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August 1, 2014

'Tabatha's Salon Takeover': Inside Tabatha's Real-Life Salon

by Amy Kuperinsky, posted Nov 4th 2009 5:00PM
Tabatha's Salon TakeoverDuring last night's second season premiere of 'Tabatha's Salon Takeover,' the staff at a Chicago hair salon stood motionless and mostly dumbstruck as Tabatha Coffey forced their boss to pour $50 worth of hair products down the drain -- literally. Soon, the staff shed tears when, under Coffey's direction, they had to move a bunch of junk from the salon's basement to the home of Orbit Salon owner Eddie Cheung, an avowed "product junkie." By then, they knew that Tabatha had officially taken over.

Cast in the mold of Fox's Gordon Ramsay series, 'Kitchen Nightmares,' 'Tabatha's Salon Takeover' posits Coffey as a drill sergeant disciplinarian whose main goal is to chastise, reprimand and tell it like it is (brutally, of course).

Yet a visit to Coffey's own salon, Industrie Hair Gurus, yields a much different picture. Inside her Ridgewood, New Jersey locale, Coffey appears warm, approachable and miles away from the hard-driving persona hyped up on the show. The only request she makes of her staff is a reasonable one -- to cut a pesky tag off the back of her shirt as she snips and combs. "I'm tough, I'm talented, I'm taking over," says a stone-faced Coffey at the beginning of each episode.Tabatha's Salon TakeoverDuring last night's second season premiere of 'Tabatha's Salon Takeover,' the staff at a Chicago hair salon stood motionless and mostly dumbstruck as Tabatha Coffey forced their boss to pour $50 worth of hair products down the drain -- literally. Soon, the staff shed tears when, under Coffey's direction, they had to move a bunch of junk from the salon's basement to the home of Orbit Salon owner Eddie Cheung, an avowed "product junkie." By then, they knew that Tabatha had officially taken over.

Cast in the mold of Fox's Gordon Ramsay series, 'Kitchen Nightmares,' 'Tabatha's Salon Takeover' posits Coffey as a drill sergeant disciplinarian whose main goal is to chastise, reprimand and tell it like it is (brutally, of course).

Yet a visit to Coffey's own salon, Industrie Hair Gurus, yields a much different picture. Inside her Ridgewood, New Jersey locale, Coffey appears warm, approachable and miles away from the hard-driving persona hyped up on the show. The only request she makes of her staff is a reasonable one -- to cut a pesky tag off the back of her shirt as she snips and combs. "I'm tough, I'm talented, I'm taking over," says a stone-faced Coffey at the beginning of each episode.

But at her salon, while sporting the same trademark, edgy and short-platinum 'do, she's actually soft-spoken. Her eyes twinkle as she smiles. She seems at ease, maybe because she knows her floor isn't covered in hair, nor is her sink coated with grime.

A visit to Coffey's salon doesn't impress with bells and whistles. Housed in a mini-strip mall, the place is minimal and clean, not flashy or over the top. A simple poster advertising the Bravo show that made her a star, 'Shear Genius,' is the only indication of her star power (ok, and maybe the alleged three-month wait for an appointment). While her assistants are always ready to go (no surprise there), Coffey herself doesn't seem to make them walk on eggshells. Instead, she is completely down to Earth. Like any good stylist, she's also eager to hear about her clients, never harping on about or even mentioning her show. And this writer, having visited the salon twice, left with nary an errant bit of hair on her cheek.
Tabatha's Salon Takeover

Though Coffey's directives on the reality series might seem harsh at first listen, her advice to salon owners during her "takeovers" is pragmatic. Consider last night's visit as an example. Cheung said that after 23 years in the business, he's beyond stressed, "desperate" and $750,000 in debt from his two salons. So, a listening session with the staff was held to address their concerns, among them being a lack of structure and effective authority figure. Enter Coffey. Not beyond picking up clumps of hair and coating her hand in dust to prove a point, she expected the same from Cheung as he reluctantly let some some of his product drop down the drain. The message: out with the bad, and you might still have a viable business.

Six weeks later, on Coffey's return visit, the salon was attracting more walk-ins and the staff was boasting continual teamwork in a de-cluttered, radiant salon. By the episode's end, the head stylist was glowing, along with the rest of the staff as he conceded that tough love was necessary.

"I realized why she did what she did."

'Tabatha's Salon Takeover' airs Tue., 10PM on Bravo.

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chinartucker

Hello Tabatha I hope you get or at least get to read this message.My name is Chinar Tucker and i have been doing hair on the side for about 5 yrs now but just recently got my license in nov of last yr. right after i got my hair license i moved to Atlanta GA and my hopes of doing hair were so high now since i have been here they have gone down the drain because of what i am going thru to find a job that i love to do which is being a stylist and in Atlanta it is so hard and everyone has a salon. It is so hard to find a job that well pay me well for something i love to do. I have 3 kids to take care of and i finaly went back into restaurant management which that is what i was doing before but was not happy because i love to do hair. but it seems right now that i have to do whatever to take care of my kids even if it means doing something that i hate to support my kids.I watched your show today and wow i realized how much i miss doing hair and how much i want to do hair . but it is so hard to find a good paying job tell i build my clientel up. if you have any advise please email me at laelani1@yahoo.com thank you . p.s I am hoping you recieve this message.thank you

November 21 2011 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Donna

THE EPISODE WITH A TOUCH OF ELEGANCE SALON IS DRIVING ME CRAZY-THAT DEBRA PLAYING SUCH A VICTIM IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS; SHE IS A NARCISSIST AND NEEDS THERAPY NOT A SALON TO RUN, ITS ALL ABOUT HER POOR ME, POOR ME, POUR ME A DRINK PLEASE! THOSE POOR PEOPLE SHE HAS TO WORK WITH, OMG! I WOULDN'T GO THERE IF U PAID ME KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW.

LADYDEFILIPPO

March 21 2011 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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