Meet Lionel Renard
“I’ve been a hairstylist for twenty five years,”Lionel Renard explains from the back patio of his salon. He’s recently finished coloring a client’s hair, working in front of a picture window onlooking West 3rd Street. You would assume that an eponymous salon wouldn’t actually include the person its named after working there—but that’s not how Lionel does it. The salon is his passion and you will almost always find him here…unless he’s at one of his many other salons.
Lionel is originally from France and grew up in this industry. His parents had salons in Paris and he has spent twenty years growing his own business in hair. “I started out in Miami, where I managed a salon and worked my butt off,”he says. “About twelve years ago, I started commuting to New York, back and forth between there and Miami on a weekly basis, doing three days in New York and four in Miami. I developed a very nice clientele in New York but had to create a better schedule since it was too crazy to be on a plane every three days.”
“It was nuts,”he says. “But it was very rock and roll and very fun.”
He eventually added Los Angeles into the mix of places he would travel to, coming out West a week a month. His wife—who is an actress—eventually moved to the city and, when they had a son, he decided it was time to stay in Los Angeles despite owning salons in both Miami and New York City. Thus, he decided to open his own salon in Los Angeles to expand his brand.
“I started looking for the perfect spot,”he says. “I fell in love with West 3rd Street since there are great stores and a little community. It reminded me a lot of Miami, in Coconut Grove, where my salon is. It’s similar in that it’s walkable and very community oriented. That’s unusual for Miami and LA. I was looking for the right spot and the right time and would drive around West 3rd Street looking for a very long time.”
The space eventually became available and the salon opened on West 3rd Street in September of 2013. It was formerly a salon but was completely different: it was dark and unapproachable with the entrance in the rear, where the patio is now. “I wanted to switch it completely around,”he explains. “It looked like a dungeon! It wasn’t inviting.”
With many salons on the street, Lionel is a bright and refreshing addition. He’s excited about the area and goes out of his way to help out in any way he can. “West 3rd has all these elements that you are looking for when opening a service or business,”he says. “I was looking for a place that had great cafes and boutiques, all these elements that make sense for a salon. I’m here for the long run too: this isn’t a five year term. I’ve decided to make this my home for a while. All these elements are really key to me.”
“Meeting every single store has been great,”he says. “It really feels like a community and you didn’t find that everywhere.”
“West 3rd Street feels local. I’ve been in Los Angeles for over seven years and no one want so to deal with places like Rodeo Drive. The success here is that you have mom and pop stores that are a bit more personal than other parts of town.”
“You feel that walking into every boutique and restaurant on West 3rd Street,”he adds.
THOUGHTS ON THE STREET
I think it’s a hip promenade. We have quality stores and mainstream stores that make it a definite destination for shoppers. It’s great for people looking for things out of the ordinary. It’s very special.
WHERE HE SHOPS
I love to go to Little Door and Doughboys and Toast. I love eating at Son Of A Gun and getting cupcakes and sweets for our clients at Magnolia and Fonuts. I never go to the same place though. That’s the thing: there’s so much here! What a treat to have such quality here!