Plaiting for love
Do good—and look good—with Mint Salon’s pop-up braid bars
Rachel Robach and Jordan Betts
When hair stylist and salon owner Jordan Betts opened the doors to Mint Salon in 2013, she knew that she wanted to give back to the Rochester community in some way. “We didn’t have the money to be philanthropists but realized we could do it by using our hands,” she says. After brainstorming ideas with her friend and costylist Rachel Robach, they came up with the idea of hosting pop-up braid bars throughout the Rochester area. About once a month, the two set up shop at different local businesses and offer braids and up-dos to walk-in patrons, with all proceeds going to local charities.
Betts opened Mint Salon in Brighton after working in the industry for four years and feeling the pull to start her own business. Although the stylists at Mint service women of all hair types, Mint Salon specializes in cutting, coloring, and styling curly hair. As certified DevaCurl brand specialists, Betts and her staff are trained to cut all types of curly hair and strive to teach their clients how to best care for and style their hair, so that they can recreate their looks after leaving the salon.
Pop-up braid bars are hosted by a variety of local Rochester businesses. Locations have included M/Body, Record Archive, Spot Coffee, StacyK Floral, JBRD Greece Ridge, and Lives Styled Studio. “We wanted to choose locally owned businesses to create awareness of them—not only are they involved in the pop-up braid bars, but they’re also getting awareness for their stores or restaurants,” Betts states. “It’s all about community involvement for all aspects.”
Each event lasts about two hours, and no appointments are necessary. Betts and Robach offer everything from basic to advanced braids, with the average braid taking about ten to fifteen minutes. “A lot of people come to get their hair done before date nights or other events,” says Betts. “People can come in with their own ideas of what they want to have done, or Rachel can provide her own creativity.”
Since all the proceeds go to local charities, Betts and Robach spend time choosing charities that are important to them. To date they’ve donated to Girls Rock! Rochester, a nonprofit dedicated to using music creation and performance as tools for cultivating self-confidence in girls and trans youth; the Willow Domestic Violence Center; and Hillside Family of Agencies.
Another group that the braid bars benefit is the Al Sigl Community of Agencies, an organization that is of significance to Robach, who is hearing impaired. The Al Sigl Center worked with Robach to help improve her speech when she was five years old, and Robach is now using her talents to give back to them.
Betts says her favorite part of hosting the braid bars is working with all the different businesses and nonprofits to help bring awareness to what they do. “There’s a lack of understanding from the community of what exactly these organizations do,” she says. “Showing the community what they do, and watching connections being made between the organizations and the community, and watching everyone feel proud with their involvement…that’s my favorite part.”
For more information about Mint Salon and upcoming pop-up braid bars, visit facebook.com/getminty or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A low-maintenance gal with high-maintenance hair, Laura DiCaprio is a writer, media director, and amateur clarinetist living in Fairport.