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yello Salon Portland

Written By: author image Gigi Cruz
author image Gigi Cruz

Today, SalonOtter heads to Portland to meet Mack Olsen, the co-owner of yello salon to chat all things hair, beauty, and fashion in Oregon and beyond.

We cover the inspiring origin story of yello, the evils of boxed hair dyes, plus why we should all be following Hailey Bieber to get seriously on-trend.


Mack, tell us more about yourself

My partner Kaylee and I created our yello salon back at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 when we had way too much time on our hands. Kaylee is a hairstylist and I, Mack, do everything outside of hair (like this interview while Kaylee is currently with a client haha).

Kaylee had previously done hair for several years at a much larger hair and beauty salon in town. She was starting to hit a ceiling where she was working 5 days a week, taking 3-4 color clients a day and hardly making a livable wage, so a change was needed or at least a bigger paycheck.

Once the pandemic hit, we ran the numbers and realized that it would be much more profitable to rent a chair somewhere else. Kaylee began searching around town for a fun, vibrant salon that she could rent from. After searching and touring a dozen spaces she quickly realized that she wasn’t finding what she was looking for. That’s when I suggested that she open up her own salon.

I had some past experience with my friends growing a successful retail brand and got to see firsthand how to operate and grow a business, so I thought I’d help her find a building, navigate the buildout, and help it get up and running then eventually move on to my own thing. Four years later, I’m still here helping and Kaylee and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out now I’m in the hair and beauty industry.

Yello Salon Portland stylist

What will clients experience at yello Salon Portland?

The salon is located in SE Portland (Sellwood to be exact). We love the sun, but Portland is home so we try to bring that feeling of a bright vibrant day to yello, or as we like to call “the sunniest place in Portland”.

We want it to feel like you’re booking your hair a vacation, so we focused on a space that was easy and free to park, with large windows, tall ceilings, vibrant accents, premium local beverages to choose from, a large shopping selection of our own brand of products, and of course the best stylists in town.

Our focus from the beginning has always been on our stylists and making sure they are treated with the utmost respect because after all we could have the most beautiful space, and offer endless amenities, but it’s the stylist that has the biggest impact on your experience.

Kaylee has done an amazing job attracting some of the best hair and beauty talent in Portland and although our team is small, they are truly amazing stylists who genuinely love doing hair and love their clientele. We will continue to grow our team slowly as the right people come along and continue to help our current stylists grow with us so they never feel stagnant.

Yello Salon Portland shop

What specialties does yello offer?

We specialize in lived-in blondes, that is what Kaylee has always loved doing and it’s what we look for when hiring talent. We have built a great reputation in Portland for specializing in this.

Of course, we are also a full-service salon, but there are plenty of great salons in town that specialize in various types of hair or services so we always are happy to recommend clients to places that we see fit. For example, if you’re looking to do a vivid or fashionable tone, we could do that but that’s like asking for french fries at an Italian restaurant (not to say we’re like an Italian restaurant, I think I’m just getting hungry over here, but you get the idea).

What is your number one tip for a happy, healthy hair and beauty routine?

Don’t use box dye! Just don’t. I think every stylist would agree to this haha. “Oh but I saw an influencer use a specific brand”, yeah and that influencer got paid a lot of money to ruin their hair and you’ll be paying a lot of money to fix yours—DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

Yello Salon Portland t-shirts

What Portland hair, beauty, and fashion trends are you seeing right now?

Whatever Hailey Bieber does!

What hair and beauty products do you think should be in everyone’s day-to-day routine?

Olaplex No.6 for blondes and the Wizard by amika for all hair types.

Beyond yello, who else would you like to give some love to?

We do various pop-up markets in town and one of our favorites is Portland’s Unique Markets. Heidi and her team have created such a fun environment and we always look forward to those events to showcase our brand of hair accessories and headwear to other Portlanders.

It’s also just a great way to see various small businesses and we’ve connected with so many of them over the years.

Who is your all-time hair, beauty, and style hero?

Okay, this is a better question for Kaylee (who is still with a client!), but I personally think HAIR in Los Angeles is inspiring and absolutely crushing it as a brand, and looks like such a cool salon. They also just seem so trendy and cool, which makes us look boring haha.

Which current celebrity or public figure is getting it so right with their hair, beauty, and styling?

Again, anything Hailey Bieber.

Yello hair salon portland stylist team

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our SalonOtter readers?

Myself and Kaylee want to give a big shoutout to all the stylists out there and tell them that they have options!

She always tells stylists to build a clientele around the hair they like to do and to work a schedule they like to work. Obviously, weekends are a great way to build fast, but if you want to work only Monday through Friday from 9-5pm then make that your schedule and you’ll build a clientele around that.

You deserve to have a weekend, work normal hours, and make a great living!

Where can people find yello Salon Portland?

We’re at 6022 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland, OR 97202

Check out our website to make a booking and we’re also on Insta

Thanks so much Mack, we can’t wait to visit you, Kaylee, and the yello salon team again soon!

author avatar
Gigi Cruz Editor