There’s no way to introduce you to Riley’s namesake studio, Salon PK, without telling you about the woman herself.
Salon PK has been a labor of love since the day it opened its doors, one wrapped up in Riley’s family history. The Jacksonville native watched her mother barber the neighborhood’s clients as a child, so she never had anything but awe for the art of styling hair.
I grew up seeing lots of shapes and lots of hair shaping. I naturally started evolving with cut and color...And in our area at that time, I was at the salon and everybody seemed to be doing lots of weaves and lots of long hair.
After Riley established her own career, she turned her attention to a venture that fell outside of her comfort zone: opening a business. The riskiest decision of all, perhaps, was putting her own name on it.
“When you open your new salon and it has your name in it, you don’t really think about that pressure,” Riley says. “It is pressure but it’s a good thing, it keeps you accountable, it keeps you caring, it keeps you passionate. You can’t play scapegoat.”
More than a decade later, it’s clear that Salon PK has become a living tribute to Riley’s reputation as an artist.
The LocationAs it turns out, Riley’s cut and color expertise could not only attract celebrity clientele on both coasts but plenty of regulars right in her hometown. The trick, she says, lies in creating a salon environment that welcomes every hair texture and creates a laidback but polished vibe.
“When you come into Salon PK it’s very bright, it’s very airy—lots of windows that add to the feel of that happiness,” the stylist explains. “I think that people can tell when you’re being genuine and so much of hair is that connection. You have to feel comfortable to have that.”
It’s not just about a staff that’s comfortable engaging clients, either. To Riley, the stress of everyday living means that the salon has become something of a refuge for its regulars.
“People just want to breathe. They’ve been in their office, everybody has an expectation from them—the last thing they need is a persona that they have to put on to be serviced,” she says.
For Riley, Salon PK’s location was just as important as its aesthetic. She could have chosen to start a business in New York City or Los Angeles, but you owe a debt of gratitude to the city that raised you. Why not repay it by training stylists in your own hometown? Riley’s business plan certainly seems to be working.
“It feels really good to be from Jacksonville and be recognized as a premier salon in Jacksonville,” she says, explaining that running a business can be much more challenging than it looks on the outside. “Here is a romanticizing to entrepreneurship and businesses and I do believe that salons really need to be nurtured.”
The ServicesThe blue-painted salon, which is fully stocked with Mizani products, proudly caters to every texture and type of hair. Above all, Salon PK is a welcoming environment buoyed by stylists who’ve spent their careers nurturing relationships with returning clients.
“We are a multicultural salon. People love us because we do all types of hair—we do lots of curly hair, lots of natural hair,” Riley says.
As an added bonus, Salon PK is only strengthened by Riley’s travel and significant styling engagements. The founder believes her time on sets and red carpets actually makes her that much better at serving the women of Jacksonville.
“It’s almost like osmosis,” Riley says of her team. “Whatever I create on set, we talk about it or I go into the salon, share what I’ve been thinking about or something that I tried with my team. We all have a different flare, but you can pretty much see how there's a connective vision with what we create.”
Thinking of booking a Salon PK appointment of your own? We understand the urge. The salon offers a full range of services from relaxers ($80+) to extensions ($125+) and wedding updos. A shampoo and style or moisture treatment ($55+)—as well as a cut and style ($80)—are standard picks (price varies). The team will even color your extensions four or more days before installation ($50 to $100 per bundle).