Day (and Night) Laborers

The Factory is not your average hair salon

Friday, December 27, 2013 | 9:07 am

Remember that cool girl you knew in high school or college, who was so funny and hip and artistic? She had all these CDs from bands you never heard of, and all these crazy cool friends, and you secretly wanted to be one of them?

She grew up and opened a hair salon ten years ago on Colorado Boulevard.

Nina Fetter (seated, left) and Alfonso Afanador, (standing, right), with staff at The Factory.

“Yeah,” giggles Nina Fetter, co-owner of The Factory Hair and Makeup Studio.  “I think the 35-year old now looks back at the 25-year old, and is like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I did that…’ But you know, it’s worked out.”

Ten years ago, Nina and her working partner, Alfonso Afanador, were co-workers and a little more, in the same hair salon in LA. And they both wanted the same thing—a hair salon of their own that would be more than just your typical snooty, too-hip spot.

“That was in 2004,” said Fetter. “Al and I used to be a couple, but we’re no longer. But, we’re partners, we’re friends. We met in the hair salon industry, and we’re also both musicians. He plays guitar and bass, and I sing. I have a jazz band.”

Both knew that they could apply all those gathered artistic sensibilities in a place of their own.

“We were just kind of like, ‘We can do this,’” recalled Fetter, “Like we should totally create our own space, and we wanted to kind of take the things that inspire us in life, the art, the music, and just bring something new and fresh to Pasadena.”

Their salon, The Factory (a loving homage to artist Andy Warhol and his iconic ‘60s New York City art studio), is, as they envisioned, far more than a hair and makeup salon. The studio features original local art on the walls with monthly art openings with a live DJ. There’s even a disco ball and DJ booth up there on the far wall. You don’t get that at Supercuts.

Despite the artistic aspirations, there’s nothing pretentious or off-putting in this place. It’s as friendly and open as, well, Supercuts.

Says Fetter, “We’re just a very down to earth kind of a vibe. It feels like you’re going to your friend’s studio. Some people might think, you know, the name of the salon, ‘the Factory,’ they don’t understand or get it. But really, it’s my partner Al who came up with the name. He’s inspired by Andy Warhol, and all those stories of the parties, the movies, and the music there. So that’s how we came up with the name, and it just fit with the space, and just what we’re doing here, the artwork and the music.”

And like all the best artistic spaces, there’s a whole lot of learning going on at the Factory.

“We’re really very big on education,” explains Fetter. “Al trains our staff every week doing all his education stuff, keeping all of our staff trained and up to date with styles, and what’s happening in the industry. We have a lot of guest educators that come in as well.”

And there’s no bigger fan of the staff than Fetter: “We’ve just got a really amazing group of people here; very artistic, very fun and just welcoming and warm.”

Along with its range of hair services, the Factory also does facials and skin care, as well as makeup services, even groups, like wedding parties.

“Yeah, we’ve already done a lot of bridal parties,” says Fetter, “Like, groups of women will come in and get blowouts before a special night. We can do anything with hair, and anything makeup-related.”

So, if you’ve been looking for that girl all this time, she’s got a chair on Colorado Boulevard waiting for you, and your cool friends.

The Factory Hair and Makeup Studio is at 449 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena. (626) 229-9883.

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