Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Yellow Balloon Children's Salon in Westwood is a Cut Above

CC strikes a dramatic pose in front of the candy machines at The Yellow Balloon.
Nestled into a row of businesses along Westwood Boulevard is a bright yellow door that opens to reveal a kid-friendly salon full of toys, chatty parents and welcoming stylists. The Yellow Balloon is an adorable shop that, admittedly, you might miss if you're not looking for it.

But step inside, and you'll realize why it's been a Los Angeles favorite for more than 40 years.

While the actual cut is important to me when it comes to CC's hair, there are so many more elements that make a great experience. Did the stylist listen? Was s/he nice to my child? Did everyone make us feel at home? Were there toys for kids if we had to wait (which we didn't have to)?

The Yellow Balloon gets a thumbs up for all of that -- and another high-five for having tons of games (vintage Star Wars pinball machine! 10 cent stationary motorcycle rides!) that could even appeal to parents as well.

I chatted with the new owner, Dadli Yashar, who invited CC and me in for a visit and a cut. Having grown up in LA and gone to The Yellow Balloon as a child, this young, design-minded Angeleno was a natural choice when the original owners decided to sell a year and a half ago. At the re-opening, she even hosted an animal petting zoo for the kiddos.

Yashar said it was important to her to keep an element of the past -- note the vintage toys! -- while also looking toward the future with small updates like new seats. But what's really important is keeping the neighborhood feel, one that welcomes kids and their parents before and even after the cut (which, for kids, is $25 and $35+ for adults).

And speaking of the cut, it was lovely. CC asked if she could have just a little trim because she's trying to grow out her hair. The stylist was kind and very accommodating, even giving her a couple of barrettes that she could take home.

After the cut, CC felt so at home that she didn't want to leave. That's what lots of toys -- and lots of kids -- will do.

The Yellow Balloon
2009 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Monday-Saturday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)

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