More Than Just A Salon
The foundation of The Braided Life is the idea of the salon as a central gathering place for the Black community. Many of us remember growing up and spending hours, and even full days, as kids surrounded by adult women in the salon gossiping, giving each other advice, laughing, crying, sharing stories--just being in community with one another. A series of events and cultural shifts--ranging from gentrification dispersing and decentralizing Black communities everywhere to the rise of solo salon suites and independent stylists--have meant that these shared experiences in the salon are far and few between today.
Free "third places," or spaces where people can be social and connect outside of work or home, are dwindling, and we're seeing the effects of this particularly on the Black community with disproportionately increasing rates of anxiety and depression (compared to our white counterparts).
The Braided Life is here to revive the second home that was once the salon through the expansion of our community events
Since our doors opened on November 1st, 2021, we've incorporated free community events into the ethos of our brand, and have delivered numerous events for our community with themes around play, mental health, and community-building among which are events such as:
- Self-Care Salon: in partnership with a Black Queer therapist and meditation/breathwork expert, giving our community the tools to be able to both identify when they are not okay, set boundaries with those around them, and self-regulate when needed
- Yoga: A morning of healthy refreshments and restorative trauma-informed yoga for our community to reset
- Johhnie's Antiques Gallery: telling the story of Dorothy McBride and Johnnie's Antiques, one of Austin's oldest Black owned businesses and a pillar of the East Side through a joint photo gallery and panel discussion
- Graphic Eyeliner Workshop: in partnership with a local Black makeup artist, an opportunity for our community to play and learn how to express themselves through a different medium
(Re)Announcing our Salon Sundays Series
Last year, we launched a weekly event series called Salon Sundays with the intention of creating a consistent third space for our community. Though the heart, intention, and ability to execute were there, the budget was not.
It is no secret that Black-owned businesses are vastly underfunded and undersupported through traditional avenues
And unfortunately, we are not an exception to that rule. We, simply, cannot continue serving our community without your support. We're raising money here today in order to revive Salon Sundays--this time as a monthly event series. We plan on opening our doors on the first Sunday of every month to our community to benefit from everything from yoga and meditation to brunches to Group Therapy Sister Circles and everything in between.
We are fortunate to have recently moved to a new location in the heart of the Eastside right across from Huston Tillotson University (HT)--Austin's HBCU. We are fortunate to have a space where HT students have been able to pop into and see that their dreams are valid and attainable. We are fortunate to have a space where we have hosted hundreds of Black folks--filling the four walls with laughter, with tears, with stories, with hope, with relief, with excitement. We are fortunate to be here and it is now our mission to continue spreading that fortune among our community by creating this third space for them.
We hope you'll join us!
It is with the support of our community that we are able to exist today. Thank you to the friends who have brainstormed with us, to the family who has been our biggest cheerleaders, to the clients who continue to trust us with their crowns, to the people who continue to show up to our events, to the accounts who continue to like/share our content, to the models who represent our brand so beautifully, to the stylists whos hands create art--simply, to the people that have been a part of The Braided Life for the past year. And thank you is not enough.
We hope that those of you who we've had the pleasure of connecting with--whether in person or digitally--continue to see the value of what we're building for our community and continue supporting us in any way that you can, whether that's through a donation to this campaign and/or by sharing the campaign with others. And we hope that those of you that are just now getting acquainted with The Braided Life see the vision and join us as we continue making it a reality.
The Braided Life is giving us what we deserve: a central space to call our own. Welcome home.