This Is What It’s Like to Open Up a Hair Salon in a Global Pandemic

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Once it was finished, there were white-painted brick walls, a tin ceiling and crown molding, arched entryways, sustainable bamboo flooring, and an outdoor patio—the latter a key component in navigating a new landscape in the time of COVID-19. At Treehouse Social Club, which offers cuts, styling, and coloring, clients more comfortable with receiving their services al fresco can go outside to the patio underneath a large, lush Japanese maple tree. “I have a backyard at my Brooklyn apartment and the calming relief it gave me and my family during quarantine was invaluable,” she explains. “I would like to provide that feeling to our clients to have a quiet and private outdoor space, even just for a moment.”

But a visit to the East Village alcove goes beyond just procuring a safe, socially distanced haircut and a breath of fresh hair. It’s an immersive experience with a distinct retro tropical feel. “The vision came about out of a need for a vacation during quarantine,” explains Mischa G, who listened to Martin Denny’s lush exotica records while dreaming up a tiki-tinged mise-en-scène. “After working in one of New York City’s biggest salons, having a space that felt like a salon was the last thing I wanted,” explains the pro. “We were very conscious of the colors we picked, the music we played, and the whole environment.” One major guiding principle: No nondescript black furniture and capes. Instead? Rich green harp chairs by Japanese salon manufacturer Takara Belmont, arched vintage mirrors above chrome shelves salvaged from the Waldorf Astoria, lucite bar cars to hold stylist’s various tools and products, and an array of floral-print satin robes for clients to slip into. True to its name, the space houses a surplus of greenery—a mix of ivy, spider plants, pothos, monstera, and majesty palms—made up of adopted plants supplied by clients moving out of town. “We’ve become a plant rescue!” laughs Mischa G.

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The Treehouse Social Club’s hallway to the outdoor patio.Photo: Courtesy of Mischa G

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