Community | May 26, 2016

Growing Up With Aveda

A New York City Success Story


More than 30 years ago a young salon manager, Scott Buchanan, met Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher at a beauty industry trade event and was immediately taken with Horst, his vision for the industry and his amazing products powered by botanicals.

This magical meeting led Scott to stocking the brand on the shelves of a local salon in New York City, thus introducing Aveda to the Big Apple.

Fast forward to 2015 and Scott is the founder of Scott J Salons and Spas, a family of four highly successful businesses in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

We recently sat down with the man himself so he could share his fascinating story.

Planting A Seed
In 1985 I ran the Sullo Salon at the Marriot Marquis Hotel. I met Horst at the International Beauty Show and was blown away by him, his simple approach to hair and Aveda. I loved Aveda’s use of botanical-based ingredients, practices and respect for the environment.

Establishing Roots
I convinced Sullo to carry Aveda, and Horst was thrilled to have a presence in his first NYC salon. He gave us tons of support and education. Hauns Korpela, now the Creative Director for Scott J Salons and Spas, and Horst’s assistant then, came to work with us, and we’ve been together ever since. We offered Shave and Color Consultations, makeup touch-ups and mini- massages at a little table and we had one skin care room.  I started representing Aveda at trade shows, cutting hair and explaining the product.

Above Scott, Center, with part of the Scott J Salons and Spas staff at the 2015 Aveda Catwalks for Water in New York City; the Scott J team won two of the night’s coveted awards, Best Hair Look and Best Overall Look.

Branches Grow
In 1990 I opened the first Scott J Salon on the Upper West Side. It was 450 square feet with five chairs and two sinks. We had five stylists, three of whom are still with me. One year later we moved into a 750 square foot salon with retail space, a manicurist and 10 stations.

Several years later we opened our second NYC location near Columbia University. The door was steel, there were metal bars on the windows and everyone thought we were nuts being there.  But we had 1200 square feet, 10 chairs and two Aveda treatment rooms.

The Tree Flourishes
Today we have four salons with 220 employees.  And I am proud of our education programs, which run Wednesdays from 9-11:30 for 36 assistants. I continue to expand to give other people opportunities. It’s amazing to work with partners who come in at 19 years-old and then see them grow, change, become self-sufficient and make great money.

The interior of Scott J’s Upper West Side location in Manhattan.

Join us in congratulating Scott on his special anniversary by sharing this story! Remember to use the hashtag #LivingAveda

Curious what three Aveda products Scott can’t live without? His favorites are here: