FOR BRANDILYNN ROBICHAUX, co-owner and business and development director of Bryan Christopher Salon in Madisonville, getting to know the clients is the highlight of her “hustle and bustle” work day. Bryan Christopher is a full-service hair salon that is one of the premier destinations for hair design and color applications on the Northshore.
“When scheduling appointments, we try to get a feel for what the clients’ needs are so that we can see what stylist will be the right match for them,” said Brandilynn. “From start to finish, we cater to the client. We want to give them what they need and want-whether it is the latest trend or a more conservative style.”
Guests of the salon may not find Brandilynn styling or trimming hair, but her presence is felt by all. In addition to managing the scheduling and accounting functions of the salon, she works diligently to accommodate both the clients’ and stylists’ needs. The actual hair care is done by Brandilynn’s husband and salon co-owner, Bryan Christopher Robichaux, along with four other licensed cosmetologists, all of whom have at least five years of experience and possess extensive continued education in their craft.
The oldest of ten children, Brandilynn, who has roots in Southeast Louisiana, spent her childhood moving with her family throughout the South. After graduating from prestigious Hoover High School in Hoover, Alabama, she returned home to Louisiana to attend LSU.
“Being the oldest of 10 kids basically prepares you for running a business because you learn at an early age how to run a household,” said Brandilynn, who’s 14 year old son, John Joseph, or “Joe-Joe”, is a year older than her 13 year old youngest brother.
She attributes her entrepreneurial spirit not only to her birth order, but also to her family history of business owners. Brandilynn’s paternal grandfather founded Garrity Construction Corporation in Gretna, and her brothers have a metal fabrication business. Her aunt and uncle own and operate Folse pharmacies on the Westbank of New Orleans.
When she and her husband opened Bryan Christopher Salon, both of their families helped with tasks such as cleaning and answering phones and they continue to act as cheerleaders for the salon. In fact, Brandilynn’s sister, Elicia Ocmond is the receptionist.
After college, Brandilynn worked for eight years as an operations administrator for an oil and gas company in Madisonville, where she performed business and accounting work. She worked for an accounting firm in Mandeville for one year before partnering with her husband to open the salon in July of 2008.
“Owning and operating his own salon has been Bryan’s lifelong dream,” she said. “We wanted to do it together.” The partnership maintains an ideal balance: Brandilynn manages the business details of the salon while Bryan, a Redken Certified Master Specialist and graduate of John Jay Beauty College, focuses on the creative tasks.
“My previous work experience was in very demanding and high pressure environments. And while my work in the salon is hectic, it is at a more relaxing pace,” she said. “I love my work in the salon because I feel I am making a difference in the life of all of our hairstylists and clients. I enjoy being the bright spot in someone’s day by genuinely enjoying their company and offering them a happy, tension-free place to relax and be pampered.”
There wasn’t any question as to the location of the salon. Bryan has lived on the Northshore since he was five years old. He graduated from Mandeville High school and attended Southeastern Louisiana University. The area is also where Brandilynn began her business career. “It’s very family oriented,” she said. “it has the advantage of an urban area, but you don’t have the crime and commotion of the city.”
Situated in the Madisonville Marketplace on Highway 1077 in Madisonville, Bryan Christopher Salon has the feeling of a New Orleans home. Wrought iron lights, which are replicas of street lamps in the French Quarter, illuminate each stylist station, and fleur-de-lis decorations hang from the rose-colored accent walls. “We want it to be a home away from home for our clients,” said Brandilynn. “Our house is your house.”
A unique feature of the salon is that both owners are on site to take care of any customer needs, making the atmosphere personal and customer-friendly. “Our salon is very friendly and professional. We love to give our clients the ‘white glove treatment’”, she said.
Guests at Bryan Christopher Salon can choose from three different premier hair care product lines: White Sands, Redken, and Pureology. With a tier system of pricing, clients can opt for a precision cut, blow dry style, formal updo, conditioning treatment, perm or body wave, eyebrow and lip wax, impurity removal and thermal straightener. A variety of color applications and treatments are also available for both men and women.
“This is our dream,” said Brandilynn. “We want our stylists to be successful, we want to be successful, and we want our clients to be happy.”