Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

Erwin Gomez, About to Open a New Salon, Declares, “Erwin’s Back!”

The popular DC stylist talks candidly about the past and his hopes for the new business.

The new Erwin Gomez salon, Karma Beauty Lounge in West End. Photograph by David Phillipich/courtesy of Karma.

It’s well known within the Washington beauty industry, and most of those who are customers, that it did not end well for the Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa in Georgetown. It closed in January of last year after an ugly falling-out between Gomez and his then-business partner. Staff scattered, accusations and lawsuits flew, and the salon doors were closed and locked. The photos in the windows, featuring “celebrity” customers such as Oprah Winfrey and Jon Gosselin, disappeared.

While notable for good service and Gomez’s skills as an eyebrow expert, the salon made global news after Michaele Salahi took the Real Housewives of Washington, DC cameras there to watch her prep for the White House state dinner that she and her then-husband, Tareq, allegedly crashed. Gomez helped wrap her in her red sari evening dress. He also got called before a grand jury investigating the episode, though he was not implicated in any way in whatever the Salahis were up to.

Today the Wisconsin Avenue space has reopened as the David Rios Salon and Spa (Rios was formerly with the Cristophe salon), and right after Labor Day Gomez is about to open a new salon of his own, Karma Beauty Lounge, in West End at 1104 24th Street. He has new investors: the owners of the downtown nightclub Eden. Gomez feels he also has a new personal investment in his future, and he’s optimistic. We talked this week about the past, present, and future.

What has the past year been about for you? You’ve been a bit off the radar.

I have been working. I do as much work as possible on locations. I’m so grateful that my guests have been such incredible support. They pretty much saved my life through this year, kept up my morale. I have a wedding almost every weekend. I have weddings booked into 2014. I’ve been very blessed.

Why did you choose the West End for your new salon?

My investors actually found this space. They chose it, and they approached me. The West End is the best location right now. It’s getting hotter and hotter. It’s a beautiful location. The Metro is right here. That made me so angry in Georgetown, no Metro. I can’t ask for anything better than this location.

How will it compare to the Erwin Gomez salon that was in Georgetown?

Oh, my God. This is reinventing my entire self. I could tell you it was one of the hardest things to do, but it was actually easy, because I really know who I am as an artist and a person. I really believe the second time around makes it best. This is the new me, the mature me. And my guests say, “This is so you.”

What are some of the specific changes?

I kept the realness of being warm and inviting in the atmosphere. When you see the salon, you are going to die. It is so different from [Erwin Gomez Salon]. Much better. It shows the real me, who I am now.

The bottom line is I wanted to really deliver something for my guests who helped me through all these years, a beautiful home for them and my employees. Each artist’s station is private. The artist can focus on the guest. No eavesdropping. Individual music control. I really thought of every detail I didn’t have the last time.

Why didn’t you call it Erwin Gomez II, or something with your name in the title as before?

Karma was the perfect fit for the new name. So it is Karma by Erwin Gomez. I didn’t want “salon and spa” in the name. I wanted something that reflects me.

Who are the staff? Did many or most work with you before?

They are all new. I wanted to be really selective, and I wanted people who really have my back.

Are all the legal issues of Erwin Gomez salon resolved?

It’s all over. That’s why this is such an important year for me. Erwin’s back!

Were you able to recover anything—financial or tangible—from the old salon?

No, not at all. I didn’t want anything. I made a decision to leave everything there for a reason. Most important to me is that I have myself. I have my dignity. I am healthy and safe. Material things like that were never really important to me. I was more concentrated on dealing with my guests and working all the time.

Were you able to keep all the customer contact information from before?

Of course. I have it, but I haven’t had a chance to really use it. That’s why Karma is such a great name for me.

Meaning you believe all your former customers will find you?

Yes, they will. They have.

What will be your price point?

It’s going to be not too high. I want to be right in between. It’s an intense customer service. They are going to say, “It is worth being here.” I’m going to be lower than the Four Seasons. I made comparisons to all the salons around the area. The bottom line is I want to be accommodating for our world now, and considerate of people’s financial situations.

When will you be open? 

Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 to 7 on weekdays and 9 to 6 on Saturday. But I have a rule with my guests: If they have something special, I will always open the doors for them.

Do you feel like you’ve successfully left the past behind?

Oh, it’s all behind me. One hundred percent. I don’t even think about it anymore.

What have you done to make sure a bad business fallout doesn’t happen to you again?

Having the best lawyer, and really communicating, and not trusting anybody. I have 100 percent control of the management and buying. I’ve learned a lot, and I don’t want what happened before to ever happen to me again.

  • cb

    does anyone know Jen' s number. former erwin enployee?

  • lll0825

    LYP-Nike as a historic brand is popular in all over the world,nike australia occupies a very important position. No matter what age the person will have a pair of Nike Shoes. This shows that people love the shoes australia's success depends largely on accurate market positioning and excellent quality. A lot of people are eager to buy cheap nike shoes, stores often only discount after last season's, how to buy a pair of cheap Nike? Now you can come to nike shoes online store. You can buy an ultra-low price of one pair of the latest nike free,nike sb.Or the girls favorite nike heels!Whether you own a pair of nike shoes to the face of such temptation, you should be in this hot summer,let your feet enjoy it.

    Order products in christian louboutin sale store are free shipping.If you want to be more remarkable,do not miss it christian louboutin high boots. They are sexy and gorgeous christian louboutin pumps. Welcome old and new customers christian louboutin sandals, we will offer you the best service christian louboutin slingback.All shoes has been worked by good craftsman and christian louboutin bags for men by hand and this is the result of a careful selection. If you are engaged in the vogue or you want keep the same pace with the trend, christian louboutin evening could be your best choice.It is really nice of you to share the excellent shoes information to others. christian louboutin shoes is absolutely representative of fashion and recreation, christian louboutin 2012, became a matter of course the popular protagonist of the season christian louboutin ankle boots. We will try our best to satisfy you christian louboutin wedges.

    I appreciate for your kind and generous sharing. Shop online at christian louboutin sale mall for a great selection of christian louboutin 2012, wedding shoes, evening christian louboutin ankle boots, boots and sandals for girls, women and men with free shopping on all orders.Welcome to luxury christian louboutin high boots online store.The best christian louboutin bags at best price, free delivery, easy returns & exchanges, 100% quality guarantee! Save 82% Off. Cheap christian louboutin evening makes a woman's feet dazzle and shine even after the twelve strikes of midnight. Own a pair of stylish and wonderful christian louboutin flats is women's lifetime pursuit. We offer christian louboutin pumps red bottom shoes online shopping by an elegant but easy way. Shopping online at discount price for red sole signature designer christian louboutin sandals, from christian louboutin sandals, christian louboutin pumps, christian louboutin wedges,christian louboutin slingback and christian louboutin boots.

    A lot of women like herve leger.This herve leger high neck dresses blue will make you very sexy and charming.Once you wear this beautiful,elegant, sexy and charming featured herve leger dress in the party,herve leger square neck dresses Black make your choice to go in the fashion front,herve leger strapless dresses the pursuit of fashion on the interpretation of the fashion herve leger swimsuit .Herve leger long sleeve dresses green make your choice to go in the fashion front, the pursuit of fashion on the interpretation of the fashion, sexy, charisma, temperament and so on.has always been favored in recent years,herve leger round neck dresses Green is enjoy a great reputation in the whole world,herve leger single strap dresses refined and elegant style of popular fashionable tide of people’s affection.herve leger bandage dresses is the famous brand from France. herve leger double shoulder is committed to shape the women’s line beauty, and the dress is known as the bandage dress.

    Once you wear this beautiful, elegant, sexy herve leger sale shop, you will immediately love it. Buy now cheap herve leger shop enjoy take one week to your door. They have become the most loyal fans in herve leger dress sale. Herve leger is equal to the charm of the Hollywood stars. Buy now herve leger dress free shipping. You herve leger dress clothing close friends as human beings, especially women, is necessary and important to the modern women shop herve leger dress.It is really nice of you to share the excellent shoes information to others.herve leger bandage dresses with beautiful clothes,herve leger dresses have the best durability, is to use artificial silk, nylon,herve leger dress shop spandex clothing popular with the people around the world of harmony. Ladies, show the perfect body for clothes.

    christian louboutin sale is french hot brand in the world,We provide different kinds of christian louboutin usa. Choose the woman wearing louboutin slingback, often has realised that many men somehow to high-heeled shoes have deep interest, wear cheap christian louboutin sneakers can easily outright conquest many men, can easily get many men worship,can easily make many men excited.In fashionable arena occupies a place of christian louboutin ankle boot forever and always makes women fascination.christian louboutin pumps foot that one wipe enthusiastic red, no matter how plain clothes, they were unable to hide the hostess as fire the lively personality.christian louboutin sandals is fashionable and beautiful, recently new appearance of new women's sandals, presenting an one colour profusion, design and material collocation also ingenuity, pretty, both restoring ancient ways, full of female lasting appeal, sweet call a person fondle admiringly.christian louboutin 2012 is fashionable and beautiful, recently new appearance of new women's sandals, presenting an one colour profusion, design and material collocation also ingenuity, pretty, both restoring ancient ways, full of female lasting appeal, sweet call a person fondle admiringly.Delicate the luxury of girl for oneself of each clothes to acquire a pair of high heels to match, but always than a double take christian louboutin ankle boots to reality.A pair of shoes match different dress, you can mature, can also be lovely, shoes with a woman share experience, no matter you are in the life which stage, whether a portly figure or thin, christian louboutin sales store always with you.But this kind of pretty woman flavour, just a kind of thin with the christian louboutin high boots predraft high-heeled shoes peculiar patents.

    The summer came again, if you have love to choose a pair of christian louboutin shoes right now? christian louboutin pumps daffodile match herve leger bandage will make you a shine at the moment.Don't do the most brilliant and also don't do the lowest. christian louboutin sandals with its own language, confided women the curve of the gentle, sending out the mature female charm. herve leger dress replica a fair maiden temperament, both costly and qing li, both charm and cute. Thank you for giving the awesome suggestions for us to order. summer comes, want to follow the trend of the front line, still please read the article. christian louboutin sale and clothes, the fire and herve leger dress is popular all over the world. Women like the bandage as the sexy details, they use replica herve leger bundle out of sexy figure concave and convex have send.

    nike high heels as a classic in nike numerous series is popular in the majority of female friends.In 2012 summer,Nike released a slew of new,including nike heels,jordan heels get consumers high heels australia store have hundreds of styles,every nike dunk high heels are carefully selected.The feedback has been supporting our new and old customers,all our goods are at the lowest discount sales.And you do not have to worry about that we have any quality problems.Because all of our nike high heels shoes are made ​​to order directly from the factory,no tax,so our prices are far lower than the stores.If you are a passion for the Nike Madam,Please come to our store to buy it.

    NIKE name, in the eyes of Westerners was very lucky, easy to read and easy to remember,it is shoes trademark symbol of the Greek goddess of victory wings of feathers,representing the speed, but also represents a dynamic and australia's trademark,the pattern is a small hook shape concise,rapid as lightning,and a look reminiscent of the speed and explosiveness of nike shoes australia.For the first time named "Nike" athletic shoes, soles square convex tablets to enhance the stability, the body of the shoe on both sides of the knife-shaped curved hook,a symbol of the wings of the goddess.God's shoes online store for Australian consumers,sell cheap nike shoes.Our aim is to let people around the world dressed in Nike. Whether you want to nike shox,nike dunk,or nike free,you can certainly find in our mall. We will provide you with the best online service!

  • Intelligent

    As a former employee of the company I wish Erwin Gomez and ALL of his new and former staff good luck with everything...after all everyone landed on their feet despite the horrendous way the whole company/salon crashed and indeed EVERYONE is in a much better place now. I'm also positive that we have all learned A LOT from that experience and just like adults that we all are, we need to learn how to move on as well no matter how hurtful it was.....However, sometimes people should also definitely watch what they say as they don't realize that some of their words hurt and can cut deeper than a knife. To end my comment, I can absolutely and definitely say that EVERYONE had Erwin's back and deep down inside he knows that too. I wish the new Karma staff ( no so totally new as some former EG employees will be working there too ) they'll have not just his back but his entire spinal cord too as that is what employees are to any company.

  • Guilty Conscious

    I too was a former employee of the Erwin Gomez Salon, who was 100% loyal and dedicated to the salon and my salon family. I was a hard-workiong employee who worked there from 2008 on.
    I interviewed with Sab Shad first and was told that she was the VP in charge of daily operations, such as, pay roll, vendors and employee contracts. James was described as the CEO of marketing and advertising and he was rarely seen except for events and occasional services. Erwin was defined as the Creative Director. I've followed the stories in the social/gossip media since it first began. I am finally posting what I witnessed because I'm honestly ashamed of myself!! It is WAY overdue for me to share what I observed in person.
    It was common knowledge that extensive drug use was going on in the salon which would continually spill over into the night club scene.
    I read in the above interview that Erwin commented that he is "reinventing his entire self". That gave me hope that he will longer manipulate or hold employee agreements over the heads of his new staff, as was done to me. Erwin used this tactic when it was discovered that I had tried repeatedly to email James of the immoral activities that were occuring. This was the standard procedure that a staff member was to follow if Sab did not resolve an issue, then the the staff was to reach out to the CEO. (James) Several other staff members sent emails, but, NONE of received a response. Later I learned that the emails had been intercepted.
    It was no surprise that my life became a living Hell. I was made miserable in order to force me out rather than fire me.
    I also read Erwin's response to the question: Who are the staff? Did many or most work with you before? His response: "They are all new. I wanted to be really selective, and I wanted people who really have my back."
    How curious is it that Sab was carried over as the new COO of a company, that in my certainty was INTENTIONALLY run into the ground.
    Be conscious of the "the new you" Erwin..........Karma splits BOTH ways!!!!!!!

  • Nia

    As another former employee of Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa, I would like to say that I am happy for you Erwin. Looking back, everything happened the way it did for a reason. You handled the entire situation the best way that you could have. I don't agree with the comment below, but that's my personal opinion. Nor will I bash you on your own article. I wish you well, and much success. Once people learn to let go, and forgive, then they will realize how much they were in the way of their own blessings.
    Best wishes, and I will see you at the top! ;)

blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular on Washingtonian

Everything You Need to Know About Pho*

The First Thanksgiving Took Place in Virginia, not Massachusetts

15 Casual (But Still Really Cool) Gifts for Your New Boyfriend

Free Things to Do in DC November 25-29: A Complimentary Turkey Fry

Black Friday Brunch Specials Around DC

The Great Washington Bucket List: 50 Things Every Local Needs to Do

The Unbelievable Story of the Guy Who Jumped the White House Fence Four Times

Your Guide to Amazing DC Gifts For Everyone on Your List

This Dramatic New Apartment Building Just Opened in "The Next Cool DC Neighborhood You Never Heard Of"