Easy Reader & Peninsula Magazine

by Elka Worner and Blake Burrell

When Hollywood hairstylist Brandon Martinez left behind the glitz and glamor of the red carpet for the laid-back beach lifestyle of Hermosa Beach, he wasn’t expecting to fall in love and open a salon.

“I came down here just looking for a change because you can do hair anywhere,” Martinez said. The stylist’s clientele had included media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and his ex-wives Wendi Murdoch and Jerry Hall; as well as British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and Google founder Sergey Brin. 

He also styled “all these legit billionaires,” he said, among them Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, the Ziff brothers heirs, Hollywood mogul David Geffen, and CBS, and Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone.

Martinez also starred on the Bravo reality series “Blow Out,” where he was known as the bad boy stylist, and eventually kicked off the show.

He moved to Hermosa Beach in December 2022 and started working at Crush Salon in downtown Hermosa, where hairstylist Kelly Franiak was also cutting and coloring hair. His tattooed arms, cool outfits and bleached surfer hair caught her attention. She was also impressed with his entrepreneurial drive. Martinez had launched his own line of shampoos, conditioners and styling products.

“He’s selling, he’s wheeling, dealing and doing other things besides just standing behind the chair,” Franiak said. “I just thought ‘Oh my gosh, this guy is making money while he’s sleeping.’ He’s just motivated.”

The blonde and bubbly Franiak admitted she had a crush on him when she finally made her move, inviting Martinez to the beach to watch the sunset.

That’s where the magic happened, the two said.

“I was like ‘Oh, wait a minute,’ this is her. She’s the one,” he recalled.

Three months later, the couple heard about a salon space on Pier Avenue, and decided to go into business together.

“We grabbed it right away. We felt it was really another extension of the love we have for each other, and the love we have for doing hair,” Martinez said.

They named their new business Kelly and Brandon Salon, which, by fortunate coincidence, are the names of the teen couple in “Beverly Hills, 90210.” Though they have a playful and creative side, they also have 45 years of experience between them.

Franiak, who is from Chicago, got her start cutting and dying her college roommates’ hair. “I just started doing everyone’s hair who lived on my floor,” she said.

Even though she was studying fashion design, she decided to pursue her passion, hairstyling. She attended beauty school in Phoenix, and after an 11-year stint at a Chicago salon, moved to Southern California.

“I had a few mentors who taught me the difference between good and great service,” she said.

As a testament to their love, the outside of their salon is covered in multi-colored graffiti hearts. The inside is covered in different patterns of pink, one of their favorite colors.

The couple has collaborated on a new line of shampoos, and conditioners, all stamped with their personal story and mantra: “A deep, strong, passionate connection for love and hair.”

Martinez said he charged $250 for a cut when he worked at Kim Vo in West Hollywood. His rate in their Hermosa salon is half that.

Both have a loyal following with customers driving to Hermosa Beach from the Westside and Hollywood. Martinez said some of his clients even fly in from New York.

But the focus at Kelly and Brandon salon is providing great service to locals and becoming “a huge part of the community.”

Both love to create beautiful cuts, and color and plan to be around for a long time.

“If L’Oreal came in tomorrow, and gave us $50 million, I’d still show up to work the next day,” he said. “I’d just have nicer vacations and a nicer house.” ER