Pink Dynamite looks like an explosion of color: bricks painted the colors of the rainbow, pink disco balls, multi-colored vines hanging from the ceiling.
Theresa Smith, a fuschia-haired hairdresser, spent months setting up Pink Dynamite inside SOKIM Salon Studios. She’s now one of three stylists operating at SOKIM, a collection of mini hair salons that opened in Petworth the last week of September.
Now complete with a coffee bar and lounge, SOKIM squeezes a lot into a small space. Co-owner and stylist Patrycja Mikos describes the space as a whole as well-lit and modern, like a French apartment: “It’s airy and a little bit of industrial, but also warm and inviting.”
Mikos and her husband Gregory Meeropol dreamed up SOKIM before the pandemic, but clients’ concerns about Covid pushed them further in the direction of developing small salons with one-on-one appointments. The couple also wanted to allow stylists to manage their own businesses, without having to pay exorbitant commissions to a salon owner.
“This is an opportunity for [an] individual owner-operator to come in, own their own space, decorate it how they want to, create their own schedule, set their own prices, and really launch their own business,” Meeropol says. “We provide the physical space, but our stylists who come and rent the space from us are able to decorate it, they come and go as they please.”
Each stylist can customize their space to match their vibe and their needs. As a specialist in balayage and natural-looking hair color, for instance, Mikos designed her studio with the lighting she needs for delicate dye work.
At SOKIM, clients are guaranteed the undivided attention of their stylist in individualized sessions.
“Whether it’s color, cuts, styling … we’ve got stylists in house who can address their needs,” Meeropol says. “We want them to know that they’re gonna get the one-on-one individualized attention that you would expect from a fantastic stylist.”
Three stylists have set up shop in the studio complex so far: Mikos, Smith and Kalizya Hutchinson. Finding Smith and Hutchinson felt “almost meant to be,” Mikos says, though she met them in radically different ways. She’d built connections with Hutchinson over the course of nine years, but ran into Smith entirely by accident.
“We were in line for a Covid test the night before I was traveling home to Poland. And I remember, I had just one business card and I decided to pass it to [Smith],” Mikos says. “We started talking and she called me and she asked me about the salon studios concept. And that was it.”
Meanwhile, there’s still one studio available to rent: “Our question mark for future,” Mikos calls it.
Though SOKIM still has room for growth, Smith, for one, is grateful that she’s gotten to opening day — that she’s done with “all these months of waiting for permits and just blood, sweat and tears, of painting and taping and making mistakes and having to start over.”
She’d been visiting clients’ homes as she waited for SOKIM to get off the ground, so working at Pink Dynamite for the first time was “an incredible feeling.”
“I just could not believe that I was shampooing someone’s hair in my own salon in my own place. I was fighting back tears. I was so excited,” Smith says. “Yeah, it’s an incredible feeling. And I’m just so proud of myself and I did it and we — you know, we all did it together.”
SOKIM Salon Studios will host its grand opening celebration Oct. 16.
SOKIM Salon Studios: 3901 Georgia Ave. NW, DC
Pink Dynamite: pinkdynamitedc.com