Humble and unassuming, Pon Saradeth this one of those rare talents who simply does not boast about his success. Every cut, color and style his hands touches, breathes the story of his successful journey. His precision and skill have been earned through years of focus and discipline. Pon’s signature style is impossible to miss. Those in the business can spot his work from miles away.
In the Beginning In the late 1970’s, Pon and his family immigrated from Laos to Southern California.Despite not speaking English, he was sent to the local high school. This shy teenager, who cowered in the back of the classrooms, had the belief that the best way to learn how to “swim” is to dive headfirst. With this belief, he surfaced from the depth of uncertainty and emerged stronger from the experience. For as long as he could remember, Pon would watch his uncle cut hair. Later in his teens, Pon started to snip away at hair, offering free haircuts in his garage for almost anyone who would sit for him. He never once thought it would be his career. After high school, Pon tried his hand at several trade schools and odd jobs, but none were the right fit. Because English was a second language, school had its barriers. That’s when he decided to try the one thing that came naturally to him. Hair. He enrolled in barber school, and it became evident that this was his calling. Being inspired, Pon lived, breathed and dreamt everything hair.
A Pro Emerges In a short time, he built a loyal clientele, which gave him the confidence to venture into the world of hair competitions. He found himself walking away with the trophy at most of the competitions with over a hundred wins under his belt, he gained a loyal following of other hair professionals. At this point, Pon started teaching, first, for a small product line and eventually on his own with Pon Academy. Pon proved to be a patient and effective educator, applying many of the same visual teaching methods that worked so well for him over the years. When it comes to his teaching style, Pon explains, “People in this industry are highly creative. Therefore, they tend to learn as Idid. It’s more about experiencing everything visually and learning by sight, touch, and eventually, intuition. Learning to do hair happens best by experience, not by reading about it.” Balancing several stations in a chair rental salon for the next several years, allowed him to concentrate on his craft.During this time, he continued to compete and was venturing into editorial work by doing hair for photoshoots. He soon saw his work in print and consumer publications around the world. A fun outlet that created more demand for him as an educator and hairstylist.
Realizing Success In 1998, Pon and his partner, MaryJean (MJ) Galvez, opened Pon International Signature Salon in upscale Anaheim Hills, California.He handled the hairstyling part of the operation while she brought an extensive background in business management. As his talents were being recognized and the clientele expanding, Pon and MJ outgrew the first location and moved toa larger facility twice the size in the same complex, which they owned and operated for over 23 years. In this facility, they widened their services to include a spa and launched their private hair care and styling products, which has seen much success. “Starting our line of products proved to be a good move for us,” said Pon. “Some of that was in the timing, but most of its success had to do with our loyal clientele. If they were happy with their hair, they would exclusively purchase the same products and tools we used in the salon to re-create their look at home.The success of one side of our business drove the other. There’s also something attractive about offering unique products to customers.”
Other Avenues In addition, to his evident passion for hairstyling, Pon always has other ventures up his sleeve. He found his balance by taking part in bodybuilding, dog training, cycling and other activities on the side. Who knew the shy kid would become the ultimate over-achiever?! Although Pon has much success in several areas, he offers the following advice to others in the salon industry, “It’s outside of your comfort zone that you’ll find success. He continues, “When it comes to hair, do what you do best, and let somebody else do the rest. Find a couple of things that you’re good at and specialize in just that. Pour everything you’ve got into your art, be dedicated and disciplined. And you too will realize success. After you get it, work hard to achieve and appreciate balance in your life. After all, finding the right balance is the true measure of happiness.”
Pon International at Salon Dusserre and Spa 2143 N. Tustin Street, Suite 12 Orange, California 92865 714.693.7662
From Los Angeles Take the I-5 South to the 55 South toward Newport Beach. Exit Lincoln. Turn left onto Tustin. . Turn Left into Target shopping . Salon is located toward the back of the plaza.
From North Orange County Take the 91 East toward Riverside. To 55 South Newport Beach Exit Lincoln. Turn left onto Lincoln. Turn left onto Tustin Street. Turn Left into Target shopping center . Salon is located toward the back of the plaza.
From South Orange County Take the 55 North. Exit Katella Avenue. Turn left onto Katella. Turn Right onto Tustin Street. After Meats Turn right into Target shopping center. Salon is located toward the back.