Milvali Salon, a partnership between two talented women, Deb Monti and Jessika Adams, continues to thrive on a street where a dramatic shift is occurring. The salon has a loyal, almost cult-like following. Clients travel from Anchorage, St Louis, Chicago, New York, and throughout the state of California for its services. But take a walk on Union Street, between Gough and Steiner, and you will see lots of storefronts available for lease. Recent closures include MAC Cosmetics, BCBG, Betelnut, Osha Thai Cuisine, Cultive Yogurt, La Cucina and Dianne’s Estate Jewelry, just to name a few.
Anne Lawrence, a commercial real estate agent with Vanguard Properties calls it an adjustment: “Union Street is experiencing a temporary adjustment toward gentrification. Fresh, new and cool, are buzzwords to describe the businesses opening up in our changing city. And the prices are going up.” The average retail and restaurant lease on Union Street is $50 per square foot. However, British fragrance company Jo Malone recently moved in at 2157 Union, and signed at a rate of $90 per square foot.
Lawrence represented the available storefront at 2150 Union Street, which piqued interest from more than 10 retail groups. Like many of the available options nearby, the space is offered through a short lease of only one to two years due to planned building renovations from new owners. Fashion blogger and photographer turned retailer Kim Le Pham of Lace and Locks ended up taking the temporary spot for her new shop Morning Lavender.
Milvali Salon opened at 2040 Union Street in 2006, in one of the Cudworth Mansion’s 900 square foot front parlors. They expanded into the adjacent 900 square foot front parlor in 2010. “I think our neighborhood and beautiful building has been a key to our success,” says owner Deb Monti. “Our clients return for the personal attention, honest advice and great products we offer.”
Location Combined with Expertise are Keys to Milvali’s Success
Deb Monti is widely regarded as the premiere stylist in the Bay Area for hair extensions. Her work is lauded nationally for use of high quality products and superior methods. Deb now offers a one-on-one Extension Academy for licensed stylists. Hair extensions are a $2.6 billion dollar industry, yet statistics show that 65 percent of hair stylists who offer extensions do not have proper training. Deb developed Milvali’s own brand of superior hair extensions, available only to stylists with her training and certification.
Scenes from Milvali Salon’s Ten Year Anniversary Event:
Several Milvali stylists are leading the creative color trend and are known for their ability to deliver elegant shades of ombre, balayage, lavender and pink. Services are not limited to hair. Developed, tested and hand-picked by Deb and Jess, Milvali Salon also carries a signature line of mineral makeup in the latest trends and colors. The salon offers a full menu of services including hair color, haircuts and styles for men and women, makeup applications, brow shaping and tinting. Its newest services in San Francisco include eyelash extensions and Eminence Organic Skincare facials.
With a passion for their profession and a desire to own their own salon, Jess and Deb opened the first Milvali Salon in a small space on East Blithedale Avenue in Mill Valley in 2002. The salon in Mill Valley is widely recognized as the best spot in Marin for eyebrows and waxing. The Mill Valley location also offers facials, eyelash extensions and body waxing, as well as hair color, makeup applications and haircuts and styles for both men and women.
Photos by Herman Privette