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Hair has no gender

Celebrating their 3 year anniversary, WoW Hair and Beauty Bar, Cardiff has clients travelling from all over the UK to get their haircut.  

Co-owner and founder Mandie Rees tells us how their community ethos of ‘anybody’s welcome’ has had people in the chair, crying tears of happiness.  

With two employees at the beginning of their apprenticeship journey, Mandie shares her tips on how salons can make their training more inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly and why gender-neutral pricing isn’t the future, it’s now!

Anybody’s welcome  

WoW turned 3 on Wednesday, so we decided to have a party. We invited a small group of clients to the salon to celebrate and the response was incredible. There’s talk of another one already. They want to make a thing of it.  

Our clients feel completely safe when they come to us. We are all about community at WoW. One of the first trans clients we ever had. She cried. She said, ‘I finally feel like me’.  

We get asked to do a lot of gender affirming cuts. Clients who don’t know what to do – we help give them a more masculine or feminine cut. We wanted our salon to feel like clients were going to their friend’s house. It’s cosy and comfortable and anybody’s welcome.  

Carrying the message of Inclusivity

Our salon was named after LGBT+ bar in Cardiff WoW, previously owned by Vicky Roffi. When she got sick she said to me, ‘I would really like to see you in your own salon’. Something I’d thought about, but never had the guts to do.  

I approached Paige Jones who was working at the bar with me and said ‘would you do it with me’? Paige was great at nails, so we started her off on that and I did hair. We did the training and six weeks later we opened.  

The ethos that we had in the bar was ‘anybody’s welcome’. We wanted to bring that same message to the salon. We have lots of crazy colours and rainbow hairstyles. It develops our learners’ skills and gives them experience working with more intricate cuts and colours.  

Salons should be gender neutral

Hair has no gender. Why should someone who identifies as female with short hair pay more than someone who identifies as male. If I was to go to a Barbers, I would pay around £15 for a short pixie cut. If I was to go to a salon, I would pay £50.  

Salons need to train their staff in hairdressing and barbering. In countries such as China and America, salons are trained in both. It makes you a better stylist, it makes you more inclusive. We don’t turn away anyone because we can do it all.

Our pricing is based on the length of your hair – short, medium or long cuts. Not gender. You’re increasing your income and the amount of clientele through the door. Paige tries to push that anyone can have their nails done, no matter how they identify.

Making your salon LGBTQ+ friendly

I would like to see more awareness around identities and LGBTQ+. More salon’s embracing inclusivity. There’s not enough. There are salons saying they are unisex but that’s not the same.

I have walked into Barbers in the past and people would turn me away. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what I did. That’s why I wanted my salon to be completely gender neutral.  

Young learners coming through the door need to be made aware and have a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ community. It will help salons improve their services and broaden their clientele.  

Free wash and blow dry for post transition surgery

We’ve been offering this service for a year now and it’s been really popular. We offer a free wash and blow dry for clients recovering from post transition surgery.

When someone is having major surgery such as top surgery, they may not be able to look after themselves. Our goal is to help those feel better about themselves whilst they are recovering.  

The most valuable reward we can recieve is individuals experiencing a boost in their confidence and self-esteem. That’s what it’s all about and we’re happy to help in any way that we can.

We’d like to wish everyone at WoW a Happy 3rd Birthday and join in their celebration of embracing inclusivity and making their salon a safe haven for all.  

If you own a salon and would like share how you’re making your salon more inclusive – get in touch today.

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