Hairstylist Brian O’Connor always jokes that he is in two relationships: one with his fiancé, and the other with his work wife, Hayley Williams of Paramore. “I have two relationships that are my loves in my life,” O’Connor says. He’s been doing Williams’s hair since he was barely out of his teens and has been by her side ever since, continuing to travel with her on the road, styling her hair for shows and photoshoots. It was a no-brainer for the two to co-found their experimental hair color brand Good Dye Young, and now they’re embarking on a new business venture together with Fruits Hair Lab, a full-service salon opening in this month in Nashville, TN. Ahead, O’Connor gives us the exclusive details.
Taking the Brand IRL
It won’t surprise anyone that O’Connor and Williams didn’t want Fruits Hair Lab to be your typical hair salon. As the first brick-and-mortar professional extension of Good Dye Young, it had to be so much more, namely an inclusive space for clients to express themselves through the art of hair.
“Opening a salon was something that Hayley and I had had conversations about for a while now,” O’Connor says. “Obviously, having Good Dye Young was a big push for that. I've known since I was 12 that I wanted to do hair, and so it's always been this dream. As Good Dye Young grew, Hayley and I were talking more and more about it. It just really made sense for us to build out even more of that community that we've started with Good Dye Young and continue into a salon and hone that environment and really own it, and use it to hopefully be the foundation where we create really good work. That was ultimately the goal for Fruits.”
The Design Inspo
The salon’s name comes from Fruits, a Japanese magazine founded in the late '90s that captured Tokyo's street fashion scene, which O’Connor and Williams bonded over years ago when they first started working together. “This is where it all began for her and I, and that's how Good Dye Young came about,” O’Connor says of Fruits magazine. “So, it only makes sense that we call it Fruits because it's going back to where this all started as far as our working relationship, but also our friendship.”
As for the aesthetics, it’s all about the '90s club kid scene in New York City—the films Party Monster and Paris is Burning were major muses. “We wanted to pay homage to the simplicity of the Japanese aesthetic of Fruits magazine, but also at the same time have this clubby warehouse feel—it is bright and very light,” O’Connor says. “It's very much somewhere we would have seen in the early seasons of Sex in the City, somewhere Carrie would have gotten her hair done.”
Spanning nearly 2,000 square feet, the seven-chair salon is big and airy, bright white with pops of color. The aim is having everyone feel welcome when they enter the space. “It's always been important to have it feel like a community,” O’Connor says. “Our biggest thing was there's always room at the table. No matter if someone wants baby lights or full-blown rainbow-colored hair, I want everyone who walks in the door to feel like there's a place for them, and there's a person and a stylist that that could meet their needs and exceed their expectations. No matter if you plan on dropping $600 or only $60, I want it to feel like this is a place for everyone.”
Location, Location, Location
Both O’Connor and Williams have deep roots in Nashville, having partially grown up there, so choosing Music City was an easy choice for them. They wanted to bring a new vision to the local hair scene. “It’s very important to us to give back to our community and to our city,” O’Connor says. “It was also a great place to start because it is such a quickly growing city. But if you look at Fruits visually, amongst other salons within the Nashville proper area, there's not anything like it. I'm proud of that. Having Fruits and Good Dye Young is a big step in bringing in beauty and fashion more into our city that we love so much.”
Located at 1229 Martin Street in the up-and-coming Wedgewood-Houston area of Nashville, the neighborhood is gaining buzz as an art and music scene, filled with former factories converted into art spaces and studios. There are monthly art crawls in the galleries and hometown distilleries. “Fruits was an older building that used to have a punk rock record label, which I think is very cute,” O’Connor says. “We didn't find that out until after having the building.”
When O’Connor isn’t on tour with Williams, he’s behind the chair four to five days a week, so having Fruits will allow them to work together in a new capacity. “For Hayley, the passion is there because it's something that we enjoy talking about together a lot,” O’Connor says. “She has been big in curating the retail and a big part in the layout and design of Fruits. We wanted it to feel like a merge of both her and I and who we are as people, but also keep it simplistic. We made all the decisions together about naming it, the logo, business cards—everything—so it is 50-50 and that's why it's so great. I wouldn't want to make those decisions without her. She's been right beside me every step of the way.”
At Your Service
The full-service hair salon will offer everything from cut ($40+) to color (including single process, highlights, balayage, fantasy color; $95+), extension services and more. When O’Connor isn’t on the road with Paramore, he’ll be working behind the chair himself, alongside a full staff of professional stylists and colorists, with a specialization in vivid color. In addition to the Good Dye Young, Fruits Hair Lab will also stock Kevin Murphy (for traditional color), HairStory extensions and Living Proof, to name a few.
O’Connor hopes that Fruits Hair Lab will also serve as a place for their stylists to receive impactful training. “To continue to inspire people that want to do hair, and to hopefully teach them skills that will further their career successfully is really important,” he says. “What I love so much about what I do is inspiring people; it means the most to me. I hope that what happens with Fruits is it's this inspirational place where we're able to grow and cultivate amazing stylists who grow in the world and do big things. I really hope this is a place that continues that creativity through them.”