Written by Sally I Barceló
Photography by Dan Austin
Business partners and visionaries, Kevin Abad and Jason Ellis, created Do or Dye, a hair salon brand that welcomes both industry leaders and clients alike.
From pearly blonde balayage to luxurious dark chocolate color, to haircuts and styling — Do or Dye hairstylists are seasoned, well-known for their long-standing reputations and expert knowledge. These stylists are some of the most coveted appointments in Lakeland.
On a warm and windy spring Florida day, clients sit in stylists’ chairs and make their way around Do or Dye’s incredibly designed space which embraces both form and function. With a cocktail in hand, the sound of running water, this space feels unusually relaxing for a hair salon.
“We wanted this salon to be different, better. Do or Dye is a salon by stylists, for stylists”
“We wanted to create more than just a hair salon for clients to enjoy,” Abad says. “Our goal was to cultivate a thriving culture and space that serves the stylists’ needs and inspires them to do their best work.”
Abad started in the hair industry at 19 years old and has more than 20 years of experience altogether. After working at several salons in Lakeland he decided to take that experience and venture down the path of becoming a business owner. He is a certified Schwarzkopf Master Colorist and completed his training in New York City.
“I love cutting hair so I’m always looking for new techniques to improve my skills,” Abad says. “I also have a lot of fun with color and I try my best to keep up with the current trends.”
On a mission to redefine the hairdressing experience in Lakeland, Abad and Ellis created a strategic plan to create a modern and design-forward hair salons in the city they call home, one that would have a clear vision and set of values in place.
“We wanted this salon to be different, better. Do or Dye is a salon by stylists, for stylists,” Abad says. “By creating a beautiful, modern, elegant, feminine space with top-of-the-line amenities, our stylists can offer an elevated experience to their clients.”
Abad says their goal is to take care of people’s hair in a way that helps them accomplish the look they are going for, while also keeping it healthy.
“We don’t offer keratin treatments, because it’s very unhealthy for your hair. Everyone’s hair is different and we want to honor that and work with that in mind”, Abad says.
Kevyn Murphy is the product of choice at the salon, a line of sustainably sourced, plant-based, and cruelty-free products with minimal synthetic chemicals and recyclable packaging.
From the products they use to the aesthetics of the salon – there is intentionality behind everything in the Do or Dye experience. Abad and Ellis collaborated with local artist Aaron Austin to design their logo and help select furniture for the salon to bring the brand to life.
“Aaron is so talented and inspiring that we fully trusted him in the design process,” Abad says. “Every concept he had, we would say ‘Yes’ to it.”
After a few iterations, the team agreed on what is now the Do or Dye brand. The space pulls in from minimalist Mid-century modern design sensibilities with Neo Art Deco and postmodern shapes and influences. While the space feels refined and elevated it also feels warm, relaxing, and inviting. Additionally, the subtle pastel-color accents in chairs, light fixtures, florals, and even product packaging, add a sense of playfulness and warmth which reflects Abad’s fun-loving personality.
To that end, the salon features a custom glass and wood base oval table that sits in the middle of the room and features a custom whimsical chandelier. The “waiting” area is an inviting space for clients to feel welcome prior to their appointment. Customers can enjoy a complimentary cocktail and feel rejuvenated before they even get in the stylist’s seat. It is just one way Abad and Ellis capitalize on the opportunity to give back to a client base that has helped make their vision a reality.
“We feel really grateful for the support we have from stylists, clients, and the community”
“We feel really grateful for the support we have from stylists, clients, and the community,” Abad says. “It has been a really rewarding journey and I’m thankful for it all, especially the opportunity to do this alongside Jason Ellis, an incredible business partner, and entrepreneur.”