Even though the Fullerton salon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is part of a small but growing national chain, it remains a part of a family fixation that is owning and operating a business in Fullerton. A. Jay Popoff is the co-owner of the Fullerton KKBB, and his brother Jeremy Popoff is the owner of The Slide Bar just down the street. Both brothers hail from the band Lit. A. Jay Popoff owns KKBB in conjunction with his fiancé Ande Jo Stone, who is a stylist herself, along with one of the original founders of the company, Tanya Foster. Family at KKBB does not extend to blood and marriage alone; at this salon all are welcome and all are family.
The KKBB business model is unique and refreshing to the world of stylists. KKBB does not have a standard booth rental model as most salons , where the stylists are not part of a team but are instead on their own to source and keep clients.
The booth rental salons are worlds apart from KKBB according to salon stylist, Michaela Ryan. “Working in other salons, it gets very disheartening,” said Ryan. But “[Foster and Popoff’s] whole idea is that they want to create a space where that drama and craziness doesn’t exist and where everybody helps each other, shares formulas, and bounces things off of each other, because that’s really how it should be.”
Not only is the business a family, it is also an educational company. The stylists have weekly training sessions on new styles or techniques, new products, and even business training on how to promote themselves.
“We want a place where everyone feels they have a place to go, that they have some structure in doing it, because I find that most people are more successful in structure, and we’re creating a family. To the clients, we want it to feel like a family. The people that work here, we want it to feel like their safe haven,” said Foster.
Foster spilled the secret into making the salon that safe haven. “We actually deal with their dysfunction. Most people want to sweep dysfunction under the rug. Everybody comes with something, everybody. In here we want you to stay strong and be part of a team, and that’s the magic of it.”
Because this salon is much different from the surrounding salons, Foster thought it would be much better to create a plan completely separate from that world. “Don’t try to break down someone else’s culture, just create the right culture from day one.”
Popoff also shared, “We thought if we’re going to open a salon, we don’t want to do what everyone else is doing around here. We wanted to do something fun and unique.”
Popoff’s own motivations in creating this salon are unique. “Being from Fullerton and being an entrepreneur, I want to invest in the things I’m passionate about. Things I know I can really sink my teeth into and be a part of.” He grew up around hair salons and radio stations as a child. “A big part of it was as a kid my mom was a hair dresser, my dad was in radio. So I had two strong influences in my life. My dad was the music side and my mom was the hair stylist side,” shared Popoff.
His personal interest in hair did not stop there, however, because through the years of touring, he started cutting his own hair as well as those of his band mates and other bands on the road. Just before the KKBB opened, he got his official barber’s license. “It was hard because I was on the road so much to put aside any time. I didn’t want to just open a salon and not know anything.”
“It was a lot of sleepless nights in the first couple months and still it’s a lot of work, but we were able to get a lot of the ground work done [ahead of time],” Popoff said when asked about touring while owning the salon.
“Now I’m gearing up for another record in Nashville. Luckily, the Nashville touring schedule is a lot less demanding than what we were doing before,” Popoff added.
Popoff has been an integral part of running the salon. He said if he is not doing music, he is at the salon. His number one focus in the business is service.
“Everything that comes out of here looks amazing, but I think more importantly overall is the experience, the way the guest feels when they’re in our salon. Of course we want to make sure they’re happy with their hair, that’s what they came in for, but they leave with something more.”
Though the salon has a rock motif and the hair colors are vibrant. The salon owners insist that their styles are not limited.
“We have clients from 1-year-olds all the way up to 80-somethings, and they look awesome,” shared Foster.
Adding to their service benefits, the salon is open until 8 p.m. Ryan believes that the later hours are even busier for the salon.
“That’s usually when the glasses of wine come out. A little less coffee, a little more relaxing, loosening up a little bit,” said Popoff. “You get people who are coming in for their night on the town. We’re in the heart of downtown Fullerton. We send people out looking good, feeling good, and they want to go out.”
At the end of the day, it is more than looking good for the owners of KKBB. “[The stylists] put a lot of time into being at the top of their game, but the whole community part is the most important part.” said Foster. “It’s great to go out and touch people, and make differences to those people.”
Whether you visit KKBB Salon for the music, the hair, or the service, you are sure to have a unique experience. As Popoff said “We’re confident in that, when you do experience us, you’ll want to come back.”
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is located at 229B E Commonwealth Ave. in Downtown Fullerton.