When I tell Union Beauty owner Angela Taormino that I’d like to come by the new salon to chat and take some pictures, she warns me to bring a short lens. “Union Beauty is what I like to call ‘petite’,” she explains.
Anyone who has stepped inside 849a Union Street– whether now as the salon, or in its previous life as Sprout Kidz clothing store– knows that it’s a cozy space. For Angela, though, the dimensions are perfect.
“For me, personally, a small space is better,” she says. “It’s more intimate. It allows you a better connection to your client. I think it’s a little emblematic of how I am, really, because I like to give people a personalized service.”
She’s been providing that individualized service for the past ten years, working as the Color Director at Antonio Prieto Salon in Chelsea and as a stylist at Whistle Salon in the East Village. As a graduate of the Aveda Institute in Soho, and with advanced training in Toni & Guy, Vidal Sassoon, and Goldwell techniques, she’s honed the kind of skills that create a loyal and returning clientele.
She’d always had her mind on opening her own place, though, and once she started realizing that both she and many of her clients were traveling from the borough to the city, she knew exactly where she wanted to open it.
“I was interested in this neighborhood, because I just felt like there was really something missing up here. I have a ton of clients who live in this neighborhood, who were always asking, ‘Why don’t you open something in this neighborhood?’ So I’d been looking for space for a while, and this came up.”
Ironically, the traffic flow continues since Union Beauty opened on June 15– just now in the opposite direction.
“Now I have clients who live in the city but are coming to see me here,” she laughs. “Which is wonderful. And I feel like it’s really nice, too, to be able to introduce them to some of the stuff that I enjoy in this neighborhood.”
Angela– who now lives on 29th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues– has spent the entirety of her time in New York between South Slope and Greenwood, and has done her fair share of Park Slope exploration. She’s been a member of the Park Slope Food Coop for the past eight years, and she and husband Nik Mikros are regular diners at Slope establishments. When I ask for some of her favorite spots, she says Kiwiana without hesitation.
“Since we started doing work here, I’ve been going over there more,” she says. “Mark [Simmons, Kiwiana owner and chef] is such an awesome dude, so supportive. The food there is very consistent, and it’s delicious. It’s always great.”
And that work has clearly paid off. The space– immaculately designed by David Bucovy Architect and created by Old City Construction, both Brooklyn companies– is an exercise in mixing beauty with function. Salvaged wooden doors make up mismatched cupboards that travel up to the ceiling, and wall shelving is made from repurposed pine.
But perhaps the best addition to the space is Ruby, Angela’s rescued maltipoo and a practically permanent fixture. The adorably scruffy (and hypoallergenic) dog can often be found relaxing in the corner in her pink bed– which perfectly matches the Union Beauty logo.
Union Beauty services include cuts ($65-90), blow-dries ($40-75), and a wide range of coloring, including single process ($75-225), double process ($125+), highlights ($90-200), and color correction (priced at consultation). Angela herself is a master stylist and colorist, and has a “keen eye for natural looks.” She’ll be working with Betina Levine, a former beauty school classmate who is also bringing her work out of Manhattan and closer to home in Brooklyn. Stop by to check the place out, and welcome them to the neighborhood!
849a Union Street (at Seventh Avenue), (347) 599-2001. Open 12 – 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday.