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The Therapeutic Touch of Symbolica Salon: Austin hair stylists center queer clientele – Qmmunity

(l-r) Gina Ruggirello, Annie Coles, Renee, Jasmine Kokoszka, and Michael Gonzalez (entrance) (Courtesy of Symbolica Salon)

Over the past two years, discovering a spot that felt secure exterior of 1’s house was a problem. Little past survival appeared to matter.

So yeah: It is smart {that a} haircut was the very last thing on folks’s minds. The early COVID lockdown precipitated many people to place a maintain on rituals like haircuts – as a substitute DIY chopping and styling our personal hair in our bogs – driving on the insistence that “hair is simply hair.” But it surely isn’t. Two people that really feel this sentiment are Gina Ruggirello and Jasmine Kokoszka, co-owners of Symbolica Salon. As talked about on their web site, Symbolica Salon’s mission is “to advertise physique positivity and have a good time the LGBTQ+ group by creating an setting that permits for subversive expression.” Like to start with, the salon continues to supply a spot of consolation and security, particularly for traditionally excluded and marginalized teams.

Six months after changing into acquainted with each other, the 2 stylists determined to open the salon in 2019 due to their shared imaginative and prescient. Ruggirello, initially from Michigan, says that their strategy to constructing clientele started by providing free haircuts to of us at bars and thru Instagram. Native Austinite Kokoszka shares that she established a part of her clientele throughout her teenage years. For the 2, their success continues to develop by phrase of mouth and their yearbook-esque Instagram profile.

“I really feel honored to have folks feeling tremendous f*cking cute once they depart.”
– Jasmine Kokoszka

Ruggirello credit Kokoszka for holding it down on the salon the primary yr of COVID as Ruggirello couldn’t work as a result of they’re immunocompromised. The pair have since maintained a strict masks mandate with their clientele. Ruggirello mentions that their coverage, past private security, stems from their efforts to make sure different immunocompromised of us really feel secure coming by means of.

Together with their masking coverage, additionally they provide some sliding scale haircuts and gender impartial pricing, which suggests when reserving a web based appointment, of us will discover choices on the location akin to: 120 minute haircut; 60 minutes; form ups; hair coloration; and a request for a bit of private data like pronouns, any allergy symptoms one may need, and many others. “I’ve heard that it’s a quite common expertise for lots of our company,” Ruggirello shares. “They are saying ‘I desire a extra gender affirming haircut and I went to a salon they usually gave me a haircut that appears like XYZ’ or the identification that they’re not making an attempt to mission into the world and it’s unlucky that that is nonetheless a factor.”

Kokoszka, as talked about on the salon’s website, is pushed by the queer and the unusual. She stretches her creativeness to include avant-garde methods and inventive chopping in her craft like that of Sassoon, whose work is geometrically oriented. Ruggirello additionally believes within the significance of doing work that honors subversive styling and expression. Each stylists prioritize the purchasers’ visions and desires, particularly in relation to their identities. Along with being very open-minded and explorative with the styling they supply, they preserve their dedication to inclusivity by providing ideas and merchandise, that are hand-selected and personally beneficial by the stylists. Symbolica makes use of an array of specialty, cruelty-free, and sustainable merchandise. You will discover this stuff immediately on their cabinets and buy them earlier than you head out the door, feeling all kinds of excellent.

When selecting the place to begin up Symbolica, Kokoszka explains that the pair drew inspiration from Ruggirello’s prior expertise in Michigan the place they labored for the same impartial salon mannequin. Ruggirello says it was rather more attainable to share a constructing with different stylists (inside My Salon Suite, which neighbors Straightforward Tiger on the Linc and Austin Movie Society) moderately than making an attempt to open up a storefront. The environment grants them alternatives to attach with fellow stylists in addition to work out of a smaller, managed house the place every part is precisely as they need it to be.

“I discover that this house is a little bit bit extra snug for somebody who may really feel overstimulated in an even bigger salon setting,” Ruggirello provides. “Generally it is simpler to speak concerning the expertise you’re hoping to have with out feeling like you have got an viewers.”

Visiting Symbolica is a solace, evoking essential calm amidst the nervousness produced by the present state of the world. “Our enterprise is exclusive as a result of we do provide a kind of therapeutic contact service in relation to self-care and hygiene,” Kokoszka gushes. “It feels particular to supply a relaxing contact, and I really feel honored to have folks feeling tremendous f*cking cute once they depart.” Go to this heat and alluring Scorpio/Most cancers owned institution and also you’ll discover the cool, the eclectic, and the occult, like in Kokoszka’s nods to Sassoon and Rosemary’s Child or Ruggirello’s loving seek for the deeper meanings behind the indicators supplied by day by day life. A buyer may even e book a tarot studying at Symbolica. Past getting the identity-affirming coiffure you’ve solely ever dreamt of, you’ll discover a wall show of bi-monthly rotating native artwork to take a look at, serene power, and pleasant faces that care to know you.


To be taught extra concerning the Gina, Jasmine, and Symbolica Salon, try their Instagram and web site.

Symbolica Salon
6406 N. I-35 #105
512/537-2046

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