I love going to get my hair cut at Prism Salon, but I haven’t always felt this way about haircuts.
I have wild, curly hair, and let me tell you: I have had some bad haircuts in my time. For instance, there was that one hairdresser who nearly yanked out my hair trying to brush it when it was dry. That is a no-no for curly hair, and she should have known better.
In the past, I have often dreaded going to get my hair cut.
But that all changed when I found my current hairdresser: Angela Robinson, owner of Prism Salon in Lexington, Kentucky.
She is the main hairdresser there as well, but I think of her as as a Salon Philosopher, Creatix, Hair Wizard and Alchemist. Taking a trip to Prism Salon isn’t just about getting your hair cut.
It’s about entering a space in which you feel accepted, understood, and empowered.
If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I have been letting my hair go silver. You can read more about this here:
I started going to Angela to get my hair cut right as I started making my silver hair transition. She walked with me through the whole process, offering helpful advice about my transition, but never in a pushy manner.
These pictures have filters called “Clarendon” and “Film” on them.
And she has been my biggest encourager through the process, knowing not only just the right haircut to highlight my newly emerging silver hair but also the right words to say to help me through the process. I look forward to my hair appointments with her.
I find that in addition to being a skilled hairdresser, Angela is an insightful conversationalist.
Angela Robinson: Salon Philosopher, Creatix, Hair Wizard and Alchemist
My experience with Angela and Prism Salon is so drastically different than my experience at past salons, I recognized immediately that Angela had a different philosophy.
I wanted to know more about it. So, I asked her to do this interview, and she kindly agreed. In doing it, I learned a lot about her hair philosophy and about creating spaces that help people feel nourished.
Shelly (S): What led you to open Prism Salon?
Angela (A): I realized that I wanted to work in a place that didn’t yet exist. I had thought about being a hairdresser for a long time and went to school for it when I was thirty-three. But I realized that I was different from the industry and wanted to do something that didn’t exist yet
I wanted a safe, cozy space to cut hair in. And I also wanted more creative control over that space. I was sure that there were people like me who didn’t feel comfortable in the industry as a client. So, I thought that if I created the kind of space I needed personally, I would create a place for those clients, too.
Every salon out there has positives and something to teach. But I felt like I was ready to make the kind of salon in which I felt at home.
S: What feels good about Prism Salon to you? How does it make you feel at home?
A: One of the things I look at regarding a business is whether I feel comfortable in it.
For instance, take Micheler’s Greenhouse and Sqecial Media.
(Note from Shelly: Those are two businesses in downtown Lexington—a greenhouse and bookstore.)
A: I walk into those buildings and immediately feel comfortable. They are unique and have a vintage feeling to them. And Sqecial media has all these interesting, eclectic things in it. It is almost like five different people with different tastes decorated it. But it somehow all works.
I love the way those businesses feel. So, I thought to myself, “What if I created a building that was like Micheler’s and Sqecial Media had a love child?
So that’s how I approached creating my salon space. There’s a lot of vintage, antique items in it that have an Old Hollywood feel, as well as an assortment of other odd-and-ends. And there’s a lot of greenery in my space, too.
And then I thought of the name of my salon: Prism. I ought about how a light can reflect through a piece of glass and make a rainbow that stretches out and decorates space when the sun in shining. The prism transforms light into a rainbow.
So, I really leaned into that name and what it means, and it felt right to me.
S: What is the purpose you see Prism Salon playing in the community?
I am not sure totally what I expected my clients to feel when I started the salon. But I have had some clients say that I am compassionate and accepting of them and cool with who they are, even if they aren’t sure.
And I feel good about that. I want clients to feel safe because I know that if I feel safe, I feel creative and vibrant and my best self. So, I want that for my clients.
And that means different things to different people.
Maybe they need to process emotions. Or maybe they want to try a new hairstyle and need some help figuring out to do.
Or maybe a particular client brings a lot of baggage. We all bring baggage to hairdressers. I have had some bad cuts and know how awful that can feel. Whatever baggage they are bringing, I don’t want them to feel judged.
My philosophy is that you are perfect and imperfect just as you are, and both of those are good. We are all evolving and changing all the time. And because of that, sometimes, we need help in our change. And sometimes we just need to maintain in the face of change.
S: What is your favorite thing about being a hairdresser?
A: I love it when I can help a client who has never had a good haircut achieve their vision.
And I love making art central to my business. Art needs to be a bigger part of our life, not just the backdrop.
Think of how artists create: the try to evoke certain feelings. At a show when a band creates music and everyone dances, they are trying to create a feeling.
That’s what I want to do at my salon: organize my space to evoke the feeling of being open safe, engaging, calm, and cozy.
A Parting Comment from Shelly
As I was writing up my interview with Angela, I was struck by the idea of creating the kind of space you need in the world, even if it doesn’t already exist. Chances are that if you need a certain kind of space, others need it, too.
That’s a thought I want to take into 2022. Maybe you will want to do the same.
And if you are in Lexington, Ky and need a haircut, check out Prism Salon. You’ll be glad you did so.