We couldn't really say why, but Amsterdam is awash in hair salons. In fact, when gloobles family member Hayley Daen's family first moved here back in 2011, that was one of the first things she noticed. She could barely go a block without passing 'een kapper'. But as with everything here at gloobles, we're far more interested in quality than quantity, which is why we don't frequent just any old hair salon. No, we like to go somewhere that's warm & bright and sends you out the door with a killer haircut every time. That's why we love
.To find out a bit more about one of our favourite salons in Amsterdam, we sat down with Assort's CEO Ken Kobayashi. We grilled him on everything from his go-to hair products to his dream client & everything in between. Keep reading to get all the juicy details.
gloobles: Hi Ken! We're so thrilled to pick your brain for a few minutes. Firstly, can you tell us the history of Assort?
Ken: Assort's timeline went like this:
2011 ASSORT TOKYO (AOYAMA, TOKYO JAPAN)
2013 ASSORT NEW YORK (EAST VILLAGE MANHATTAN, NEW YORK)
2014 CLASS AOYAMA OPENING (AOYAMA TOKYO, JAPAN)
2015 ASSORT HONG KONG (CAUSEWAYBAY, HONG KONG)
2015 CORRER (HARAJUKU, TOKYO JAPAN)
2016 VACANCY PROJECT NY (EAST VILLAGE MANHATTAN, NEW YORK)
2017 ASSORT AMSTERDAM (AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS)
2018 VOICE CO. produced by assort (SHINSAIBASHI OSAKA, JAPAN)
2018 CITRUS BAR TOKYO (AOYAMA TOKYO, JAPAN)
2019 CORRER→ rebranded to ASSORT HARAJUKU
2019 ASSORT NEW YORK & VACANCY PROJECT → rebranded to VACANCY PROJECT by assort
2019 USFIN ATELIER produced by assort St. Peters Salon (SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA)
2019 USFIN ATELIER produced by assort Town Hall Salon (SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA)
gloobles: Wow you really packed a lot into a pretty short period of time. Impressive! How would you describe Assort's concept? What sets it apart?
Ken: We are a Japanese-born, international hair salon group; we value Japanese ‘customer service’, along with well-known, fundamental and precise hair techniques. Our brand focuses on each individual staff’s individuality and creativity, rather than ‘a whole’ salon brand.
gloobles: You can totally feel that, the celebration of each unique stylist. While you've got a number of wonderful salons, we particularly love your salon on the Kerkstraat. It’s so bright & airy! What was the idea behind the design?
Ken: The space was originally a warehouse for ship equipment, then a photography studio, then a residential space, & now assort. We fell in love with the space when we first stepped foot-in, especially the surprisingly spacey back floor. The interior is an ‘industrial-design’ base & as minimal as possible.
gloobles: It definitely has that minimal, industrial vibe, but somehow it never feels cold or sterile. What about the neighbourhood? Is it significant to you guys?
Ken: Indeed. We love how the street is not too crowded compared to, let’s say, one block east or west. Quiet but not too quiet, and it also has a lot of foot traffic for walk-ins.
gloobles: Sounds like the ideal setup, really. Do you have a signature haircut?
Ken: Our strength is that we do NOT have a signature haircut as a brand, but each individual stylist has their own signature haircuts.
gloobles: That's probably why each of your salons feels so unique. You let each location develop & evolve its own vibe. Who is your dream client?
Ken: Personally, I have had the chance to meet and colour a famous, worldwide icon in the music industry (though I can’t mention the name, he is a former Beatle), so I believe I have achieved my dream client.
gloobles: Oh my god, now you have us curious! If you weren't getting your hair done at Assort, where would you get it done in Amsterdam? How about abroad?
Ken: I honestly have no knowledge of other salons in Amsterdam, but KINKI salons seem to be very trendy and stand out from the other ‘conservative’ salons in the city. If abroad, I would recommend our NY brand VACANCY PROJECT.
gloobles: Adding them to our list! Do you have a go-to hair product?
Ken: My favourite is Davines.
gloobles: Some of us at gloobles use that too. Their stuff always smells incredible. Now, for the last question. Where do you see Assort in 10 years?
Ken: Expanding to Canada (Vancouver), and more in Asia - maybe Vietnam & Malaysia. We would also like to put more effort into our volunteer missions. We currently spend time in Cambodia every October, but we would like to extend to more cities throughout the world.