About James Santa – Founder & Master Colorist
As a master colorist, James Santa was constantly seeking ways to improve upon the status quo, whether it was a new technique, a healthier conditioner or a bolder shade with which to please his clients. He carried that same quest for perfection into his first business venture, The Salon at the Plaza, which he opened in 1965. He not only amassed a top group of beauty pros as his staff, but also satisfied some of the most demanding clients of the time: Rose Kennedy, CZ Guest, Harriet Vanderbilt and even the famed guests of Truman Capote’s legendary Black & White Ball in 1966. Most importantly, James Santa had both an eye and enormous respect for true talent, a quality that has allowed him to discover and nurture many of the beauty industry’s most recognizable names.
Still motivated to create a concept that would perfect the salon experience for his clients, James Santa developed the idea of a “super-salon,” the now familiar full service salon to meet all of one’s beauty needs under one roof. In 1978, the doors opened onto Gerard Bollei® Salon’s Kubrick-like tunnel that ushered you into “spaceship elegance.” (NY Times). A star was born. Not only was the new salon hailed for its innovative design (the only salon to ever be featured on the cover of Interior Design-Dec 1978), but also welcomed for its return to the glamour and customized service of the European salons of the 1920’s.
To meet the ever-increasing demand for skin care services, a spa facility was opened on the 4th floor in 1998. James next developed a hair care line in 1999, based upon in-salon research and client feedback. As always, the key word at Gerard Bollei® Salon is accommodation. The staff is trained to bend over backwards to please a client, which is most likely why this salon keeps its customer base from generation to generation.
Known among beauty insiders as “The Founding Father”, James Santa explains his successful career this way: “I have seen many changes in this industry over the years…names come and go, but one thing must remain constant in order for you to stay at the top of your game and that is to give the clients what they want. Make them comfortable…don’t act as if you’re doing them a favor…treat them with respect…and make them look the best they’ve ever looked! Who could ask for more?”
James Santa’s reputation for fairness and honesty has attracted many bold-faced names that have closed their own salons and brought themselves along with their staff under the Gerard Bollei® roof. As a result, Gerard Bollei® Salon continues to flourish despite today’s economic climate.