Egla Xhemali – To love beauty and strive to shape it, bringing joy to those who believe, is the work he does every day. It all started in a small space, later expanding into a salon that would become a favorite among public figures in Albania. Welcoming everyone who wants to look beautiful on the outside and feel good inside. Gerald Picari, who has built his empire through a variety of services, providing solutions to the appearance dilemmas of girls and boys during the summer season, has become everyone’s friend. In an interview with “Gazeta shqiptare,” he shares the formula for success over the years, the extraordinary desire to turn “Kri Salon” into a recognized brand beyond Albania, and to explore every natural treasure of the country through hiking. Through this interview, you will travel through time and space and get to know a talented young man who will likely soon achieve success and a prominent name beyond borders.

Geri, one of the most beloved hair stylists in all of Tirana, has an extraordinary desire to elevate beauty to its highest level. How was the beginning of this long journey for you to reach where you are today?

Firstly, thank you for the kind words!

I started this profession at the age of 16 in a simple place, as it was back then. Meaning, 15 years ago, it wasn’t appreciated as much as it is today, especially in a peripheral area like Vora, where I’m originally from. But, with a family that has always stood by me and a great desire to do things as well as possible, I am here today.

What is one of the challenges of your work that people observing from a distance may not clearly see?

It takes a lot of time and requires complete involvement, both physically and psychologically. It is essential to stay positive despite personal or family problems we may have.

What does it mean to maintain a successful name in a small country like Albania for consecutive years?

At first glance, it seems very difficult, but if someone stays honest and dedicated to what they do, people will appreciate it sooner or later.

The most frequent clients on a regular day at “Kri Salon”?

‘Kri Salon’ is my second home; we are like a big family where clients not only receive professional service but also feel at home. Usually, clients are bankers, lawyers, economists, businessmen, doctors, artists, etc., up to the highest positions in the state, such as deputies or ministers. Regardless of their position, they are simple and practical people, where I find myself very well, exchanging various discussions or opinions.

A passion you haven’t made public is hiking. Last year, even during the turbulent period due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you and your friends reached the highest peak of Mount Korab. You even took your work tools with you. A memorable experience, I believe. What drove you to work at such a place and at such a time?

cutting hair in the highest peak of Korab mountain in Albania

I have been into hiking for about five years, and it is one of my greatest passions. I had been waiting for Mount Korab for a while, but it happened that I did it last year in August. Since it was the pandemic period, people still had a bit of fear in enclosed spaces. So, since we were going hiking, why not realize a haircut at the highest point of Albania. It was a very special day because it coincided with the first anniversary of “Kri Salon,” and combining two of my greatest passions into one was truly a beautiful feeling.

What else do you remember after descending from Mount Korab, besides the moment of styling hair, for which you were praised by those who know you?

We have a fantastic nature, and I commend the residents in the Radomira area for preserving and maintaining the enchanting forests, such as Lake Zi and the surrounding areas. Albania is a blessed country for its climate, and I, who have traveled and seen picturesque villages and received warm hospitality, love my country even more. I am also a proud patriot. (laughs) This is evident with the Albanian symbols tattooed on my arm.

Now, the tourist season has begun, and we know that girls are very careful about their hair during the hot summer months. So, let’s focus on that a bit. What are the trendiest hair colors at the moment?

Since we are a salon dedicated 100% to both women and men because men have increased their concern for external appearance, I would suggest something for both genders. For girls, the trendiest colors are classic colors that have returned this season: dark chocolate, warm coffee balayage, a little reddish-red, blondes are always in fashion, and there are also highlights with various summer colors. For men, dark and natural colors are always dominant, but highlights, especially on the top and mainly in the crown area, are also a trend.

Are there still girls who haven’t decided how to keep their hair during the summer months? Between long and short hair, what would be your suggestion?

Short cuts dominate this season; the Bob model is quite trendy, meaning all the hair is cut straight at the end or at the beginning of the neck. Bangs have made a comeback. For men, fade cuts and turned to the sides or back are still dominant, and, of course, the well-groomed beard continues to be in style.

A bright present thanks to your tireless work every day. How do you foresee tomorrow? A dream that you surely want to make a reality?

It is essential for me not to stop, to do small things every day but with great love. The biggest dream is for Kri to become a brand in the future. It is an Albanian name derived from the word “krih,” and it would be a great achievement for an Albanian brand to be ranked among the most famous names in the world.

Plans for the summer, Geri’s favorite destinations?

As always, hiking; this time we will go to Nemercka, Përmet, and rafting in Vjosa. During the summer, we plan to do camping and adventure with kayaking in the bays of Karaburun and Saranda. That’s for now, even though I still have many destinations to visit in our beautiful Albania.

Article by Egla Xhemali.