Samson: Changing How We View Hair
At Samson of Chicago, hair replacement techniques are second to none ... and so is the client service.
At Samson, three-time winner of Best of Chicago Award in the Hair Replacement category, the philosophy is simple but revolutionary: Hair is a canvas for self-expression whether we shave it or replace it.
“We want to be the leader in steering the market to a place where it’s cool for men and women to be aware that they have both the option and the opportunity to change the way they look,” says Samson’s visionary owner, Karen Murphy, who opened Samson in 1994 because she wanted to offer people something “unique, different and fresh.”
Murphy started out as a hairdresser in a salon but didn’t initially care for it. She eventually ended up in London for several years, doing a lot of hair-related work for fashion shows, photo shoots and theater. There she began experimenting with laces and materials for changing performers’ hair for particular roles onstage. When Murphy returned to the United States, she spent several years in hair replacement with the Hair Club for Men. “I immediately loved hair replacement,” she says, “and I found I was really good at it.” Soon, Murphy was ready to open her own business, and Samson was born.
The concept of customization is central to how Samson views hair
“Samson is hip and fashionable,” Murphy says. “We focus on customization for our clients. We are in the practice of creating unique shapes and styles that are very atypical of what has been seen in the industry for years and years. With our clients, we focus on giving them hair only where they need it; hence, the shapes are more unusual.”
It’s not just the “look” that is different at Samson, however. “Our attitude also sets us apart,” explains Murphy. “We don’t want clients to think simply in terms of ‘hair loss is bad, hair replacement is good.’ We want them to think about a larger picture: that making changes in your appearance is fun and that it doesn’t have to be permanent. We want to convey the attitude that it’s hip to replace or to shave, and that they should feel free to try things out, see what works for them and even change it after a while if they want to try something different. If what is best for you is getting a very short haircut to camouflage thinning hair, go for it; if you feel like later changing it and having thicker hair for a while, that should be an option. It’s fun and no big deal.
“Nowadays, people are all about improving the way they look. We no longer want to look like our parents or our grandparents. We have Botox and skin peels; there’s a need to look good to remain competitive in our workplace and in our personal lives. It’s accepted that we make changes in our appearance, and that includes what we do with our hair. Shave it. Make it thicker. Change the shape. And then try something totally new when you feel like it.”
Samson’s range of services makes it easy to change your hair
Samson offers a wide range of options for its clients, including its exclusive “undetectable hairline.” This service uses Naturlite, a special fiber that allows airflow to the scalp, and Biomeld, which creates a new layer of transparent skin for exceptional attaching. Samson’s menu of services also includes non-surgical hair grafting, hair extensions, laser hair loss therapy, weaving, integration and more. In addition, the staff at Samson utilize a special technique for cutting that makes hair appear thicker.
Although the name Samson has a masculine ring to it, Murphy says that about 40 percent of their current client base are women. As a result, when Samson moved into a new location last year, the decor was altered slightly to suggest a more “unisex” spa-like atmosphere.
The staff at Samson are expert and dedicated, with many of them “lifers,” and Murphy is very much a hands-on owner. The Main Street location, just west of the Loop, is another plus; equally important, Samson is blessed with plenty of parking, a rarity in downtown Chicago.
“One of our most important characteristics is that we have a ‘no stress’ environment,” Murphy says. “Our consultations involve no pressure. There aren’t complicated agreement forms to sign. And because all of our prices are reasonable and clearly set out, there’s no need for tricky negotiations.”
“Ultimately, we’re not into changing clients,” Murphy says. “We’re into enhancing them. We’ll augment or modify what you have in the way that works best for you. Samson is a hip, fashionable hair replacement salon -- but for people looking for that little something extra.”
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