When it comes to finding a salon that offers great service, inclusivity, and an all-around welcoming environment, Bishops Cuts/Color stands out as a leader in the industry. The franchise network, founded in 2001 in Portland, Oregon, operates 42 locations across 15 states in North America, and is known for its commitment to providing a safe space for all clients and staff, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation.
This commitment to inclusivity is evident in the company’s decision to turn down an opportunity to activate pop-up barbershops in Qatar during the World Cup. With over 2MM+ fans expected to travel to the host nation, the potential for brand exposure was massive, but CEO Leigh Feldman and the Bishops team ultimately decided against it as providing a safe space for LGBTQIA+ clients and staff has always been at the core of their ethos, as mentioned in a recent interview with GQ.
Instead, Bishops has been focusing on their current operations in North America, introducing new product partners and services at the start of 2023. The company has carved out a niche between high-priced salons and value chains that offer cheap, but limited services, offering high-quality services at appropriate prices, as well as service menu options that speak to all hair types, textures, and needs, whether it be skin fades, curls, color, or extensions.
Bishops is credited as being the first multi-unit partner prepared to roll out the Cali Curl beach waves, and has already introduced Aqua for tape-ins, K18 molecular repair hair masks, Keratin Smoothing Treatments and Shinefinity color glazing as part of their a la-carte service model, as first covered in a Forbes Magazine piece on the forward-thinking aspects of Bishops.
The company’s commitment to staying ahead of the curve and providing customers with what they want, or even what they didn’t know was possible for them, is evident in the team’s dedication to always delivering the most sought-after looks that will change industry expectations for each customer.
Bishops’ branded culture has also developed a reputation across the country as a safe, non-judgmental place that caters to all ages, genders, and pricing models simply based on the length of hair and the services requested. This is the kind of environment that is attracting people of all walks of life to Bishops Cuts/Color, with some clients even traveling eight hours to visit a location because they knew it was the place for them.
At Bishops, it’s not about whether you’re a man or woman, or how you identify, it’s only about hair. The company has set the bar in being first in the socially conscious, community-oriented, fun-loving, welcoming to all, artist-driven brand in the industry. The revolutionary vibe at Bishops’ hybrid hairshops (read: providing barbershop AND salon services) locations attracts customers looking for everything from traditional styles to children’s cuts to dramatic lifestyle-change looks. The layout in each location is intentional and purposeful, curated by approved art and music as well as staff members who are trained and motivated by the company’s mission of acceptance.
Bishops Cuts/Color is more than just a salon, it’s a safe space for all, where clients can expect high-quality services, affordability, and an inclusive and welcoming environment. With a team of skilled stylists and a commitment to making everyone feel welcome, Bishops Cuts/Color is the perfect place to go for your next haircut or color.
When speaking with Managers at Bishops locations it became quite evident why Bishops is the place to be. Richmond, VA area manager Erica Mazzella says she found Bishops in her market and knew it was meant for her.
“Several years ago, I lived in Southern Oregon and went to spend a weekend with my bestie for our birthday. We were going to PBR Music Fest, and my bestie asked me to color his hair beforehand (gotta look your best for Lizzo, mkay). Pulp Riot had just come out with their neon color line, so we did Cupid all over with a color block of candy and he looked so killer and of course we had a great time. A week or so later, he went to his Stylist and Director of Education, Nic Ohge, at Bishops who apparently loved what I did on Salvador’s hair and said if I ever moved to Portland, I had a job! Fast forward to 3.5 years ago when I was moving to Richmond, VA and I saw that a new Bishops location was opening. I was determined to work there because I felt like it would be like having a piece of Oregon all the way in Virginia, and now I manage the shop!”
Clients new to Bishops often ask, “Why should someone come to Bishops?” Andi Schieszler, the manager of the Pasadena location answers that best.
“Bishops is a weird and wonderful place. I think someone who is looking for a place to belong should look at Bishops first. I’ve worked at shops in Beverly Hills and honestly, I think they can’t compare to us. We offer such a variety of services and cater to everyone. No one has to feel pigeonholed into any generalization that may exist in terms of style or price or gender because here that doesn’t exist. The fact is most of the people at my shop are queer so we know what it feels like to need a safe space, we know what being just feels like and will go above and beyond for anyone so that your comfort and needs comes first. I know for me personally even as a stylist I’ve never felt more at home with a hairshop which means I can be better for my clients. While I can only truly speak for myself, I do know my staff and they would agree. I always have wanted to help people in life and with Bishops I get that opportunity. I get to be in a space to escape from the crazy that is life and I get to make people feel good. I jokingly say that I am the stylist for the misfits and that I try to be who I wanted when I was growing up. Whether or not that be rainbow hair, a mullet, fade or just a soft and natural style I always want to be able to help my people. Anyone who comes to Bishops can know that they will be treated with respect, that they will only pay for whatever services they wish for and that they will be treated like our family. Bishops is a place for anyone who just wants to look and feel good about themselves. Be it to rant about a hard week or just gossip or even silently relax, we are here for that.”
Sierra Sharp, regional manager of the Seattle market echos this when asked, “What does Bishops mean to you?”
“My boss and Bishops were a turning point in my career in this industry. If I wouldn’t have found Bishops and had the opportunity to bring together the people I currently work with, I wouldn’t be in the industry today. This company has given me a sense of ownership over my career, in a way that I was able to cultivate where I wanted to work and be the kind of person I want to be. This opportunity has allotted me the ability to change so much in my life and my perspective for the better and has ultimately resulted in feeling fulfilled in so many ways. Bishops and my boss have showed me what it’s like to be vulnerable, kind, my authentic self, and genuinely happy, while empowering me to be the best person and businesswoman I can possibly be.”
Sierra continues when asked, “Why is a place like Bishops important?” “A true Bishops location is important to our industry because we are genuinely driven by the power of being unapologetically ourselves. The bottom line is important, absolutely, but our industry is not full of machines and robots. We are living, breathing, artists, and we have the power to change a person’s life and we don’t need a PhD to do it. Bishops is a powerful culture and place of business that continues to provide a place where people can just be people. Where comfort and acceptance aren’t just words on the wall or a guideline in a procedure manual. It’s a place where the leaders can empower people in their authenticity and stylists can drive individual expression within their respective communities. Bishops is a living, breathing creature, and I believe, is going to reset the standards in our industry.”
Nick Cash, one of the Charlotte, NC area Bishops managers believes places like Bishops are important because, “When I first found Bishops, I was working at a hair salon that only focused on the money that was coming in and not about the people there – clients or stylists. I was 3 years into doing hair and had not had any positive experiences with the places I had worked. I found Bishops on Indeed and thought it was too good to be true. An all-exclusive LGBTQIA+ safe space 30 minutes from my home? Couldn’t be. But it was. I researched for 10 hours before I submitted my application. Once I walked into the space for the first time, I knew I had found a home. The space is welcoming, upbeat, positive, and I have felt that every day for over 3 years now. Places like Bishops are important because in a southern city where it may be hard to find a safe space to go, Bishops shines as a beacon of hope. It changes how future hair shops should do business. Bishops is also relatable, from Italian grandmothers to young middle schoolers, the people in my chair are proud to be Bishops clients, because they believe in the same core values. Cherishing a person for who they are no matter what. People want to be a part of something that has bigger meaning, and Bishops has bigger meaning. As a high school theatre nerd, Navy veteran, turned gamer, hairstylist, I have never found a place that felt like home until Bishops. Places like Bishops offer a place where a person, ANY person, can walk in and fit in and feel the warmth and love that they may not receive in other places. I have never felt the overwhelming support of a community and hope to a part of the Bishops team for as long as I can. Ultimately, places like Bishops are important because the safety, love, and support that is felt can save a person’s life and we may never know it. Bishops does not promote for the company’s sake; this company promotes the PEOPLE- clients and employees. Anyone is welcome here and that’s a guarantee supported by anyone in, or behind, a chair in Bishops.”
Kristi Benigno, who is another manager in the Charlotte area echoes this sentiment. “Honestly, I was in a stage in my career that I was going to “retire” my tools. Possibly teach hair instead. After reading all about Bishops and meeting with the local owners I got my passion back.”
Gwendolen Cameron, manager of the University Place Bishops location in Tacoma, Washington feels similar. “What I love about Bishops the most, is not only can our guests feel they are in a safe space that embraces individuality, but my team can as well. I am so proud to have a team full of talent that can truly be their authentic selves. And I am so grateful to work for a reputable brand that helps create such spaces for us talented misfits!”
“Bishops allows me to be an artist. Like I can 100% be an artist. I get to create, play, be me all day!! I love Bishops and all that it’s allowed me to become. I have been in the industry, let’s just say for many decades and this is the first place where I genuinely could be an artist, be myself.
My clients get a glimpse into what I’ve always wanted out of my career. I wear what I what, create I want, I always have fun and have a safe place to call my home and am allowed to just be me, which in turn encourages my clients to be themselves as well,” says Lisa Chau, manager in Westminster, Colorado.
With an already strong presence across the country and plans to expand in 2023, Bishops have become the future of the haircare industry – not just for clients, but for stylists and barbers as well. All locations offer a wide range of services, from traditional haircuts to cutting-edge treatments and colors that cater to all clients’ needs. The company prides itself on its talented hair experts, who stay ahead of the latest trends and techniques to ensure that all clients leave looking and feeling their best. It’s this embrace of individuality and community that sets Bishops apart from most traditional salons and value chains, and why they are leading the way in the industry.
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