Capriece Batchelor and Sarah Len opened Culture of Hair in fall 2017 in San Francisco with the goal of catering to people with all hair types and from all walks of life. “No one should ever be turned away because of the type of hair they have,” Len says.
Batchelor, who has an ethnically diverse background, says he struggled to find a stylist in his hometown, Milwaukee, MI, who could cut and style his coarse, curly hair. So, he took his hair into his own hands at just 15, eventually styling customers (like his brother and friends) in his basement. Later on, he worked at West Coast salons like Grasshopper, where he trained with Toni & Guy education director Jeneill Smith. After meeting Len, a designer at OHLA Studio, a space of his own began to materialize.
Capriece Batchelor and Sarah Len
Enter Culture of Hair—or what the pair fondly call The COH—which staffs stylists who specialize in areas like color and highlights, braids and dreadlocks, and general techniques. “The intention behind that is to welcome everyone,” Batchelor says, who tends to the hair side of the business while Len helms marketing and design.
When conceptualizing The COH, Len says, she saw a lot of sameness in the industry, “a lot of vinyl black leather.” The answer was to customize nearly everything. They designed a cutting station, which anchors the salon and is surrounded by six stations; friends poured the terrazzo countertops; and they brought in vintage Italian furniture and splurged on a beautiful light fixture. “It feels really fresh and elevated, but it’s also really approachable,” she adds.
That attention to detail trickled down to the products used in the restroom to the candles burning to the loose-leaf tea and mezcal served to the reading material carried and the language the staff uses. “We approach things with more sensitivity around the language,” Batchelor says. “Our haircuts don’t have a gender attached to them. They have a price, a time and maybe a length.”
If Batchelor and Len ever have a doubt that they’re onto something, they need look no further than Allure’s March 2018 issue devoted to diversity, which the magazine called Culture of Hair. “Pay attention to the details and create a space that’s easy to navigate, inviting, fresh and hospitable,” Batchelor says. “That’s at the core of what people are looking for these days.”