Megumi and Shin bring Japanese style to The Big Apple
Kida NYC is a busy business nestled in Lower Manhattan, New York City. We talked to co-owner and stylist Megumi Kida about their unique salon, where a team of 10 bring Japanese style and service to The Big Apple.
Tell us the story behind your salon.
Megumi: I’ve been living and working in NYC for almost 10 years. I always wanted to go into business for myself, but it seemed impossible. In the past couple of years, many unexpected things happened and I realized that life is too short. So one day, I decided to start right away and create my own business – the salon I had always dreamed of: Kida NYC.
Why did you make the move from Japan to New York?
My mom lived in the States for a long time. She always told me to come here to meet different people, have experience, and grow up. Why NY? Why not?
How is the salon business different between Tokyo and NYC?
There are some differences in terms of laws and compliance, but otherwise, it is almost the same. Most of the people in Tokyo are Japanese, or at least Asian, so they have the same kind of hair and needs. New York is the opposite. Here everybody is different, so it’s more interesting for me!
How do Japanese style and culture make your business different?
Japanese people are polite and have a great sense of hospitality and attention to detail. These qualities are perfect for a hair salon. We’re taught to be this way by our parents and society as we grow up, so these qualities come to us naturally. However that’s not always the case here in New York, and people here really appreciate our service.
What’s your community like in NYC?
Our local community is great. We’re at the edge of Chinatown, Little Italy, and other old neighbourhoods. People here are a mix, like Asian, European, Jewish, young and old. This makes it interesting and very comfortable as an immigrant. The area feels like it’s coming up and new businesses keep opening, so it’s exciting also!
How did you start using Timely, and how is it working for you?
We were working on our website with my friend / graphic designer from Mexico. There were always issues with the old appointment system, and so our friend found Timely for us.
Timely has been working great. We have some analogue people here, including me, so it’s great that everything is so simple and easy. We still have problems or questions sometimes, but you always respond and solve them so quickly, so I’m happy.
“The best thing is that you guys are not too business-like, you’re more friendly. When we work together I feel like I’m working with human beings and that I can trust you.”
How’s it going with a young child and a new business?
I’m super lucky to have a great supportive husband who works as a barber, and also all our staff and customers are so sweet to my baby. So I’ve never had a hard time at all, just a fun time.
“Our salon and the baby were both born last year, so it feels like having two kids. I always worry, care, and love, like any other parent.”
How do you and Shin share business duties?
Since our baby was born, I’ve been at home more doing more business admin, and Shin is there every day working as a barber and taking care of the space. Being able to manage all the appointment and customer info from anywhere is very helpful now that I work from home.
What’s the philosophy behind your salon?
I’ve worked mainly with two salons, one in Tokyo, one in NY, and this experience taught me a lot. I always dreamed that someday I’d create a salon where customers and staff are equally happy. That has been my mission.
Your salon has a team of 10 – do you have any tips for managing so many stylists?
When we hire new people, we see their personality and if they are good fit with our team. I think we have good eyes for it. We’ve never had any problem with anyone – we just keep having fun. They are simply our family, so as it gets bigger, it gets more fun!
Thank you so much Megumi, it’s been a pleasure.