In most salons you’ll see two prices for haircuts—one for men and one for women. On June 1, Kara’s Urban Day Spa will cut gendered pricing at its three HRM locations (5980 Spring Garden Road, 940 Cole Harbour Road and and offer equitable gender-neutral pricing.
Kevyn Martell, Kara’s new artistic director, has been in the industry for over 30 years and thinks gendered pricing is unfair. He says, “if you are a woman who has a little pixie haircut and are sitting next to a man who has the exact same length of haircut, and it takes me the exact same time to do it and finish it, why should you pay $20 more for being a woman?”
Kara’s will offer three prices based on length—very short, above the shoulder and below the shoulder. “It doesn’t matter what gender you are,” says Martell, “it matters how long it takes for the service.”
Michael Phillips, owner of One Block Barbershop (2010 Gottingen Street), has offered gender-neutral pricing since he opened his north end salon in 2012. “It just made sense to me,” he says. Before opening OBB, Phillips regularly saw clients charged different prices for similar cuts, and he saw clients misgendered by a presumptive system. Now, he charges two prices based on length—there's a price for short cuts and a price for long cuts. He believes gender-neutral pricing makes his salon more accessible to queer, trans and non-binary Haligonians.
“You know, we’re cutting hair, we’re not deciding someone’s gender,” says Phillips.
Martell agrees, and he’s excited about inspiring change in Halifax’s hair community. “I think people should follow suit,” he says. “And I think they will.”