Kevin Lichen, the owner of Nadia’s, has lived in Englishtown for 12 years. He began working as a hairdresser at his father’s barber shop and then worked in a salon at the Freehold Raceway Mall, before finally opening up his own salon on Main Street in Englishtown called Head’s Up.
Lichen decided to take the risk of opening his own salon and put his life savings into the venture. He said that Englishtown was a perfect location because at the time there was no beauty salon in the Borough.
After several years, Lichen changed the salon’s location when he heard about a new strip mall being constructed on Wilson Avenue and renamed the salon after his daughter.
Soon Lichen realized that running a salon was not as easy as he thought. At the beginning of 2012, he said that he realized his business was not headed in the right direction and that he needed a third party to come in and help resolve the management and financial issues.
“It was a wake up call,” Lichen said.
Enter Tabatha Coffey. Coffey is a successful business woman and hair designer from Australia who rocketed to fame on her reality show “Tabatha Takes Over,” which airs on the Bravo network.
As an owner of a salon, Lichen has watched “Tabatha Takes Over” for many years and with his salon in jeopardy he said he thought that Coffey would be the right person to whip the business back into shape. He contacted Coffey, and after numerous interviews with Bravo, his salon was chosen to be on the show.
The no-nonsense Coffey showed up at Nadia’s in September 2012 ready to fix the salon’s problems and immediately took the bull by the horns, according to Lichen. While they knew that they would be on the show, Lichen said that he did not know when Coffey specifically would be arriving and the first day of filming was a surprise.
Both Lichen and his employees described Coffey as “scary and intimidating” upon first meeting her, but soon realized that she was an extremely nice person that just did not put up with any excuses.
During the week of filming, Coffey was vocal about helping the staff and Lichen communicate better and work more as a team. “We basically knew what we had to do, but we, being stubborn, had to hear it from a third party,” Lichen said of himself and his staff. Coffey also helped Lichen become a better boss. He said that “she made him grow a set of balls” and take responsibility for his actions and to be consistent.
Along with the managerial help, Coffey also gave the salon a new redesign that is more contemporary and fresh.
One thing that did not need much improvement? The hair styling.
Danielle, a hair dresser at the salon and one of Lichen’s first employees, said that she was pleased that Coffey approved of the staff's hair dressing skills because “that was the most important thing.”
The Nadia’s Salon episode of “Tabatha Takes Over” aired in late June and since then business has increased, according to Lichen. Beyond that, however, nearly everything has improved. Coffey’s “take over” instilled more motivation in the staff, as well as in Lichen. He said that his debt has diminished, everyone is now getting paid on time, and the staff arrives at the salon on time.
“Her coming into the salon definitely changed a lot of our ways, thinking and stuff like that and us getting along and rebuilding relationships,” Lichen said.
As for the overall experience?
“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Lichen. Hopefully, he won’t have to.