“Some people come here for creativity and some for consistency,” Chip Tiffany, of d. alan’s ColorSplash, says. “Everybody comes for compliments.”
A Hampton Roads native, Tiffany was eight when his grandmother survived a stroke. Previously, she majored in chemistry at Vassar College and raised seven children.
“Whenever we went out everybody felt sorry for her in her wheelchair,” he says. “The last thing she wanted was pity.”
Watching theatre people backstage, Tiffany learned “a little bit about paint and polish.” He did his grandmother’s hair and makeup.
“Suddenly her wheelchair disappeared and people saw her true essence,” he says.
Tiffany performed with Tidewater Dance Theatre from ages 13 to 27. He studied hair and found his passion while in high school, where he was in the top 10 percent of his class. He earned his degree in English literature from Christopher Newport University in 2002, but his passion was hair. He had worked at Danny’s Hairloft since 1987, where he met owner, Daniel Alan Smith, who became his mentor. The two have been together for 29 years and married in July 2015.
Smith attended art school in the 1960s and headed a private show at Ferguson Center for the Arts several years ago. Ultimately, he put his artistic endeavors into hair.
From Danny’s Hairloft, Smith opened Daniel Alan’s Salon and Spa on Thimble Shoals. He retired after a cancer diagnosis, survived and moved on to other pursuits.
“He inspired me and several young stylists who all have successful businesses now,” Tiffany says.
d. alan’s ColorSplash opened in City Center on February 14, 2014. It is owned by, and a tribute to, Smith.
“We show Danny’s work on our walls and his name’s on the door,” Tiffany says. “I wanted a small, chic boutique and one-on-one with my clients. I listen to them to learn where they are and help them create what’s next in their life.”
d. alan’s ColorSplash features guest artists. One, Garshon Morganstein, is there weekly and has been doing hair for more than 57 years. Receptionist Sharon Hornsby, and manager/assistant Mary Lennix, followed Tiffany from his previous salon.
The salon focuses on hair, color and makeup, carrying recognized names in the hair salon circles.
“I really enjoy doing wedding and prom work,” Tiffany says. “When I do a wedding or a group of prom girls, it’s like a slumber party here.”
Fitting and styling wigs for people with cancer is important to Tiffany. He’s been doing hair replacement for 30 years.
“I wake up daily to a bald man in the mirror and barely ever leave the house in the face I wake up in,” he says. “I know the reality of who I am. I can’t control how I’m perceived, but I can control how I’m presented.
“If you saw me working with somebody you would know it was from my heart,” he says of his wig clients who pay cost for their wigs and related products. He typically donates his time.
“At d. alan’s ColorSplash there’s privacy. You’re not in a big salon with 37 people looking at you,” Tiffany says.
Tiffany’s passion is making people feel whole and complete.
“I have people in their 60s with blue, pink and purple hair,” he says of clients he calls muses. “They allow me to totally take off artistically.”
“I always leave feeling like a queen!” client Jo Louise Harding, says. “He clearly wants you to feel much better about yourself than when you arrived. It’s not just a hair appointment; it’s an experience!”
Rapidly approaching 50, Tiffany wants to pass the baton to the younger set. Early last year, he began eight-week cycles of art displays in his salon. Elaine Abrams’ photography and fused glassworks were featured recently.
“Chip has a big heart,” Abrams says. “He does shows for artists every other month, with a nice wine and cheese reception. He gives many of us an exciting opportunity to be showcased.”
“The art has to resonate with me because I’m working around it for eight weeks,” Tiffany says.
Active in community theatre in Smithfield, Williamsburg and Newport News, Tiffany also writes poetry. “I read plays, currently revisiting my grandmother’s Shakespeare collection,” he says.
Tiffany walks his 165-pound Great Dane, Max, around City Center. He also has a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Penny. Both pets occasionally visit the salon.
With five-star reviews, Tiffany clearly loves what he does.
Sharron Kitchen Miller, a friend for 25 years, says, “His work speaks for itself, and his clients understand that his reward is having them happy with the end result—one that is always of their own choosing.”
“I feel this is a gift,” Tiffany says.
“d. alan’s ColorSplash is a tribute to Danny and the knowledge he’s passed on to me. He always says he’s taught me everything I know but not everything he knows. I’m still waiting to learn the rest of the story.”
TO THE POINT:
d. alan’s ColorSplash
Address: 696 Town Center Dr., Newport News, VA
Facebook: D. Alan’s Color Splash