You & Sundry a pop-up barbershop for women and those within the LGBTQ+ community who haven’t had the best experiences in barbershops aka ME!
I normally go to cis male barbershops but I've never had an awesome experience that makes me want to visit a shop more than twice. In the past, I've chosen barbershops with the best ratings and stars on Yelp. I thought if Yelp gave the shop a high rating I'm guaranteed to have a great experience. This wasn't always the case. I'm going to tell you about this one experience that made me never want to go to another barbershop again.
The last time I went to the barbershop was about a year ago. I won't put the shop's name on blast because I'm not that petty lol.
I remember peeking through the window of the barbershop and seeing a bunch of dudes waiting to get their hair cut. I thought, that's cute, a lot of people want to get their hair cut here. This must be a good sign. I work Monday-Friday so Saturday mornings are the best time for me to go to the barber. This just so happens to be the best time for everyone else too lol! When I visit a barbershop for the first time, I'm guilty for pacing back and forth in three minute intervals outside of the shop, casually sneaking peeks in the window to try and "feel out" the place. I eventually got the courage to walk in. I was due for a haircut and I couldn't go any longer looking like a dusty biscuit — plus this was the best barbershop in the neighborhood according to Yelp. I had to check it out.
I'm always nervous to walk into a shop as a new client because the walk-in process is a little awkward. I feel like I don't belong and everyone's staring or wondering why I'm there. I'm confused who I should speak to, which barber is the best or if they'll execute the cut exactly the way that I want.
You would think the person sitting at the front desk who handles payment info would greet me similar to the way you're greeted when you walk past the front desk at a hair salon — but that didn't happen. I awkwardly waited to make eye contact with someone to see who would be able to cut my hair. It was hot in the shop but I started sweating more than usual because I was dead center and no one looked like they wanted to help me. I eventually made eye contact with one of the barbers and he pointed to another barber sitting in his own chair without any clients. I was afraid he pointed out the barber with the least experience since he didn't have any clients waiting for him. The other barbers had a lot of people waiting, but I wanted to give this barber the benefit of the doubt. Maybe his client cancelled this morning and he's actually really skilled. Geez, was I was wrong.
For starters, I didn't ask for anything complicated, just a 1 and a line up. Very basic. I should've been in and out right? That's what I thought. Everything was fine and then he started spending way too much time lining up my hairline. My hairline isn't perfect but it probably needs the least amount shaped up in comparison to the rest of my head. Homeboy was going to town and I was so confused. I'm super particular about my hairline because my biggest fear is that someone's going to push my hairline too far back. My dad told me a story about a barber who pushed his hairline back further and further each time he went in for a cut and he had to start seeing a new barber. I was always scared of this happening to me *cues dramatic music* — This is exactly what the barber did. One side was lined up normally and the other half was about a half inch behind my normal hairline. A half inch is pretty noticeable especially on the front of your head. I was boiling inside. I immediately wanted to get out of the chair and run away. I know that he knew that he messed up but I was too upset to say anything. It was very obvious with my body language that I was not pleased. What was I going to say? Hey dude you ruined my hairline can you make it grow back in 5 seconds!? No matter my reaction I was going to leave his chair looking crazy. I paid for the cut with a stank face and left the shop looking like a clown. This is definitely not the way you're supposed to feel after paying for a service.
A week later my hairline evened out to make it less noticeable but I told myself I wasn't going back to a barbershop after that traumatizing experience. Thankfully my girlfriend doesn't mind giving me a cut with the clippers at home so I've been able to maintain my undercut as best as I can.
When Kim reached out about You & Sundry and asked if I wanted to get a cut from one of the barbers and blog about my experience, I was a little hesitant at first. I was afraid I would have to relive that awful feeling when my hairline was ruined. What put me at ease was that You & Sundry is a pop-up barbershop that's a safe space where anyone can get their hair cut, no matter their gender identity or expression. I've never been to a barbershop like You & Sundry and it was definitely intriguing. I'm always down for supporting the community and the location 396 Atlantic, Ave Brooklyn NY 11217 is only 30 minutes away from my house. I just so happened to be due for a cut and there were a great selection of barbers to choose from. I chose Aston as my barber because his Instagram feed speaks for itself. His work is amazing and his availability worked with my schedule. You can find him on Instagram at @tinybarberbk.
When I first walked in my initial thought was WOW this is such a big space! There weren't a million people waiting to be seen and it was super cute and clean. Also, it was very hot outside but the AC was on so that was lovely! There were a few comfy couches in the waiting area and a section where you could purchase clothing made from queer designers. Did I mention I was the only person getting my hair cut at that time? I've definitely never had that happen before but I was feeling extra special lol!
When I met Kim and Aston I felt welcomed right away. They both greeted me with a big smile and great energy. We sat down and chatted for a bit and it was all very warm. I had screenshots of inspiration photos of what I wanted my undercut to look like. I wanted two lines on each side of my head that met into a "V" in the back. Aston was very gentle and we chatted about travel and shared many laughs. Kim was bumping Cardi B so it was definitely a vibe. The cut only took about 30 minutes. I came in looking like spoiled lunchables and left looking like a Thanksgiving meal!! Yasss honey!! Not only was the cut fierce but Aston and Kim's personalities and vibe made the experience that much more fun!
The pop-up shop will be open until July 14th. Make sure you make an appointment while the barbers still have availability! As a queer person it was so great to visit a barbershop that made me feel normal and accepted. Looking forward to their future pop-ups!
396 Atlantic, Ave Brooklyn NY 11217
June 17-July 14th
Have you ever walked into a cis male dominated barbershop as a queer person and felt like you didn't belong? Feel free to share in the comments below!