Published January 3rd, 2024
August and Ivy Salon is thriving in Theatre Square
By Sora O'Doherty
Lily Fortson (front) and Chelsea Salezo work with clients. Photo Matt Valenzuela
August and Ivy Salon Co-owners Lily Fortson and Chelsea Salezo moved to Orinda Theatre Square last January, charmed by the location, which felt quaint and perfect to them. They relied on sweat equity to remodel the space, calling in family members to help with everything from paint to lighting, making the remodel a whole family project. And the long narrow space seems perfect for the stations in the salon.
Previously Fortson and Salezo had worked together for eight years in a salon in Martinez before deciding that a new salon was something that Orinda really needed. Fortson lives in Walnut Creek and Salezo in Brentwood, which is their hometown.
The co-owners have recently hired an additional three stylists, making five in all. Fortson notes that the salon is unique because the stylists are educated and well versed in every type of hair style. They don't aim to serve a single audience, they're not just for hip young girls, but can do little pixie cuts, men's haircuts.
However, those hip young girls will probably realize that the salon is named for two songs by Taylor Swift, who swept the country with her Eras Tour this year. "We're both big Swifties," Fortson confessed. They wanted a name that was nice and natural. Also, they thought that they would open in August of 2022 but the permitting process took longer. We had a vision, and it took a lot of hope and trust.
Fortson reported that the salon gets amazing foot traffic, and is grateful for how supportive the community of Orinda has been. As the salon is developing a roster of regulars, Fortson says, "the community wants it. The people of Orinda are really loving having a salon just down the street. I didn't expect it to be such a big deal, but they are really happy." She added that some customers can even walk to the salon.
In the coming year, the co-owners will be focusing on being more in the community. They recently joined the chamber of commerce, and hosted a mixer at the salon on Dec. 14.

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