Hairstylist opens cozy, modern Mid-City salon after 18 years of planning.
The first time Andrea Arcuri Hoover wrote out paychecks to her staff at Sweet Olive Salon she cried tears of joy.
The stylist turned salon owner has been doing hair for 18 years and gave herself 10 to become owner and operator of her own space.
At about the 10-year mark, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. That, along with the desire for more time to learn the business side of the profession, prompted Hoover to set the dream aside for another eight years.
In January of 2017, along with her husband, Richard Hoover, who works in film and TV in the camera and electrical departments, Andrea Hoover opened the orange doors at Sweet Olive. The salon comprises 1,000 square feet on the left side of a two-unit bungalow on Broad Street in Mid-City. It is an airy, homey space that was years in the making.
“We wanted it to look really clean and more modern,” says Hoover. “We thought it would pair well with the old New Orleans style of the house. We also thought it would be easy to clean.”
The couple turned to local artists, artisans and film industry friends to bring their design concept to fruition. Kristin Lekki, graphic designer and art director for commercial businesses, as well as film and TV, designed the logo and helped the couple plan the space. Lekki’s work has been featured in “Fantastic Four,” “The Big Short,” HBO’s “True Detective” and CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans.”
Top Left, Hoover worked with Chris Reed of 330 Design and Fabrication to build the “floating” stations, which feature easy-to-clean steel tops. Pine floors run throughout the space. Top Right, Mixed media photos with hand embroidery by Hannah Joyce adorn the wall adjacent to the succulents. Hoover plans to swap out the artwork throughout the year to spotlight the work of different local artists. Bottom Left, The interior is primarily white with natural wood floors, columns and trim. Pops of color throughout break up the white. Bottom Right, The interior is primarily white with natural wood floors, columns and trim. Pops of color throughout break up the white. Bottom Left, Hoover’s favorite design element is the reception desk designed by Reed. It has a Carrera marble top and a spot custom made for a turntable. Records, which are cued up throughout the day, as well as some of the salon’s products, are housed in shelves built into the desk. The color of the desk is “Bling Bling” yellow by Behr.
Tattoo and hand-painted sign artist Jamie Ruth of Treasure Tattoo created the salon’s sign. Chris Reed of 330 Design and Fabrication built the front desk and “floating” stations, which are all fitted with steel tops.
“I’m so pleased with how [Reed’s] cabinetry and the stations worked out,” says Hoover. “They have soft closing drawers and hooks. They are so easy to clean and look so pretty.”
The interior is primarily white with natural wood floors, columns and trim. Pops of color throughout break up the white.
“When looking at the colors of yellow for the reception desk, there was one called Bling Bling,” says Hoover. “Of course I had to have the Bling Bling.”
The reception desk has a Carrera marble top and a spot custom made for a turntable. Records, which are cued up throughout the day, as well as some of the salon’s products, are housed in shelves built into the desk.
Among the many homey touches are elements Hoover incorporated from her past, including old telephone pole transistors from her uncle’s collection. A wall of succulents sit on shelves made of wood from her father’s Civil War-era barn in LaPlace.
Top Left, Hoover is originally from LaPlace and implemented many personal, homey touches to the design of the salon. Top Right, Jo Morris recently graduated from John Jay Beauty College and enjoys giving clients vintage looks. Bottom Left, Elizabeth Carr is the salon’s esthetician and used to work with Hoover at another salon, before Sweet Olive came to fruition. Bottom Right, McKenzie Ziegler is a stylist, colorist and makeup artist who went to school for esthiology and cosmetology and trained in New York until moving to New Orleans in 2011.
“My grandmother recently passed away and she was so excited about the salon,” says Hoover. “So, I feel like there’s a lot of her spirit here. She taught me how to welcome people. I wanted people to feel comfortable and at home here. It’s not just a salon, it’s a welcoming space.”
Mixed media photos with hand embroidery by Hannah Joyce adorn the wall adjacent to the succulents. Hoover plans to swap out the artwork throughout the year to spotlight the work of different local artists.
Weary of the ubiquitous rectangular mirrors employed in many salons, Hoover opted for round to break up the sharp lines in the rest of the space. An olive green sofa with a tufted, circular back in the reception area and vintage, rounded olive green chairs in the room where the stylists wash client’s hair also serve as a contrast to the more linear aspects of the design.
Hoover says the chairs, sourced at a set decoration sale, were the first things the couple bought after deciding on a name for the salon. While on vacation, they were brainstorming and decided to use a name that was on a list of potential child names compiled before learning they couldn’t have children.
“We were thinking, ‘we aren’t going to use that name,’ and sweet olive is one of my favorite smells in New Orleans,” says Hoover. “This is our baby.”
Left, Kristin Lekki, graphic designer and art director for commercial businesses, as well as film and TV, designed the logo and helped the couple plan the space. Tattoo and hand-painted sign artist Jamie Ruth of Treasure Tattoo created the salon’s sign. Right, The “living wall” of succulents features wood made from Hoover’s father’s Civil War-era barn in LaPlace. They were originally used as centerpieces at Hoover’s wedding to Richard Hoover, who also is part owner of the salon.
At a glance
Company Name: Sweet Olive
Address: 1230 Broad St.
Office completed: January 2017
Furnishings: Chris Reed designed, built and installed the front desk with built in record player, and “floating” stations; Kristin Lekki did branding and graphic design; Jamie Ruth Dehlin of Treasure Tattoos hand painted the sign.
Square footage: 1,000 square feet
Primary goal: We wanted the space to feel welcoming and relaxing with clean lines.
Biggest challenges: Getting the financing for the buildout. We were introduced to Iberia Bank through a personal and professional friend. Once that part was established, it was a big worry off our shoulders. Iberia Bank has been so great to work with. The other challenge was dealing with contractors ever changing time lines. We just had to be patient and it payed off.
Standout feature: Standout features would be the living wall and the front desk. The living wall was made from wood from my family barn in Laplace. We made them for centerpieces for our wedding and repurposed them for the wall. It reminds me that we are all growing and deserve attention and care. The front desk rocks! Chris [Reed] knocked it out the park with this one. He incorporated the record player that I’ve always dreamed to have in my salon. I like a dance party and music is so important for inspiration.