At Charles David Salon & Spa, building a booming business is all about cultivating creative talent and community.
By Kellie Speed Photography by Lisa Czech and Jack Foley
When David Honeycutt told his mother nearly 30 years ago that he was going to open a salon with his partner Charles “Buddy” Dudley, her response was, “but baby, you can’t even comb your hair!” Little did she know that the dynamic duo would go on to establish the award-winning Charles David Salons & Spas, now known as a top destination for the latest and greatest hair and beauty services.
Since launching their business in 1995, Honeycutt and Dudley have expanded to three locations (two in Plymouth and one in Hanover). The salons are sleek and modern, offering everything from expert haircuts and coloring to nail treatments, and skincare.
“Hair coloring has always been our greatest strength and what we are best known for. However, I think what really sets us apart from other salons is our five-star service, education and community involvement,” says Honeycutt. “Buddy is an accomplished colorist who has traveled and taught colorists across the county for many years. My background is in the hotel industry, where I was a general manager prior to opening our first salon.”
“David was able to bring hospitality to the beauty industry,” adds Dudley. “People can feel the warmth when they come in the door. It’s the experience that really keeps people coming back.”
From the time Charles David Salon first opened its doors, the founders were committed to finding ways to make a difference in their local community. Just eight months after opening, the salon hosted a fashion show to raise money for underprivileged women to get breast exams. “Nobody knew us from Adam, but we called up Randy Price (former anchor at WCVB Channel 5) and asked him to emcee the event. “Much to our surprise he said yes and the show was very successful,” says Dudley. “That was 28 years ago and it really fueled our philanthropic efforts, which have taken off from there.”
These days, the salon’s charitable roster includes local and national beneficiaries, for organizations like Scituate Animal Shelter, South Shore Hospital, the Ellie Fund, Heidrea for Heroes, Crossroads, South Shore Conservatory, Norwell Women’s Club, and more. “For 25 years we asked every employee to give back one Sunday a year and host a Day of Beauty,” says Honeycutt. “On our highest day we raised $25,000. It’s a feel-good kind of day that we have instilled in our staff. Community giving has been a big part of our business since day one.”
Ensuring their stylists stay on the cutting edge of hair coloring and styling trends has also remained at the forefront of their business plan. “For us, education has always been our strong suit,” says Honeycutt. “We are so education driven that we offer a two-day annual educational symposium that is in-house and mandatory, bringing top educators from around the country to Charles David.”
This commitment to inspiring and elevating their employees has helped Charles David Salon & Spa to develop and retain a highly skilled and dedicated team. Five staff members have been working for the company ever since its founding, while another 20 boast a 25-year tenure, and 40 more have worked at the salon for at least 15 years.
In addition to employing some of the top aestheticians, nail technicians, stylists and colorists in the region, the salon holds the title as the first ever inductee into the Redken Club 5th Avenue Hall of Fame after winning Redken’s Elite Salon of the Year award for a record six consecutive years. The salon is now ranked as one of L’Oreal’s Top 25 Salons in America.
The salon’s accolades and expertise may “sound expensive” to some, but Honeycutt points out that there are a range of service options available to customers. “We have stylists with all levels of experience from Level 1 up to Buddy’s experience, at a Level 6,” he says.
Honeycutt and Dudley have been together for 37 years. While the couple does not have children of their own, they consider their nearly 100 employees to be like family. “At some salons, fellow stylists see each other as competition,” says Dudley. “We have the most unbelievable team who care and help each other. I have never seen a professional family come together quite like we have.”