If you aren’t regularly stopped by complete strangers who tell you they love your haircut– even when it’s been two months– you need to change stylists.
Until 2008, I would have laughed (or more likely rolled my eyes) at anyone who said that. But then I met Cali Pham, a supremely talented hair stylist who gave me my now-signature A-line bob. Cali is so amazing that I followed her from a former San Jose location to her new home at Mimi & Taylor Salon, the production of her older sister Taylor Pham and business partner Mimi Rickett. Mimi & Taylor is a boutique salon specializing in hair and makeup. I recently caught up with Mimi to learn more about the way it all started, and how Mimi & Taylor offers a unique beauty experience for real women.
Mimi and Taylor had been friends since childhood. Though venturing down different career paths, they joined forces in 2006 to launch Thi Cosmetics. Taylor, who had become a successful makeup artist in the Bay Area, found that many of her clients were frustrated with the mass of makeup products on the market and the inability to find ones that really worked. When working with Asian women particularly, Taylor noticed that she was often mixing colors to create a usable palette. Mimi, who had been working in the corporate world, joined her friend to create Thi Cosmetics.
Thi Cosmetics began as an Asian-inspired line but has colors that suit all nationalities. “We work with a lab in trying out colors and textures that most women can use,” says Mimi. For two years, the products, which range from foundation to eye shadow to lip gloss, were sold entirely online and at a few boutiques.
In 2008, Mimi and Taylor opened a store in downtown Palo Alto. Mimi and Taylor saw their clientele grow, with women coming in not just to get their makeup done for special events, but to learn how to apply it for natural and glamorous looks alike.
At the time, they did not offer hair services and found themselves referring clients to other salons. In 2010, they recruited Cali to their ranks and opened as Mimi & Taylor Salon. “Both your hair and makeup have to be updated to achieve the right look. You can’t have great makeup and outdated hair,” explains Mimi. Now, happy clients can come in for both services in one location. In time, they hope to expand and offer a full line of spa services such as manicures, pedicures and facials.
The most important thing about Mimi & Taylor, says Mimi, is education. “We like to teach clients how to use makeup to create a look. You can have the products, but your look is as good as you make it.” When clients come in for a makeup lesson, they are asked to wear their usual face so that Taylor or another artist can pin-point what works and what doesn’t. Clients are encouraged to bring in their own products but can purchase Thi Cosmetics at the salon as well.
Mimi describes the clientele at the salon as being very diverse. “We have a wide variety of women coming in, from those going to fancy evening parties, to new moms who are getting back into wearing makeup, to recent college grads looking for a clean, professional look.” Each woman is paired up with an artist who creates a signature look. Another unique service the salon offers is a photo-documented make-over. Mimi explains that women who love the idea of capturing their transformations in photographs.
Whether you’re hoping to get a few tips on make up application, a full make-over, or a hair cut, Mimi & Taylor is the place to go. Call ahead to make an appointment and prepare to be absolutely wowed.
Mimi & Taylor Salon
522 Bryant Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301-1703