Land of Barbers, which reopened at 146 Franklin Ave. this past fall, has expanded their practice to accommodate all types of hair regardless of gender.
Previously located on Greenpoint Ave. but forced to close early in the pandemic, Land of Barbers has shifted from offering solely men’s haircuts to taking a gender neutral approach, now including salon services like women’s haircuts, hair coloring, and more. Owner and founder Enrico Mariotti attributes the update to the changing state of the industry coupled with his personal desire to break down the ‘salons are for women and barbers are for men’ mindset.
“I think the wave of the barber shop being very masculine has been very trendy and I’ve been part of that, but I think the trend is starting to change again,” Mariotti explained. “Everything is changing in this kind of industry and while I think you’re going to see it continue to carry on a bit like [traditional] barber shops, I think it’s more important to go with something that is more all-inclusive.”
Mariotti also credits the neighborhood and local Greenpoint community with driving how they conduct their business and what services they offer.
“We’ve always been open to the transgender and gay and lesbian communities; we try to embrace that even more, because we’re all in New York because we are looking for that kind of freedom. So that’s why for me it’s important to pivot,” Mariotti said.
In terms of spreading the word about their new offerings, the location and community have played a crucial role
“What we do here, it’s hair. Of course it’s a little bit harder now to transfer from barbering to a hair salon with color, so we’re going to take a little bit of time to communicate that, but I really believe in the community of Greenpoint. That’s why I wanted to reopen here, because I love Greenpoint. Somebody offered me a place in Williamsburg, somebody offered me a place in Bushwick, but I love Greenpoint and we have a lot of customers here already and that is where I want to stay.”
The biggest surprise for Mariotti has been the amount of women who have already visited the salon in the short time that it’s been reopened. Though that didn’t happen without a bit of a learning curve, including having to build a new staff skilled across hair cutting, styling, coloring, and beyond, as well as reimagining the new space to feel more welcoming for all customers.
Part of the new shop includes a space for art for sale by Stars Belong to Everyone, founded by an Italian-raised artist who designed seven interpretations of saints and brings them to life in a Brooklyn studio, collaborating with artisans to make mugs, hair clips, candles, and more.
Mariotti also hopes to collaborate with local businesses, particularly those on Franklin (such as Franklin Pizza, Karczma, and others). And further in the future, the goal is to showcase more art by local artists and possibly even open up parts of the space for events.
“I think there’s a good spirit to collaborate with businesses around,” Mariotti expressed. “I’m very open to work with collectivity. I’m very into art and artistry, so I’m more than happy. Again, we’re part of the community, so whatever they want to provide, I would be very happy to have them.”