Hairrari: restyling the barbering industry

After opening three locations in New York, the gender-neutral barbershop is expanding to the West Coast. Co-founders Magda Ryczko and Sara Olivia Granberger share how they created the inclusive space.
Hairrari 16x9 hero

Founded in 2011 by Poland-born Magda Ryczko, Hairrari is a collective of hair stylists that aims to remove gender bias from traditional hair-cutting spaces. ‘Hairrari helps to fill a void that salons or barbers had, where they weren't inclusive to all genders,’ say Magda and Sara Olivia Granberger, who co-own the brand's Los Angeles salon.

‘Hairrari started as a barbershop with a retro vibe and living-room-style decor,’ Magda and Sara add. ‘People are still discriminating against gay, trans and lesbian people, or have preconceived notions of how women's hair or men's hair should look, without considering non-binary people.’

Magda founded Hairrari following her own experience of training as a stylist. Despite completing a number of apprenticeships, she kept coming across nepotistic behavior in the industry. Hairrari was her way of opening the doors of the hairstyling world to others. That's why the team is now deeply embedded in local social justice, working with non-profit organizations Planned Parenthood and Black Lives Matter. Magda has trained more than 40 people since opening Hairrari and offers free haircuts to those in need.

In the early days, a lot of Hairrari's growth came from being a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. ‘To us, customer service and quality of work is of utmost importance,’ they say. ‘We're known for long-to-short makeovers, pixies, fades, mullets, creative haircuts, undercuts and shags.’

The latest Hairrari barbershop opened in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. ‘It's been a lot of work,’ say Magda and Sara. ‘Some of our NYC clients who are now residing in LA have been gracing us with their presence. It's been really rewarding to see people traveling to see us.’

Alongside the four barbershops, the Hairrari team also have their own merchandise and product line, including an argan oil serum and styling clay. It not only brings in additional revenue, but also affirms the brand's identity. ‘With a trusted brand comes a responsibility to be trusted in all parts of the brand.’

‘We liked using other products, but some just weren't doing what we needed them to do,’ the pair say. ‘We try to make our product names fun and gay-friendly to normalize LGBTQ+ stuff. We were super-lucky to meet Nicie Mok, our in-house merch and product branding designer.’

Whether it's the barbershops or the products, the overall message is to neutralize negative language about the LGBTQ+ community. ‘A lot of times, it's our clients, friends or team that bring ideas to the table,’ Magda and Sara say. ‘We try to get involved in any way we can.’

This article was first published in 100 Ways to Make a Living 2021. To become a subscriber or purchase our newest guide, head to our webshop.

You might like these, too