Salon Spotlight: The Atomic Family

Atomic Salon is awesome!  

Over the last five years Atomic Salon has sponsored the Redress fashion shows, and the salon’s amazing team does great work in the community both through their own projects and those of others. Last week I stopped by the newest sister location, Atomic 2 and learned more about the company’s philosophy to keep growing, give back to their community, and work together as a team.

The first original Atomic Salon opened ten and half years ago and it still operates in its original location at 905 W. Morgan St in downtown Raleigh. Salon co-owners Shannon Lamm and Joey Humphrey met in 2003 on a plane on the way back from a hair show in Chicago. At the time, Shannon had just opened Atomic, having relocated back to Raleigh from New York where he had been working with the likes of Nick Arrojo from What Not to Wear, while Joey was teaching and working at a hair school in Raleigh. After the two met one another, Shannon offered Joey a position at Atomic and a week later Joey began his career with the company. In 2007 Shannon asked Joey to join him as a business partner and in 2011 the two of them opened the second location - Atomic 2 - which is settling nicely into its new home at 7713 Lead Mine Rd, in Greystone Village.


Atomic’s two salons have a distinct design style of punk rock meets Victorian feel.  The company embraces the tagline: “We’re not your granny’s beauty parlor!”.  Over the years, the salon has earned a reputation as the place to go when you’re ready for something different  Atomic stylists are experts in cutting and coloring hair; if it’s big color you’re looking for, make sure Atomic is your first stop! To achieve vibrant blues, pinks, and purples, they use a 100% pigment based color. Loving a challenge of any kind, the team is always pushing themselves to learn more, experiment, refine their skills, and find new products that work for their clients.  

Continuing education is a big part of the Atomic experience.  All the stylists attend and teach in-salon training sessions, and are encouraged to attend outside training as well. “This industry is one where you can set your own salary - learn a new skill, grow your client base by marketing yourself and asking for testimonials from your clients” says Joey - it’s this kind of willingness to grow and learn that he is looking for in his team. “I would love to have everyone who works for me want to open their own salon”, Joey says.  As a stylist who worked his way from student to co-owner, he believes in challenging oneself daily to be better than the day before.

I had a great time at Atomic 2 with owners Shannon and Joey, and stylists Andrayah and Demetra who indulged me with a complete tour of the new Atomic 2 location. The salon is decorated with beauty parlor tools from the early 1900’s that look more like torture devices then curlers, old cameras, and an interesting art piece that is a very creepy artist rendition of future Shannon and Joey.


Atomic’s stylists are active members of our community who are always looking for ways they can get involved and contribute their talents. Andrayah Ponce is involved with RAWraleigh natural born artists - a nationwide organization that provides emerging creative professionals tools to promote themselves and grow within their industries.  Her latest exhibition was featured at the RAW Artist event at Lincoln Theatre September 18th. Andrayah showcased a collection of hairstyles representing rock through the ages - from the rockabilly era to her vision of the future.  She is a semi-finalist for RAW Hairstylist of the Year, visit her RAW Artist Page and help her make it to the finals in LA by supporting her with your vote!  

Demetra Angelis recently returned to North Carolina from Athens, Greece where she was living and working on a variety of projects throughout Europe.  From video and photo shoots to fashion shows, Demetra is staying active and keep her eyes peeled for new projects. “My goal is to achieve the look the clients who sit in my chair are looking for, regardless of hair type, texture, or style” says Demetra.

Artists of all kinds find inspiration in travel, and Shannon Lamm is no different. He also finds inspiration in the magic of model technology that enables stylists around the globe share new style trends quickly. “Seeing ultra modern fashion and style against very old building in Europe resonates deeply with me” says Shannon. The greatest thing about modern technology is the ease of people finding fashion trends taking hold in New York City and bringing them into small midwestern towns - from Finland to Nebraska, Berlin to Raleigh the same styles can be found. “There’s no reason Raleigh can’t be as much of a fashion capital as New York or Los Angeles” comments Shannon.

Atomic plans to keep growing with “the ultimate goal in mind to open an Atomic Academy here in Raleigh” says co-owner Joey Humphrey. Joey’s journey to Atomic included living in Los Angeles, working every jobs under the sun - from work under his marine biology degree to selling cars and health insurance. The son of a hair stylist, Joey finally found his true calling and decided to go back to school full time for hair styling before settling in his home at Atomic.  “This business is like a family to me; and families work together so I’m always looking for ways the two salon locations can help one another grow” says Joey.


The Atomic family truly came together this past August as the team kicked off The Atomic Project, an annual fundraiser that supported the Frankie Lemmon School and Foundation.  The project started when owners Shannon and Joey decided they wanted to host a night that was all about giving back to the community that has supported them.  Tons of prizes were raffled off raising funds for the school and the Atomic Team is excited to grow this annual event for next year!  Each year The Atomic Project will select a different local charity that focuses on children.

Whether you’re new to the area or you’re looking for a hair stylist that can achieve the look you want,  I highly recommend you make an appointment with the team at Atomic 2 in their fabulous new location that just opened Nov. 1st! Atomic also offers eco-conscious products, including an ammonia-free haircolor, and hair product line called Dear Clark from which everything is sourced locally from the producer’s home state of Texas, right down to the ink on the label.

Go ahead, get some color into your head!