Tribune Photo/Joey Hedges Pictured (l to r) Christina Mills, Ron Morain, Chanele Tafulu-Sieberer and Safsten AhLoe

By Leilani Haywood
Tribune Reporter

Salon AhLoe’s team and unique approach to hair and beauty have clients flying in far as Switzerland for one-of-a-kind cuts and hairstyles. Salon AhLoe at 817 NE Lakewood Blvd right off I-470 attracts clients from all over the Kansas City metro area.

The owner, Safsten AhLoe use to do hair and modeling shows all over the world until he opened a salon in Lee’s Summit. “I based everything I did with hair on geometry,” AhLoe explains. “Once I put that in perspective, I realized that geometry is the key to understand hair and I created my own way of cutting hair.” AhLoe’s background as a painter and sculptor gave insight into how to make hair volume, thickness and weight showcase a client’s facial features.

Salon AhLoe’s staff includes Ron Morain, Christina Mills and Chanele Tafulu-Sieberer. Morain, a hairstylist, was born in Independence and graduated from William Chrisman High school in 1974. Formerly an electrician, he decided to dabble in the hair industry because of layoffs some electricians were facing. Morain went to beauty school and started doing hair in 1991. After 20 years of owning a successful salon and closing down in 2015, he decided to slow down the pace a little and join Salon AhLoe where he can continue his love for hair but not have the added stress of owning a salon.

Christina Mills, hairstylist, make-up and nail artist, was born in Olathe, Kansas and went to Grandview High School. After attending college at Longview, she soon decided that she’d rather continue using her artistic side. In 1990 she started attending Jone’s Store Cosmetology School where her career started to flourish. She has been in the industry for 30 years and throughout that time she has worked for many great salons and alongside some other great stylists. She’s traveled around the country and continues to involve herself with ongoing education on products, styles, services, and techniques that keep her in line with the latest trends. After moving to St. Louis due to her spouse’s occupational change, she thought she was throwing in the towel for hair. Once they moved back to the area she re-established herself with the Salon AhLoe crew where she continues to build her business.

Chanele Tafulu-Sieberer is the salon coordinator who manages the marketing and customer relations.

AhLoe entered cosmetology school in Kansas City to meet girls but fell in love with the industry. “I went in there for the girls and came out completely interested in just the industry,” he says. That love for the industry throttled him all over the world at international hair style and beauty shows where he cut and styled hair for celebrities and models.

His first job in the beauty industry was at a salon at Macy’s in 1978 when it was open in downtown Kansas City. A bartender at night, AhLoe took the initiative to seek out salon clients. “When I got to work, I would grab a bunch of cards and started to hustle business,” he said. “In three months’ time I was swamped.” He moved onto an upscale salon in Crown Center frequented by celebrities.

“I learned so much from them (Crown Center salon) and the high-level of professionalism,” he said. Macy’s called and offered him a management position. He was required to attend classes in Florida for in-depth training about the science and theory of hair color. “It really helped me a lot to understand the industry,” he said. “I learned to manage people and a business.”

While managing a Macy’s salon, AhLoe brought in instructors from New York City and Los Angeles to provide training on the latest trends in cutting, coloring and styling hair. He became an instructor for Command Performance and eventually moved to Minneapolis where he learned more about skin care and makeup.

In 1980, he opened a salon on Highway 40 in Independence, MO. A friend, Harold Downing owned a distributorship company, KMS Beauty Products, and asked him to take a look at a new product he was launching. “I broke down the chemistry of the product and decided I knew how to use it better than they did,” he said. “I had a different approach on how to sell the product and didn’t charge him for the training classes that I taught. All the models and hair dressers became clients and business blew up.”

AhLoe began traveling for KMS teaching classes and writing training manuals. “I actually developed a training manual for newcomers that aspire to be platform artists,” he said. “I taught all the things they needed to know to know about next level of artistry, so they could be qualified to teach and be platform artists.” A platform artist is a coveted position where they perform the latest hair designs for the seasons representing manufacturing companies.

He brings this passion for training into his online academy that he is creating at Salon AhLoe. Many hair stylists that he has trained have their own salons or they are training other platform artists. “My focus is on building the online academy to help people,” he said.

AhLoe has come a long way from selling leis with his blind grandmother, Eka Togagae, in Hawaii. But he credits her with instilling in him perseverance, generosity and a work ethic that stayed with him through a tumultuous upbringing in the roughest parts of Los Angeles and San Francisco until landing in Kansas City. He came to Kansas City to be with her while she fought sickness. She passed away in 1988. “She was a healer and an amazing woman for being blind,” he said. “She was a huge influence on my life.”

Salon AhLoe is open on Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call (816) 786-3109 to schedule an appointment. Salon AhLoe’s services include haircuts, styling, perms, Balayage, manicures, pedicures, waxes and brow tints. Visit online for more information about their services.