Tucked away on a mostly residential street deep in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn sits The Bird House Salon. The salon doesn’t attract the typical passerby—it’s on the second floor of a warehouse building behind a steel door tattooed with graffiti—making it a rare gem, almost a secret salon, among the usual suspects.
"The first thing we tell clients is that we're in a very strange location," says Nicci Hubert, co-owner of the salon. "Clients must first find our door, ring in and follow a staircase and hallway to our studio. It's a bit unnerving," she admits. But don't be alarmed—once inside, clients are transported to a bright and beautiful space crafted by Nicci and her sister Brooke Hunt.
Owners Brooke Hunt and Jordan Hubert
The siblings opened the salon in 2015 after Hunt had secured a rather large and loyal clientele from a solo venture in a closet-sized studio. "She became so popular that I stepped in and suggested we go into business together and open a salon with space to grow," Hubert says.
With so many salons in New York City, Hubert and Hunt knew they only had one option to achieve success, and that was to differentiate themselves. "There's a lot of noise in the beauty industry, and plenty of ways to compare ourselves and lose sight of our own vision," Hubert says. Rather than comparing themselves with competitors, they set their sights on making the clients' experience exponentially better than one they could have elsewhere.
To do so, they highlight an intimacy that’s less common in big cities like New York. "For us, our highest value is kindness. From staffing to conflict management to client relationships, kindness is in every area of our salon experience," Hubert says. "We are also obsessed with the truth that our hair plays a fundamental role in our emotional being. In a small way, we consider ourselves healthcare providers—we know that a bad hair day isn't just a bad hair day; it's something that can derail a client emotionally. Taking care of their hair isn't about vanity, it's about wellness."
Three years into their blossoming salon journey, Hubert and Hunt still reflect on their decision to head to New York. "We think about how audacious it is to open a salon in New York City," Hubert says. "Out of what seems like a million wonderful and successful salons, what made us think we could play a role? But I'm so glad we did," she says. "To others wanting to open a salon, we say go for it. Follow your guiding voice and write your own rules. There's more than enough hair to go around."