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Management Practices

Personal Compass: Umbrella Salon

Stacey Soble | February 24, 2016 | 8:52 AM
The trio behind Umbrella Salon in San Jose, California: Kien Hoang, Michelle Givens and Khiem Hoang.

Located in Silicon Valley, Umbrella Salon caters to an upscale class of young professionals with an industrial design punctuated with statement art pieces. Kien Hoang, his brother, Khiem Hoang, and Michelle Givens co-founded the salon in 2000, with the intention of uniting some of the Bay area’s best talent under one roof through a mission of always putting education at the forefront.

Today, the trio keeps the bustling salon running seamlessly while also tackling the world of fashion and hair shows by dividing the managerial tasks and leveraging their personal strengths. For several years, Kien has been an Oribe educator and an in-demand stylist at Fashion Week, and he recently designed the hair for James Franco’s upcoming fi lm Yosemite. As a senior creative stylist, Givens plays a pivotal role as an elite educator within the Umbrella community. After years in California’s commercial and residential banking sector, Khiem oversees the business side of the salon, bringing a unique perspective on consumer demographics and integrated marketing with a creative side that extends into photography and web design.

In a unique Personal Compass, we get a day-in-the-life perspective at how this triumvirate operates:

What time do you go into the salon, and how much time do you spend there?

Kien: “Between 10-11 a.m. for 10-12 hours.”

Khiem: “9 a.m., and I’m there until 4 p.m., but I typically spend from 8 to 11 p.m. at my home offi ce.”

Givens: “I’m up at 5:45 and roll in early, as I generally open. I’m usually in the salon 7-12 hours a day.”

What’s for breakfast?

Kien: “Soft-boiled eggs, wheat toast and, sometimes, deadly bacon slices.”

Khiem: “Fresh-ground coffee and a bowl of Cheerios with the kids.”

Givens: “A soy latte or two.”

Biggest waste of time each day?

Kien: “Commuting.”

Khiem: “Trying to help my fully capable boys find their soccer cleats, jackets or skinny jeans.”

Givens: “Shopping online. It’s a slippery slope.”

When do you get your best ideas?

Kien: “Late at night.”

Khiem: “When driving to work.”

Givens: “At night, when the moon is bright, and the kids are asleep.”

What is one luxury item you worked hard to purchase?

Kien: “Travel for pleasure.”

Khiem: “My professional camera equipment.”

Givens: “I prefer experiences over items—I’d rather travel the world and create luxurious memories.”

What do you do to relax?

Kien: “Spa time.”

Khiem: “Watch or play football or soccer with my family.”

Givens: “Binge-watch Downton Abbey or go to the beach.”

What would surprise us about you?

Kien: “When I become too vocal.”

Khiem: “I have a degree in criminal justice and business information systems.”

Givens: “I’m a total soccer mom.”

Do you cook, and what’s your favorite meal?

Kien: “I don’t cook, and I lean toward protein-rich foods.”

Khiem: “Yes. Stir-fried veggies with white rice or spaghetti. A porterhouse steak occassionally.”

Givens: “I’m Armenian. My favorites are falafels and dolma.”

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