We had the good fortune of connecting with Forrest Devitt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Forrest, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Our brand revolves around being a team and educating one another. Each person brings their own distinct set of skills and ideas into the salon. When we act as a unit it benefits the team as a whole and it creates a culture that unique to The Young American. We do not work off a hierarchy like most places. It could be the tenure stylist or a new heir that brings a fresh set of ideas that allows us to grow. We’re a democracy that prides ourselves on individuality. When we hit hard times, we always remind ourselves to reinvest into our stylists and our culture.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I feel like my art is both establishing places, and inspiring people. I am constantly trying to physically provide creative spaces for stylists to feel both at home yet pushed to grow. The Young American is not just a couple of salons in Southern California, it is a lifetime of networking. I am constantly looking for individuals that have a desire to be a better version of themselves. Our stylists come from all different backgrounds and that’s what fuels our culture. Learning to adapt to other people’s view of how they like to work and how they see the world is a constant challenge. It’s never easy trying to see eye to eye with a stranger. My job is to try and highlight what makes someone special and then help them, and myself, learn from past habits or hardships. Creating teams of people who build trust with one another and become work families has been on of the greatest joys of my life. It is what makes The Young American different and we are able to share that everyday with our guests.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m an old soul so most the places I like to hang out are locally with my family. Old Town Tustin is a little hidden gem. During the day we love to walk around and eating a clean lunch at Rutabagorz is always a treat. The Salons have great neighbors in Old Town and the the patios at Centro, Storico and El Camino Cafe are great for food and drinks. For ramen you have Honda Ya, and there’s a newer restaurant called Chaak which provides a view of the sky with its retractable roof. But ultimately, we love The Black Marlin. The Marlin is one of the few places that has live music and great drinks. Besides Old Town, Tustin isn’t known for its cuisine, live music, or for being a hip, so we tend to bring the parties home with us. Even before the quarantine, we had been weaning off the local dive bars and just bringing the karaoke party to our place. However, before we spent the year inside, downtown Santa Ana is usually where we would love to take friends from out of town. Our favorite place to eat has always been The Playground. We usually put our name in for a table and then have a drink at Native Son or Mission Bar. I personally love a great cocktail or cheap beers with great vibes. There are a ton of good restaurants in downtown Santa Ana, but The Playground has been a staple for us.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I attribute my personal success to my mom and dad, my two sisters and my fiance. They have continued to pour love into my ideas and they push me to do better. Their strength, and the love from our salon families, are the anchor behind the success of The Young American. We rely on each other, and 2020 has been the greatest challenge we have faced thus far. During hard times people’s strengths shine and I have seen so much growth within our stylists & salon families this year. We also would be nowhere without the support of our clients and local communities. Their trust, and continued support for us, online and in the salon, has enabled us to persevere through multiple salon shutdowns this year. I also have a few incredible mentors and other salon owners that I rely on when I need to make hard decisions. Ward Bassett has been someone who has inspired me to continue to grow every year since the day we opened. I was also fortunate enough this year to meet Sam Hills who created Hair Camp in Ohio and Sam has introduced me to a group of amazing salon owners. We have been able to help encourage each other through the hardships of 2020 and I’m very thankful for their leadership.
Yelp: The Young American Salon
Other: We have three locations close to each other. When searching Google or Yelp we like to provide our guests with the proper information. We refer to the three locations as: 1. The Young American Old Town 2. The Young American at Southern Local 3. The Young American Villa Park For more information please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org