Pigtails and crewcuts a salon for the family
Bob Farster (center), owner of kids salon Pigtails & Crewcuts in Glenview, with sons Simon (left) and Louie. | Photo courtesy Bob Farster
BUSINESS: Pigtails & Crewcuts
WHAT THEY DO: Salon for children and their parents
WHERE: 2660 Navy Blvd. in The Glen
CONTACT: Phone: 847-486-0700; website: www.pigtailsandcrewcuts.com
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:49PM
Bob Farster’s clients these days can be fussy and restless but, for the most part, they are among the most adorable people he’s worked with. Particularly after they’ve napped.
The Chicago resident is the franchise owner of children’s salon Pigtails & Crewcuts in Glenview and Mount Prospect, where hair services doubles as play time.
Kid artwork adorns the salons’ neon-green walls. The cushiony blue couches have a Nickelodeon quality about them. Video games, coloring books and other toys keep pint-sized customers occupied while they wait their turn to sit in chair shaped like a police car or plane to get their locks chopped.
Farster, who is neither a hair stylist nor kindergarten teacher, admitted his foray into child hair services is a bit peculiar.
“I still find it so funny,” he said. “I was the last person you would think to own a salon.”
After nearly 15 years in real estate management and mortgage brokerage, Farster, 38, decided to switch careers just as the economy took a tumble.
At the time he and his wife, Kim, were about to welcome their first child. So Farster, a committed family man and soon-to-be-dad, sought an opportunity in which “we could bring our kids to work and it wouldn’t be weird,” he said.
An upscale boutique or formal office environment wouldn’t cut it and Farster needed a business that could weather the recession.
The idea of kids’ salon grew on him.
According to Pigtails & Crewcuts Corporate, hair care is a $55-billion industry with $5 billion alone spent on children. For Farster it seemed like a fail-safe and fun investment.
“Hair grows during the recession and hair grows in the good times,” he said. “We liked what we saw.”
His first salon debuted in The Glen Town Center at 2660 Navy Blvd. on Election Day 2008.
In choosing a location, Farster said he first mapped out the locations of Chicago-area child-hair service providers. Glenview had a gap.
Farster said he wasn’t familiar with The Glen but, upon first visit, fell in love with the space.
“If I lived here, this is where I would shop,” he said.
A second Pigtails & Crewcuts opened this past April in Mount Prospect at 26 Randhurst Village Drive.
The salons have seen lots of first haircuts but not too many tears shed by moms, in part because staff focus on providing quality services to meet the needs of their clients, no matter the age.
Good listening skills and patience go a long way to easing parents’ fears of their kids ending up with a mullet, Farster said.
“Just because they are kids doesn’t mean they have to have bad haircuts,” Farster said. “Whether it’s a one-year-old or 30-year-old, they’re paying for quality work.”
His success so far could also be attributed to actively engaging and embracing the local community. Farster recently wrote a column in a local Glenview paper about interacting with autistic kids. His stores carry hand-made hair accessories by Kim Miller, who grew up in Glenview and now lives in Park Ridge.
While Pigtails & Crewcuts has accrued a fan base of adults and kid customers, Farster’s two sons are among the most loyal, especially given their willingness to serve as test models for new stylists.
Simon, 4, has been patronizing dad’s salon since before he had hair. Now he’s joined by 2-year-old Louie.
Farster said the boys’ way of telling him its time to visit work is by declaring their hair is “broken” and “needs to be fixed.”
In addition to being able to hang out with own kids, Farster said it’s been a treat to watch other children change and grow over time.
Over time kids have developed an affinity for their stylists, too, and often send them cards.
“We have some of the most patient human beings on this planet,” Farster said of his staff. “They become a part of these kids lives in a little way.”