salon and did that for a while before going out on her own. She has studied in London, Paris, Australia, New York, Los Angeles and Vegas and has taught classes across the Valley. But in the past year she's been working to make her dream come true, designing and opening her own salon in Ahwatukee.

"I knew I wanted to open a salon but I wanted it to be geared toward customer service," Almasan said. "From the moment someone walks through the door straight to when they leave, I wanted it to be completely about them. Of all the salons I've been to those are the ones that stand out in my mind."

Almasan found the perfect location for her salon last year but spent her time designing it. She took lessons she learned from her travels to create a space that has just the right feel.

"It's creating art in an artistic space. I think it feeds our need for art," said Almasan, who plans to have a room dedicated to local artists. "I wanted this uniqueness that no one else had. Last July we saw the property and we began planning. It was a salon before so we had to work with that and work at making it our own. We did everything ourselves from the front desk to the shelving, everything. It was a lot of work but it all came together."

The salon is located at the southwest corner of Chandler Boulevard and 48th Street. They've been open for two months but are not having the grand opening until November when things have settled down a little. Almasan said they are still looking for more hair dressers, but she wants to take her time hiring.

"We don't want to hire just to hire. We want to keep a genuine welcoming feel," Almasan said. "We're a booth rental and we're looking for stylists but we're looking for stylists who are self motivated, who will greet you with a smile and who like people. Of course, they have to be advanced in technical skills as well."

Saskia Salon uses Kevin Murphy products. Almasan says she has worked with Kevin in London and stylists come from all over to see his work.

"I'll spend a maximum of four hours with a client. He'll spend 10 to 12," Almasan said. "He has built a product to match what we as hair dressers need. I carry his products not only because they have changed my client's scalp and texture, but the bottles are biodegradable and the products are made from sustainable resources and are as natural as possible. I'm very passionate about quality control."

Almasan says she's also passionate about cleanliness. Saskia Salon does offer a few different types of nails, including gel, minx and shellac, but they decided not to have pedicure chairs like many salons. Instead, they have pedicure bowls that can be cleaned and sanitized completely after each use.

To add a little extra shiqueness to her salon, Almasan plays old movies in the nail room. She says Audrey Hepburn is her favorite.

Stylists at Saskia Salon are trained in cuts, color, Brazilian blowouts, curls, extensions, facial waxing and feather locks. Almasan says they have a registered nurse starting in October to offer Botox and Restylane.

To make an appointment at the salon or for more information on hiring, call (480) 940-1452.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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