There’s a lot to be learnt from Razor Dolls – a unique, bold salon cemented in principles of geek culture and sustainability that knows it audience and revels in accommodating them. From vivid colour, to arcade games in the salon waiting area, and the space recently being inducted as a PokeStop, you’ve never met a salon quite like Razor Dolls, writes Shannon Gaitz.

Razor Dolls and their fearless leaders, Brooke Lynch and Peanut, embody bright, geeky, sustainable culture in everything from their tattoos, to the salon décor, their salon practices and even their pet lizards, with enough love to ensure it seeps out of every facet of the salon. This is a salon that understands their brand, speaks to their clients on higher levels than just service and truly feels like home to an eclectic bunch of clients and staff who just like to hang out in this one of a kind space. Having seen it, who can blame them?

The space has something to catch the eye from every angle. Once just a block of offices, it has been transformed into every geek kid’s salon dream – think a Pac-Man table to be played, walls made of Lego and lizards taking advantage of the salon’s natural light. It’s a salon that speaks to the young and the cool, check their astronomical rise on Gen Z social media platform of choice Tik Tok as a reference, and has built a genuine salon family out of loyalty and camaraderie. Clients find out about the salon through word of mouth or on forums for anything from Cosplay to transgender beauty. They enter this unique space and realise they’ve found their people. Then, as you’d expect, they never leave.

“We’ve got whole families,” the duo explained, with their clients following them eagerly despite recently having moved locations. “We’ve seen kids go from little babies to teenagers and now they’re in love trying to get married.”

It’s not just clients who simply want to hang out in the inviting space, it’s locals and tradespeople who come in to play arcade games and hang out with the staff, and the staff itself, a tight-knit team of eight, who knock off at the end of the day and then stay to indulge in a glass of champagne. This isn’t a salon you’re desperate to leave at the end of the workday and, aside from the playful décor that emboldens every aspect of the salon, it’s also a tranquil space to unwind in. Sustainability is a core factor of Razor Dolls, something that pairs with bold, geek, hyper 21st century culture more perfectly the more you think about it. Razor Doll’s clients are tuned in, passionate people and, in 2020, those passions are often connected to the environment – hence, the salon’s array of greenery adding to the atmosphere and eco-conscious mindset leading their salon practices. Even the Lego walls are recyclable!

“I think they’ve married very well together, absolutely,” Brooke said. “A lot of our clients are vegans, like the majority of our clients. I feel our complete zoo of clients that come from all the most random weird, wonderful places all gel really well together.” The salon partners with Sustainable Salons and offers their clients a green fee to meet them half way in offsetting the carbon footprint of salon services, using their community mindset for good.

With so many intricate layers to the salon, finding the ideal product partner is paramount. The salon is renowned online for their bright rainbow colour, although they do it all, so bold hues are a necessity. As these services are heavy-duty transformations, which take hours, plenty of skill and commitment from the hairdresser and client alike, the right care, quality and technology is significant, as is the sustainability factor. What brand can tick all these boxes? Enter muk Haircare.

The brand fits Razor Dolls as an Australian, sustainable and local operation, one which allows the salon to call up and speak to someone on an intimate first name basis. Importantly, the prices are fair, ensuring clients, who all have to buy retail to maintain their vivid colour look, aren’t spending more than they need to on an a hair service that is already a formidable investment. The brand’s newly launched Vivid hues are the perfect tool, and the brand also facilitates the talented team in their education and editorial pursuits. Razor Dolls appreciates muk’s philanthropic, community-minded DNA – plus, there’s a Pokemon named Muk, the rainbow version of which sits as a model amidst the salon’s shelves. It’s almost too perfect.

As Razor Dolls and muk Haircare are a partnership, the salon considers its clients as partners as well, working together on hair looks that often go viral, and truly change lives. Clients are expected to invest in retail, maintain the proper care necessary with bold colour, as outlined in a contract, and be a welcoming, non-judgmental presence in the salon’s eclectic space. It’s more than just business for Razor Dolls, their services and their community can’t thrive without the right clients bringing their commitment and energy to the table. No one pay cheque for a service will ever be bigger than the community at large, or the salon’s stellar reputation.

This is consolidated with a professional system that includes only face-to-face quotes that actually accommodate the client’s personal needs and confirms a realistic price, also giving the client time to truly experience the space before deciding to partner with the salon. The salon’s digital platform allows clients to select the service and retail options they want, and work back to meet their budget, with both the salon and client working together on an affordable, transformative hair experience. Clients also sign a waiver to assure maintenance and care, and are offered a complimentary blow dry service the week after colour, to check maintenance and ensure everything is perfect, from both the salon and client perspectives. It’s also the perfect time to sell the appropriate retail items, on a day that isn’t already bogged down in a heavy colour service price tag. This intricate system runs seamlessly, making time for a deposit and before and after pictures, necessary for the client and the brand’s growing social media.

“It also gives that client a chance for our review service, it gives that client a chance to give honest feedback. If they’re not happy, that’s when they’re going to say it. Then we’ll just go in and change keep something. All the groundwork’s there if there does need any tweaking,” Brooked explained.

“They’re not buying that day of service,” the pair said of this commitment and system. “You’re offering them the overall experience. We under promise and over deliver every step of the way. It’s also explained to them that it’s an investment in their head because it’s all the groundwork that we’re doing. That’s what they’re actually essentially paying for, all that time and hard work.”

Razor Dolls are passionate about professionalism and accountability in our industry and the need for practices that elevate the worth of the hairdresser’s time and skill. As an example, they charge for consultations that run over time and they financially account for strand tests that take up a chair

“We’ve got a $180 bill sitting there for a plumber that came out to give us a quote. $180 bill for a quote, for 10 minutes to do it, because that was his minimum hourly rate,” Brooke said. “So I feel like hairdressers need to start thinking like that, it needs to be a culture. I think waivers need to be a culture as well.”

Beyond the actual services, the trinkets and the technology that makes Razor Dolls stand out, at its core is the inclusive family DNA that makes the salon one of a kind. You’ll know if someone fits into the culture from much more than just their bright hair hues, it’s a state of mind that gives the salon its feeling of community and home. To some, this home is vital, and Razor Dolls never takes that for granted.

“Apparently we’re in quite a few forums or in a transgender forum as having a good reputation in because we’d get these little trans kids that come in,” Brooke said. “We have done a gender affirming haircut date for transgender children a couple of years ago. And then that was obviously put into a forum and it’s just circulated. I feel like you get some of these kids and they really need to be nurtured. So the people who come in are your people, you know? They know, they know that this is their place.”

A lot of work, time, energy and practices go into building that culture, but the results? Priceless.

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