By: Yelena Kozachkova
Most New Yorkers are busy and never have a moment for themselves but if there is ever a time to stop and smell the roses it is when the state of our hair comes into question. Unfortunately, most salons don’t have an environment conducive to relaxation, with blow dryers going off in all directions and a suffocating cocoon of hairspray scent. Danka Panka is no such salon. The products they use are lightly scented, and the area is set up for the ultimate haircation, with an outside deck to boot!
Speaking with owners Dan and Dana, the perfect match (in names and otherwise) I was able to find out more about the salon, its goals, and how much more than just a haircut can be attained from a salon visit.
Dan, so what made you choose this location and name?
I wanted to work where we lived. Dana and I were both previously freelancers, Dana in photography and I in hair styling. We live approximately 2 doors down, so this place works for us. Danka Panka was actually my wife’s nickname from childhood so we decided to name the place after it.
Where are you both from? I noticed your daughter said “ima” (Hebrew for mother)?
That was our daughter Lila. We also have another younger daughter, Elli. My wife is Israeli and we actually lived in Tel Aviv, Israel for 3 years.
What do you see for this salon/store in the future?
We are trying to build a stronger sense of community here, to create a live and work atmosphere. The food we have today is actually from our neighbor, she has a treats truck, so we were thinking that while people are waiting for their dye to set they could come out back, get a snack, sit and enjoy the scenery. We see it as a gathering/hang out area so when clients come they could wait out on the deck/foyer. Really, Dana and I see this opportunity as a laboratory for creativity.
What made you decide to start this business?
I’m in the hairstyle business so I know that hair salons make money so that is the base but we feel this is an extension of our home.
You said this also functions as a store, what do you sell?
Everything we sell is handmade by artists. This is like a platform for them to display their art.
Is this something you both wanted to do for a long time?
Oh yeah. This is something we spoke about a lot, even in Israel but I didn’t see a way to earn a living there.