This Japanese hair salon is like a WeWork for stylists

The Go Today Shaire Salon in Tokyo was inspired by coworking and designed for freelance beauticians.

[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]
[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]
[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]
[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]
[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]
[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]
[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]

With the rise of the sharing economy and freelance workforce, coworking has become an ubiquitous feature of urban life. WeWork locations and its competitors dot the landscapes of big cities, where real estate is expensive and having a private office is often out of the question for freelance workers. As the idea of using shared space at a lower cost has made its way into other industries–there’s co-living and co-retailing–it’s also creating a new one: co-hair styling.

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[Photo: Tomooki Kengaku/courtesy Canoma]

The latest incarnation of the coworking trend has popped up at a beauty salon in Tokyo called Go Today Shaire Salon, where stylists who are just starting their careers can rent booths and shampoo stations. Otherwise, newbies to the industry who want to work independently typically rent a chair in someone else’s salon, often working on the salon owner’s schedule and paying them a hefty chunk of their earnings. But the Shaire Salon gives them the freedom to book clients on their own time and is reportedly less expensive than renting from another salon. And for people looking to get their hair done, it’s easy to book appointments online. So far, there are 30 different stylists to choose from.

Designed by the Japanese design firm Canoma, the Shaire Salon’s space consists of 12 semi-private stations, each of which have names like “Empowerment” and “Freedom”–ostensibly to remind the stylists working there of what the coworking salon is providing them.”Through repeatedly examining the texture of our materials and the shape, color, and size of the elements we used, and by providing the space with these aspects, we have consciously designed this salon as a place that complements the advantageous characteristics of being a freelancer,” writes architect Shinsuke Yokoyama, who led the design. 

Each booth’s walls are partially composed of wood, clear glass, and opaque glass, giving clients privacy while making the entire space feel more open. Their dimensions are based on Canoma’s observations of several male and female stylists working with their equipment. Beyond the styling booths, there are also six shampoo stations, several makeup stations, and a lounge for the stylists.

The Shaire Salon opened in Tokyo earlier this summer, and according to Frame magazine, sales are exceeding expectations. The salon plans to open more locations in Japan.

About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture. Email her at kschwab@fastcompany.com and sign up for her newsletter here: https://tinyletter.com/schwabability

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