Jet Rhys Salon: Still Cutting, Coloring And Styling

Hillcrest salon maintains reputation for 20 years

As the saying goes, everything old is new again.
Jet Rhys Salon has been in Hillcrest since 1992, but they recently re-modeled the space, and created one of coolest salons in the city.
Almost twenty years ago in San Diego, the cute couple and owners moved from their chairs at Vidal Sassoon in New York, loaded up the buggy and moved to the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego.
After working in Chicago, Beverly Hills, and New York, the married couple, Jet and Rhys, wanted to make a change. The only parameters they put on themselves was to avoid opening in a city that already had a Sassoon salon.
Originally contracting the architecture firm, The Front, the new design was created by Public–a local company known for its’ clean, modern, and very cool conceptual looks.
“As the second largest city in California, San Diego felt like the perfect fit for us. We really wanted to be in the downtown neighborhood, but at that time it felt abandoned and really not that safe. We were driving north from the Gaslamp toward the airport to leave, when we stumbled onto Hillcrest. We walked past a For Rent sign in the window, we signed a lease, and three months later we moved to San Diego,” Jet says.
The first year the salon opened, Self Magazine dubbed it one of the best spots for colorists and stylists in the country. “The salon blew up. We almost couldn’t handle the business,” Jet says.
Jet Rhys is different from other salons in San Diego. They pride themselves on their apprenticeship program. “Like on the East Coast, we don’t offer booth rentals (where a Cosmetology graduate with a license is able to come into a salon and begins working). We believe in the training process,” Jet says.
Jet Rhys Salon demands their stylists be trained in the Jet Rhys style. With four levels of competence to move through, a Jet Rhys stylist just out of beauty school, will start off as a level one. On average, they’ll stay there one to two years. Once she or he proves themselves, based on repeat clients, they are able to move on to the next level.
By the time the stylist is at level four, (there’s only one stylist who holds that title, working in the Solana Beach location), the next stop is Creative Director. The Creative Director is able to train the other stylists and work on clients with more avant-garde, edgy, and modern cuts. Most stylists are a level two to three.
The salon also separates church and state–cut and color. No jack of trades master of none here. Either you’re a master cutter or master colorist.
Jet is the colorist and Rhys the cutter.
A year ago the salon opened a second location in Solana Beach and Jet says that both she and Rhys feel lucky and blessed to have such a thriving business.
“What sets us apart is the rare mesh of a more urban sophisticated salon experience. Although there are a lot of fantastic salons in San Diego, few have our city funkiness,” says Shawn Zarazua, the guest service concierge for Jet Rhys.
Photo by Rebekah Sager