Gender Neutral Barbering
Q&A for the Gender Neutral Barbering
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I’m Magda Ryczko, the owner of Hairrari, gender neutral barbershops in NYC and soon LA. I was born in Poland and moved to the States at 11 years old. I’m a barber, karaoke aficionado, and cat mom of three. We have three NYC locations, the oldest of which is a decade old, and a fourth opening soon in L.A.
What led you to open Hairrari?
I hopped around many salons as an apprentice and never really felt I was getting the education or growth that I needed to be on the floor. Ultimately, after getting fired from a few places, I started working at a little creative barbershop where I was pretty busy and got to hone my skills. I loved the creativity that came with barbering and more of a chill environment so when the time came to open my shop, I decided on opening a barbershop. At that time, 10 years ago, I still felt a little weird telling people I’m opening a barbershop since it’s more of a male-dominated profession but that is where I felt my strength was. We weren’t gender neutral or labeled as queer-friendly back then. It is the reputation that has evolved over time.
What’s a gender-neutral barbershop?
We charge based on hair length, not gender. A short cut is a short cut. A long is long. We like to be inclusive to everyone, women, men and non-binary folk.
What’s your biggest accomplishment to date?
What I’m most proud of is being able to buy my mom a house and closing on her birthday.
What are you most excited about right now?
I am very excited about Hairrari branching out to Los Angeles. I’m partnering up with one of our pre-pandemic super talented barbers, Sara Olivia Granberger, who made the move there last year. This will be our biggest location yet. We’re super excited for the chance to grow and spread love in California. The amount of clients who come in and say how safe they feel coming to our space and how thankful they are is very rewarding each day so we are happy to bring this experience to the West Coast. We are planning on opening on May 1st, 2021, so let your friends know and come visit! We would like the LA shop to be community-based and host art shows and events.
What advice you have for future entrepreneurs?
Be grateful and spread the love. Being an entrepreneur there is never enough hours in the day, always we can do more but I think it’s important to stop and reflect and just be grateful. Gratitude breeds a sense of self that allows for an objective view of our life and where we want to go. Be flexible. Dreams change sometimes. Let things go if they aren’t working. Be okay with changing anything up. Just keep moving forward, keep growing, keep evolving. Keep defining your mission. Every day, I am very thankful for our amazing team and our most lovely clientele ever!
What is your mission?
Our mission is to provide a welcoming space for people to unwind, share their thoughts, feel comfortable to ask for a haircut they’d really like without judgement and contribute to society in positive ways. As a brand it’s important for us to always speak up for injustice, educating our staff and clientele on pronouns, queer issues, human rights and anything that may need our support. If there is ever someone in need of our support, we would like them to come to us and if we can help, we will be hair for you. 😉 As a barbershop, we have a huge amount of people coming by so we see that as an opportunity to make a difference.
What do you love most about hairdressing/barbering?
I love having the ability to make people feel good; to have a part in building their confidence. Having an opportunity to touch so many people in a short amount of time and making new connections each day just makes me happy. Teaching haircutting is very rewarding as well. As of now, I have successfully trained about 40 people who have become very successful in their craft. It makes me proud to be able to pass on my knowledge to future barbers and to give people an opportunity for growth. In turn, it gives us an opportunity to help the community, donate to charities, give back in positive ways.
Does Hairrari offer barbering classes?
Yes, we have a few different options to further education. A polishing course or something curated custom to the individual.
What’s your favorite products to use?
I personally use Magda’s Mist beach spray on most of my haircuts. It gives it the natural beachy look, adds volume and texture. It has been a favorite among our staff and clientele for a while now!