Red Bristle Salon Seeks to Educate and Empower Through Hair

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As a kid, Michael Farrell wanted to be a rockstar like the glam rockers of the early 1980s. He and a group of friends started a band and spent a considerable amount of time replicating the glam rock look, down to the dramatic makeup and big hair. It wasn’t until the band moved to Los Angeles, and Michael continued to do hair for the other musicians he would meet, that he would realize his true passion.

In California, Michael worked under famous hairstylist and businessman Vidal Sassoon and learned his craft approach to hairdressing, coloring, and cutting with architectural technique. From the beginning, this training has instilled in him a passion for craft hairstyling, and is what led to Michael’s eventual return to hairdressing with his newest salon, Red Bristle.

Red Bristle is just one of six social enterprises housed at The Madery located in COhatch’s Library location in Worthington at 752 High St. Salon Co-Owners Michael and Sara Farrell are seasoned veterans in the beauty industry, returning after work in salon ownership and event production, and the real estate business, respectively.

“The real driving factor that brought me back into the beauty business was, one, that we could make a difference in our communities and communities in need,” Michael says, “And to provide an opportunity that I was presented myself 30 years ago to an individual that can then maybe have a 30-year career as well.”

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Michael’s resume includes serving as art director for Carlton Hair International in California and owning Aveda lifestyle stores and concept salons, where he began to be more involved in education and training in his own stores.

His work experience, and the operational expertise of his wife, has culminated into a multi-layered social enterprise with three components: salon and spa services; educational outreach and development, which includes haircutting, styling and branding training for salons and salon brands; and transformational hair experiences, i.e. complimentary services for individuals working through human trafficking transitional programs and other women returning to the workforce.

“If we can empower someone to a transformational, emotional experience by feeling great on the outside [and] that propels them to pursue a career,” Michael says, “or to be able to go into a job with the confidence to be able to secure that opportunity, then we’ve succeeded as a company.”

Over the next year and a half, Red Bristle wants to form partnerships with national cosmetology schools to provide scholarship funds and create vocational development programming with salons and salon brands that can also be streamed online.

The beauty industry doesn’t just include hairdressers and stylists, Michael says. And there are many opportunities to succeed in the beauty industry without a bachelor’s degree. That is one message Red Bristle’s educational outreach will help foster.

“Many beauty industry professionals and organizations are willing to take the hard work and the commitment that it takes to succeed behind a chair, and allocate those experiences to give them opportunities in corporate fields as well,” he says.

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Michael credits COhatch owners Matt Davis and Ryan Fogelman for their involvement in securing the appropriate funding at the right time, and aligning Red Bristle’s social mission and cause with other members of The Madery.

“We all believe in the work that we’re doing,” Michael says. “We all understand our “Why” is that we want to empower change within our communities, and by doing that, and taking our passions with our purpose, the profit will come and we can take that profit and allocate it to make a difference.”

Michael says the opportunity to take his craft approach to hair and develop a concept to launch out of The Madery will help Red Bristle scale. And as they scale, more people will become aware of the work they’re doing.

“…As individuals and potential customers, and other hairdressers find out about what our social mission is, people are going to want to get behind it,” he says. “If we can let that drive our awareness, we’ll be okay.”

For more information, visit redbristle.com