Scissor Sisters Salon Makes Clients the Center of Attention
How owner Beau Sutton captures energy and curates a party atmosphere in the colorful salon
Words and photos by Bryan C. Parker
Getting a haircut is about sharpening up your look and embracing something new. It’s ultimately an act of self-celebration. Scissor Sisters Salon in North Austin takes those essential aspects of hair styling to a whole new level by letting clients take center stage. At Scissor Sisters, clients are serviced on a colorfully lit, elevated stage, as waiting clients look on from theater seating.
Salon owner Beau Sutton’s idea came from the industry staple hair shows that big conglomerate beauty brands host periodically.
“To attract stylists, they make it a party event,” Sutton explains. These expositions boast an array of stages where stylists display products and attendees receive top-tier treatment with hors d’oeuvres and free drinks. “It’s education, but it’s all about this high energy, where every stage is trying to grab your attention with music and platform artists who are decked out in great clothes and have really interesting ways of doing hair that are new and modern,” Sutton says.
Scissor Sisters aims to capture that same energy in offering a fun, upbeat experience for clients. And yes, drinks are complimentary. Austinites will feel right at home, since the iconic neon sign in the entrance came from Sexy Scissors, a now-closed salon that stood on North Lamar Blvd. for years. Plus, Scissor Sisters’ blue velvet theater seats are from the Alamo Drafthouse’s original location on Colorado St. Though the shop just opened in November of 2019, it feels borrowed from an Austin of past eras, as Sutton does everything he can to keep it weird.
The space also features an attached vintage store, Side Kitsch, that sells housewares, furniture and clothing. It’s perfect for browsing as you’re waiting for your moment in the spotlight, and you can leave with a new outfit to accompany your haircut.
One key difference from industry hair shows is that Scissor Sisters’ stylists provide an in-depth consultation before providing services to ensure that clients are getting exactly what they want. At industry hair shows, willing participants put themselves entirely in the hands of a stylist.
“It’s so high energy, because there’s an audience watching you, and you’re feeling this excitement, because you know that what they’re going to give you is new and cute,” Sutton says. “And when you finally get to see it in the mirror, it’s like this release.”
Sutton’s shop retains some of that energy, because the stage doesn’t have traditional salon mirrors for checking out your cut in progress.
“We do provide handheld mirrors,” Sutton says, “but over time, most clients start to just trust, because they know we’re going to give them something good.”
Scissor Sisters serves clients of all kinds and has a wide array of services for both men and women. Sutton says many men act with an assumption about where and how they’re supposed to get their hair cut, but points out that Scissor Sisters offers all the same services you can find at a barber shop with more personalized and attentive customer service.
Soon, the salon will begin offering men’s hair units, which are products constructed from real hair that are custom fit to a client. After a hairstylist applies the unit, it stays in for weeks and is washable and style-able.
One of the shop’s stylists, Jualdo Vielma, says that recent trends in men’s hairstyles include disconnected and dramatic cuts with sharp angles and sudden changes in length. Variations on mohawks and mullets are both in style at the moment, Vielma says.
“At a lot of barber shops, if you want something a little out of their norm, you’re probably not going to get a good haircut,” he explains. On the other hand, men who want something more expressive, or even something as simple as color treatment, can find that at Scissor Sisters.
Vielma is no stranger to salons or stages. He’s been styling hair for 16 years and has always worked in shops that provide unique services.
“Back then they were calling these types of barber shops ‘rock ‘n’ roll barber shops,’ because it wasn’t just a classic men’s cut — it was men and women, cut and color, do what you want,” Vielma says, adding that the shops catered to people who are “left of center.”
When he’s not cutting hair, Vielma performs as a drag artist, and has been organizing shows in Austin for almost a decade. On the topic of working at Scissor Sisters, he says, “I almost saw it as a community space as well as a salon, and that’s what drew me to it.”
That’s a sentiment with which Sutton couldn’t agree more. “We’re just inviting everybody to a party that we’ve been going to for a long time,” he says.