Those chats in the chair—sometimes they lead to something really special.
One day at Pavo Salon Spa in Memphis, TN, a client was telling her stylist about the massive new facility being built by Hospitality Hub, a group founded in 2007 by a church association and backed by local government as well as private philanthropists to offer the homeless in Memphis a centralized entry point into the continuum of care. Plans for the new campus include a shelter for women and children where a salon could be housed.
The stylist passed along the information to Pavo owners Scot Robinson and Shawn McGee, knowing that they would be interested in donating and maybe setting up a volunteer opportunity for the staff.
Scosha Salon is Born
“The project was in the beginning stages,” Robinson recalls, “so I was able to take our involvement a step further. What if we would give a donation to build the salon and give that salon a name and a story?”
Robinson and McGee quickly put this plan into action. Combining their first names, they came up with the name “Scosha Salon” for a two-chair salon that would always have a stocked inventory and a consistent culture.
“We googled ‘Scosha’ and found out that it’s an old English name, which connected to us,” Robinson reports. “Digging further, we discovered it had a Jamaican root name for ‘gift.’” The name was perfect, and so was the timing.
“During the pandemic, what struck me was how fortunate I am,” Robinson says. “I live in a mid-century home with lots of glass overlooking a yard that is beautiful like a nature park. How do people cope when they have no shelter, when they can’t control their surroundings? Shawn and I thought about what we could do for people like that. This project gave us a way to give back to the community and let people have more control—give them the experience of being salon clients.”
Structure, Responsibility, Transformation
Robinson and McGee designed the space, arranged to supply professional product, and wrote a curriculum to guide volunteers, including some of their own team members, who will work in the salon. Women coming into the shelter will have their first salon service when they arrive. After that, they’ll go through the shelter’s program to earn credits that they can redeem at the salon.
“After getting a fresh start, the women will earn the opportunity to book services,” Robinson explains. “This will teach them responsibility and help them to feel better about themselves.” Hair cutting, hairstyling, manicures, facials, and makeup will be on the menu. Chemical hair services may be added in the future.
“There is so much power in transformation,” Robinson says. “Someone comes in off the street, maybe with a background of abuse, and hasn’t been cared for. Everything at Scosha is soft—no metal—with soothing colors so that it doesn’t remind them of prison or harshness. We made sure to leave enough space for backwash shampoo bowls because, with sidewash bowls, you have to lean over the person, and that can be triggering. We wanted to design something really nice, but we had to make sure they would be comfortable in the space.”
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