, 46 Elm St., has been offering hair-cutting and coloring services for more than 10 years. The business provides hair extensions, keratin thermal conditioning treatments, hairpieces and fillers, wig hair care, permanents, haircuts and styling services. It also offers bridal hair services as well as Japanese hair straightening. The salon is opened daily, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Los Gatos Patch: What did you dream of being as a kid?
Cary Biermann: As a fourth-generation San Franciscan, I remember feeling quite certain that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but the idea of being a salon owner came much later at the age of 30. Being a young single mother was difficult financially, and I knew enough from business college how to fail miserably by not preparing myself for the 3-5 year growth cycle that can occur. Of course, I never thought it would take this long to begin, but I am so glad I waited.
Patch: How does your personality play into your business?
Biermann: I'm artistic, creative, have strong business sense and an intense desire to do something meaningful in this world. In my culture, we are expected to do something useful in our community and in this world. In Hebrew, it's called Tzadakeh. Creating beautiful, hand-made human hairpieces for folks in need—whether the hair loss is due to illness, accidents, or genetics—it's my way of giving back through the American Cancer Society. I also create beautiful silky hair extensions and fillers for people with thin, fine or short hair. Talk about a rewarding job!
Patch: At what moment did you decide to open a business?
Biermann: I was woken up from a dream at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday in November of 2008! Seriously! I had been talking to my mother about our genetic hair loss issues and all of a sudden, I knew what I had to do. It all made perfect sense to me: COCO 10 Salon.
Patch: What inspired you?
Biermann: I apprenticed for almost three years with Ms. Cathy Lute, the artistic director for the famous San Francisco hairstylist Gary Gerard. (I studied advanced techniques at his academy as well). Cathy was an amazing hairstylist who did custom work for theatre and special effects for film. Boy, have the materials we used advanced since then! You can't believe what difference high-def cameras make now with hairpieces that are truly undetectable. Special effects labs in Hollywood have created new base materials that are transparent and that are what I use as well. (Think Beyonce', Lady Gaga and even Adele.)
Patch: Describe the biggest challenge of owning a business in the Town of Los Gatos?
Biermann: The money! We all know that it's expensive to open a business in the heart of downtown LG, so you've got to have a better idea. How do you differentiate your salon when there are close to 100 other hair salons in Los Gatos? By being the first and only specialty salon with the focus on hair extensions and hair fillers.
Patch: Describe the best thing about owning a business in the town of Los Gatos?
Biermann: I guess the cache' that goes with it! The beauty industry here in LG is super competitive and you'd better bring your "A" game or go home. Success here can be like making it in Manhattan or Hollywood. The client expectations are huge because the consumer cost can be quite high at anywhere between $350-$5,000. It's truly a luxury item in a tough economy.
Patch: What is one thing you would never change about your business?
Biermann: In what other business do your clients get up to leave, kiss and hug you tight with tears in their eyes, pay you quite well, and can't wait to see you again?
Patch: What is your business' greatest asset?
Biermann: The fabulous artists that work with me at COCO 10 Salon. These women are master-level hairstylists and designers with excellence in all hair-care services. We study and train together; inspiring each other to be great at what we do.
Patch: What is your favorite spot in town?
Biermann: The "heart of downtown." The location of COCO 10 Salon on North Santa Cruz Avenue and Elm Street and the energy it brings. People love shopping and dining here. As I said, the customer expectations are super high here ... but Los Gatos delivers!
Patch: What's one thing the community should know about you?
Biermann: I'm pretty down-to-earth for an artist, and a straight shooter. I haven't missed much in this life so far. I've had my challenges and hurdles to overcome like everyone, but very few regrets. If I am going to work hard/smart the rest of my life, I am going to have fun doing it. What a job! What a feeling!