“A woman should have three things: a good pair of shoes, a great handbag, and a fabulous hairdresser.” So goes the mantra of Jacob Neal, nationally renowned hairstylist and owner of the downtown salon bearing his name. And considering his laundry list of celebrity clients (most recently, Miley Cyrus of Hannah Montana fame) and the steady stream of customers populating his stunning 5,000-square-foot space, his words are practically scripture.
Neal first came to central Ohio to study at CCAD. A few short years later, he and his partner opened the Jacob John Salon in New York City at the corner of 59th & 5th, just steps away from the famed Plaza Hotel and next to Bergdorf Goodman. But Neal eventually grew tired of the New York scene and wanted more contact with his siblings. He commuted between Columbus and his New York facility until deciding to run the Columbus salon full-time in 1992. Nine years later, the salon moved to its current location in the newly-renovated Hartman building and has thrived ever since.
When asked about his clientele, Neal says, “They expect to be treated well and to be taken care of by knowledgeable forward-thinking technicians.” And for those who assume his salon only caters to high society, Neal points out, “The salon isn’t just for the socialite or for the downtown dweller; it’s for the mom, or the dental technician, or the schoolteacher. They come in, they don’t have to think, and it’s a great escape for them. It’s really for the whole community.”
In addition to the salon, Neal retails some of the finest products from around the globe. “Being surrounded by unusually beautiful items directly affects my state of mind,” says Neal, which regularly takes him to Europe and as far as India. “The store is an extension of my style,” he explains. “It’s about the way someone looks in hair and make-up, or the way someone’s home is decorated. It’s a lifestyle choice, which is the essence of connecting the salon to the home store.”