Hairstylists such as Brandon Rabideau are finding a new way to do business. Photo courtesy of Brandon Rabideau.

Only three years out of cosmetology school, hair stylist London Vincent considered giving up her career. After the salon where she was working unexpectedly closed in early 2016, she was left with few options. She didn’t have enough clients to go out on her own, and she knew joining another salon meant restarting an apprenticeship.

As a compromise, she decided to split the cost of a 100-square-foot suite in the West 7th corridor with a friend. Envy Salon Suites & Spa is part of a new trend in the hairstyling industry. In a traditional salon setting, hairdressers work as employees. In return, salon staffers manage scheduling, pay for advertising, and provide continuing education. But in the growing field of salon suites, hair stylists are working for themselves in partitioned cubicles that range in size from 100 to several-hundred square feet. The idea of being self-employed was appealing to Vincent, and at $350 a month, the rent seemed reasonable.

“I liked it at first,” she recalled. “I liked being my own boss, but six months later, it became very discouraging.”

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