There is no other business that I can think of that inherently connects people and their communities than hair salons. One by one the public comes in and gets their hair done, and some, not all, develop a relationship that provides lasting friendship, creativity and a bond like no other. As we drive by freeway underpasses and park our cars at the grocery store, you notice more and more the growing population in need. These are the ones we see, what about the ones that live in the shadows? Alas, if you are like me, you can’t help but feel there is something you must do. This series will high light those in our industry that are the unsung action sheroes and heroes who are shaping the future of our industry.
These eight stellar barbers and hairstylists have gone to the streets to not only meet their community, but provide a simple service with heart. They are the angels changing the face of “hairdressing” and what it means to truly be a member of the community. Some I have met and worked alongside, some I have not. These are a big hearted group leading the way in what I call a social movement towards healing our relationship with our communities. I believe this is the business model that is being called for. It’s time we back up our words with action.
I met Jaz of Saints of Steel, at one of my Haircuts with Heart’s events. We talked about our shared vision of using our craft to reach out to our communities on an ongoing basis. Her energy, deep desire to learn and be of service became apparent as we hung out together. After meeting up a few more times at the Pop Up Care Village in San Francisco, cutting hair with Raquel Farjado, whom you will hear about later, I knew I needed to hear her story.
[tweetthis]”Giving back with our craft allows us to helps those in need connect with their identity again.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]
Out of Jaz’s own healing, and realizing she was “different” led her down a path of self-discovery and coming out as a lesbian.
Through the challenges of coming out, and she eventually moved away from her family to carve out her own life. She moved to LA, and the awareness of her love for fashion and hairstyling, surfaced. She cut off her hair, and viscerally got how transformative a haircut can be. She didn’t want a “salon” cut, and she didn’t want a “barber” cut. She still wanted to be feminine. This helped inform her about what others like her might be going through, or go through when they get their haircut.
Jaz moved back up to the Bay Area, started working for Apple, helping businesses find the tools to deliver their message and ultimately make more money. Her work ethic engrained and in tact, she became very successful. All the while she reconnected with her cousin who owned a barber shop. When they were younger, they talked about having a business together. She’d visit the shop and finally decided to get her barbers license. They kept exploring how they could work together. She didn’t realize this inquiry along with her own personal evolution, a larger vision would take root and manifest.
Thoughts of how she longed for a community to support her through her changes when she was younger, and a desire to help LGBT youth in her community surfaced. Jaz noticed an increasing awareness of the need in her community, and the disconnect she was feeling about helping businesses make money. She then thought, “I can help non profits get set up.” It wasn’t long before she met up with Raquel of Tendercuts, at the Pop Up Care Village in San Francisco, and came over to the East Bay to help me out, with Haircuts with Heart. The true meaning of offering transformations through haircuts and the powerful feeling of giving back began to take root, of what it meant to give a haircut to someone in need, no money exchanged.
This experience connected Jaz with her mission and deeper calling. This “Currency”, as she calls it, is what her life lacked. Her dream is to connect other beauty professionals with their community, by creating events for all people in need. You as the stylist get connected to the community you want to help, and get promoted through her podcast and events, and most of all you get to experience this currency, and make profound connections. She declared her path, and took decisive action by giving notice to Apple, moved out of her nice apartment to sharing a living space, so she can make her dream come true.
“Saints of Steel is officially a nonprofit that connects barbers and hairstylists to the community impacting those in need through free haircuts. We embrace every opportunity to build and deepen human connections while promoting self confidence with each individual we serve.”
The name represents the dual nature within all of us. Strength to get through what we need to get through, and the part of us that wants to help and give.
Saints of Steel upcoming events:
LGBT Career Fair: October 26th
Veterans Day Fundraiser + Celebration: November 11th
Kick off Charity Fundraiser event : November 27th
Please “like” Saints of Steel FB page.
As hairstylists, barbers and beauty professionals you have the unique capability to reach others, to help people retrieve a sense of identity, and offer a personal touch. You too, can become the powerful sheroes and heroes of the beauty industry. If you happen to be in the city where these angels “do their work”, contact them, help them, take part in your own communities. At the end of this series, a complete list will be available to download. Your own contribution can simply be helping out one time or one day a month. It doesn’t mean you need to go out and start your own non profit. The result of all of us joining together to connect, provides a deep, mutual healing for all of us. As long as we project onto others and push members of our community away, the consequences are dire. Step up and face your fear, engage.