By Riley Chervinski
An Edmonton salon made headlines earlier this year when they announced a new haircut pricing model — the price of cuts at Adara Hair and Body Studio would now be based on length of hair and chair time, instead of a client’s gender.
Co-owner Rebecca Wollenberg says the decision was an easy one.
“We noticed that pricing was unfairly represented between short and long-haired clients, and it started not making sense to us anymore based on that old model of charging. We just decided it was time to make the change,” she says.
The new pricing structure means a man with long hair who requires a lengthy, detailed cut could pay more than a female client who visits the salon for a quick trim based on chair times. This differs from some salons where fixed prices for men and women are in place.
The salon received widespread media attention for their policy, which came in effect March 1st. Buzzfeed, the Edmonton Journal, and Metro News Canada were among the handful of publications that picked up the story.
“It’s been amazing. We’ve had no negative feedback, and we’ve definitely seen an increase in appointments and new clients. People are happy to support a salon that is progressive. There’s been positive feedback from existing long-haired clients who know they will pay more, just because they want to support what the salon stands for,” says Wollenberg.
Wollenberg says the salon is LGBTQ-friendly and participates in Pride Week each year. She hopes the new pricing model will allow LGBTQ clients a safe space to get their hair done, and looking forward, Wollenberg says she’d like to see every salon implement this new pricing model.
“I think it’s definitely a time to transition. We are encouraging all salons to move forward with this kind of change, it just makes sense,” she says.
In Winnipeg, the Aveda Institute has been charging the same amount for men and women’s cuts for years.
“Why should it be any different— the service is the service, we book in the same amount of time for a male guest as a female guest when it comes to a haircut, and they both get a really great experience,” said Anna-Maria Pozzi, assistant team leader at the Aveda Institute. Haircuts at Aveda range from $15-$50, depending on the stylist’s experience level.
In some places, like California, it’s actually illegal to charge based on gender (gender bias in service pricing was outlawed in 1995). As of 2014, no laws exist in Canada to protect consumers and prohibit the practice.