Published Article- The Harlem Times JUNE 2013

A New Breed Of Upscale Salons Are Transforming The Images Of Harlem

 Harlem has always been a place that is rich in culture and in more recent years hallmarked by cultural diversity. As the landscape of Harlem has changed, so has the brand of beauty services being offered in this historic region. The presence of mom and pop type beauty shops is still very prevalent, but there’s a new breed of beauty services that aim to provide customers with a salon experience. One might say, ‘what’s the difference between a shop and a salon?’ The three salons featured shared with the Harlem Times what distinguishes them from a “shop”, and how they will to continue to contribute to the revitalization of Harlem.

We Love Hair LLC. is located in the heart of Harlem on 137th street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. It’s aligned with a strip of establishments that offer beauty services, but stands out among the rest because of its cool atmosphere and attention to detail with its clients. In talking with the head stylist and owner, Willie Whitfield, we were able to get a closer look at We Love Hair LLC’s connection to Harlem. Whitfield expressed that there is an eclectic group of people that live in Harlem. His goal for opening a salon in Harlem was to provide a “downtown” salon vibe in an uptown setting.  He strives to bring a super chic feel to Harlem. Whitfield was born in Harlem and believes that it was apropos to begin building his business here. We Love Hair LLC currently only services clients for hair care. They specialize in precise cuts and natural hair care. Whitfield hopes to expand his range of beauty services offered and will undertake moving to a larger space in Harlem in the next few years. He has a passion and commitment to being able to offer employment to more harlemites and infuse the We Love Hair LLC experience throughout Harlem.

Bibi Salon is located between 119th and 120th and Frederick Douglass Blvd and brings a range of services to the Harlem community. Bibi Salon’s tag line is “The New Salon, For The New Harlem”. Bibi salon offers hair care, make-up, and facial waxing services to its clientele. The owner takes pride it in being able to serve Harlem because it’s a historic community that was the home of the late great Madame CJ Walker. Bibi Salon holds dear the foundation laid by beauty mavens and entrepreneurs like Madame CJ Walker and incorporate those values into their brand promise. Through their “Perspectives” artistic and educational programs Bibi Salon provides a vital cultural service to the Harlem community. They have a great program called “Mojo Mama” that provides a service to moms that need a little pampering. Bibi Salon partners with a neighboring business to provide makeovers for the “Mojo Mama” program.  Four times a year Bibi Salon reviews nominated candidates and chooses a deserving mom. The “Mojo Mama” package includes: a professional photo shoot, hairstyling, make-up, nails, and wardrobe consulting. These are just some of the ways Bibi Salon has given back to the Harlem community. The salon vows to provide mentoring to up and coming stylists and future business owners through providing professional work experience, and exposure to a diverse group of clientele.

Turning Heads Day Spa & Salon is contributing to an evolving culture in the beauty world of Harlem. It’s located on 121st and Lenox Ave. and has been serving the Harlem area for years with their premium hair care and spa services. Turning Heads is located in what many would deem as the heart of Harlem, nestled in between a bevy of restaurants, and a heavily populated shopping strip. It’s first rate natural hair styling is renowned among naturalistas across NYC. Turning Heads asserts that it is committed to providing comprehensive spa services that provide clients with the ultimate pampering experience. It will remain in Harlem because of its commitment to providing fine salon services. The salon also offers personally branded products for its customers.

Each of these salons provides quality beauty services and endeavors to upgrade clients from a “shop” experience to a full on salon experience. They all possess their own unique style and approach to servicing the Harlem community. A key aspect of sustaining any brand is the ability to stay on the cutting edge of said brand’s trends. Each of these establishments achieves this in their own way, whether it’s through collaborations with community partners, educational programs, empowering community members that need a little boost, or expanding and contributing to revenue building in the Harlem community.  Transformation comes in many forms, in this case the beauty industry is renewing the image of Harlem, one beauty service at a time.

You check out these salons and their commitment to the Harlem community by clicking the links below-


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