December 2014

The Hair Designers

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Krizstian Lonyai

Owner Mark Goodman and his team at The Hair Designers have created a modern salon in the tradition of the great European salons of the 17th and 18th centuries, where inspiring hosts gathered artists, musicians, and literary figures to amuse one another and exchange ideas and inspiration. While the job of hair designer or barber had been in existence for centuries, it wasn’t until this time period that grand hairstyles were created, and often constructed (think Marie Antoinette’s mile-high masses of curls) in salons dedicated to style, image, and community. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Amid sparkling mirrors, lovely scents, chatter, and laughter that could take place today or this same day in 1784, Goodman and his team of artists bring professional excellence to the creative business of hair. “We’re all creating and helping each other create,” he said.

A rarity in the beauty business, The Hair Designers is an employee-based salon, where there are no booth renters or independent contractors, only team members who work for and with Goodman to provide exceptional guest services. “Guest services are what it’s all about. It’s our number-one priority to make sure that the guests are taken care of, and I feel that the best way to do that is if the salon works as a unit and as a team,” he said. “The whole culture of the salon is important to me. I have certain standards. I have policies and procedures that have to be followed in certain ways so that we are all on the same page.”

Some of the credit for the salon’s longevity and success stems from this very business structure. “By us working together, my employees have health insurance, they have paid vacations, they get bonuses; I offer a lot of benefits to them and a lot of support,” he said. Much of that support comes in the form of encouraging his team to participate in ongoing training, from their monthly in-house training and business meetings, to outside competitions and trainings. Annually, Goodman also takes his entire staff to the Premier Beauty Show in Orlando, one of the industry’s largest educational and competitive shows in the country.

Monthly in-house trainings are presented by Goodman, along with the salon’s stylists presenting to the team on a regular basis. The latest cut and coloring techniques are discussed, new product knowledge and hair knowledge are presented, and a business meeting is held to discuss guest services and any new decisions about the salon. “I pass any decisions about the salon before the salon so that I can get their input or their vote,” Goodman said. “I want to make sure my employees feel ownership of the business too—that they are not just working here.”

The quintessential teacher himself, Goodman became involved in the National Association of Hairdressers early in his career and went to work with a salon that was very active in the association. He has taught at the state and national level and was elected to the board of directors of the National Cosmetology Association, eventually becoming their president. He also now serves on the board of directors of the Professional Beauty Association, the country’s largest beauty association, and runs competitions in the North Carolina-South Carolina region. He encourages his stylists to compete, and this past April the salon’s newest stylist, Travis Harper, won first place in hair cutting and first place in styling, bringing home the big traveling trophy to the salon (the fifth time this trophy has been won by one of Goodman’s team members).

Over the years, Goodman came to recognize that there plenty of spas and nail salons that fill the needs of people looking for spa treatments, manicures and pedicures. He made the decision that The Hair Designers would have a singular focus, offering cuts, color, and hair treatments. “We are here to offer the best possible knowledge and expertise for our clients’ hair,” he said. With his own penchant for teaching color, Goodman and his staff provide their prescription card—a list of recommended products—any time they complete a chemical service. “It’s our guarantee that says that we guarantee our work if you use the products that we recommend and follow these certain instructions.”

With the guest in mind, the salon has products to reach a wide range of needs and desires. From the Aveda line of products to Aquage, a fashionable newer line with a reputation for excellent performance in high humidity regions like the Lowcountry, to their Italian line of color, shampoos and conditioners, lightly scented in plain, simple European-style bottles. “I try to gear my products so that they cover every guest’s needs—hair types, personalities—the classics and the new and trending,” Goodman said.

As a longtime area resident and business owner, Goodman and his staff give back to the community by supporting the initiatives of CAPA, Child Abuse Prevention Association, and CODA, Citizens Opposed to Domestic Violence. The Hair Designers’ team has been trained to spot signs of domestic violence through the Professional Beauty Associations program Cut it Out®, making the logical connection between a profession uniquely able to see the signs of abuse and victim resources.

Mark Goodman is surely an inspiring host, operating his salon with a focus on serving the customer well, along with providing an environment for his troupe of artists that encourages creativity, growth, and a sense of community. The Hair Designers successfully carries on the salon tradition, where mirrors will always sparkle, ideas will always flow, and the chitchat will chirp away, no matter the century. 

The Hair Designers is located in the Village at Wexford on William Hilton Parkway, Suite F-1, Hilton Head Island. Salon hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For appointments and more information, call (843) 686-HAIR (4247) or visit

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