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Brady Street's Pin Up Salon

Mar. 27, 2012
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There's a new place in town to channel our inner “bombshell.” Pin Up (1224 E. Brady St.), a blow-dry bar and eye boutique that is the latest creation of Leroy Buth, is a “whole different animal” than Halo Hair Spa, Buth's endeavor across the street. Although new to Milwaukee, dry bars have been popping up in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Among the services: “VaVa Voom” hair, "red-carpet eyes" and quick up-dos for girls on the go. A grand opening takes place Saturday, April 28.

From your menu, this venture seems like a burlesque twist on the salon model.

We want to keep it girly. We obtained permission to use Gil Elvgren's (1914-1980) pin-up illustrations. They conjure memories of a past era, when my mother or grandmother would get a wash and set every week and wouldn't touch it until returning to the salon. We are appealing to that kind of thinking.

What's your favorite product line?

We use the S-Factor collection because it's a great product and they knocked out the new packaging.

Your slogan implies an all-girl clientele, so how popular is the men's eye enhancement?

It hasn't taken off yet, but once the word gets out it will. The enhancement is subtle and doesn't look like mascara. It's an application for men with fair features or light lashes. We give them an extra lift at the base for added depth that brightens the iris of their eyes. We've heard some unexpected responses from men, like it makes them feel thinner or look tanner.

What are the challenges of introducing an unfamiliar service?

It's a delicate situation in Milwaukee because people can be intimidated by something new or visually striking. Initially, it may not be well received because it's not understood. Someone came to Halo the other day and said, “I've lived around the corner for 12 years and this is my first time here.” It's weird, but it takes a while.

Can Milwaukee sustain the array of salon boutiques in the current economy?

Yes. The volume of salons and the competition can attract more customers to an area. You see that in neighborhoods like Clark Street in Chicago. At Pin Up we want to offer that one thing, done in a concise and professional manner at a lower price point. We don't just blow-dry hair; we lay a foundation.

What's the future of Brady Street?

It's been moving from retail to more service-oriented industries like food and entertainment. I was inspired to design and build out a positive, productive space that would contribute to the vibe.


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