Understanding how vulnerable getting a haircut can be, Lydia Catherine and Kayla Turnage, said they wanted to bring an inclusive and customer-focused hair salon to Five Points.
Catherine, the owner of Vivid: Color Cut Style, and Turnage, her business partner, opened their salon ten years ago under the Cornell Arms apartments on Pendleton Street. They said they understood the need to have a free-spirited environment for workers and clients, which led them to where they are now in their business journey.
Catherine and Turnage graduated in the same cosmetology class about a decade ago, but the two said they did not know each other well and went their separate ways afterwards. Catherine went to work at a salon that was "disintegrating" while Turnage worked local runway shows, including helping with Charleston Fashion Week.
“My salon was falling apart that I was working at," Catherine said. "So then, I was like, 'I think I’m going to open a place' because I couldn’t really find a place that I wanted to work."
The pair said they first discussed going into business together while working a wedding, and Turnage's boss suggested that they buy out that business. Catherine said she wanted to create a business that she enjoyed working at, so the two decided to open Vivid.
“It was really funny," Catherine said. "I would never do that now. Somebody randomly calling me like, ‘Do you want to go into business with me?’ Like, no."
Catherine and Turnage said they found it important to create a work environment that values the needs of their clients and employees, which became the core of their brand.
“We just wanted a place to work. Really, we were like, 'We just want a comfortable place for people to come and get what they want,'” Catherine said.
Vivid: Color Cut Style also offers bridal hair and makeup services called Pretty & Pinned, which Turnage started in 2017. Its bridal service boomed as soon as it began, which Catherine said was due to Turnage's experience and efficiency.
"My second year starting Pretty & Pinned, I had 53 weddings," Turnage said.
Catherine said that several past clients of Vivid: Color Cut Style had been turned away from other salons for requesting certain hairstyles or bright-colored dye. In one case, they said, a client requested purple hair from another stylist and was turned away when they did not have the right dye.
“We made a point to keep (certain dyes) in the place. And no matter who walked in the door, we could service whatever hair they wanted, and that was so revolutionary,” Catherine said.
Vivid: Color Cut Style advertises on its website that it is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ individuals, which the owners said helps to assure clients that their hairstylist will not judge them when they come in.
“We do a lot of gender-affirming hair, and it just goes back to me just wanting to give people what they want. When you stop asking if someone wants a boy haircut or a girl haircut, ... then they start to affirm themselves,” Catherine said.
Vivid: Color Cut Style is not only a safe space for clients, but for employees as well. Catherine said she values her employee's mental and physical health and encourages them to take care of themselves first.
Kristen Greene, a stylist at Vivid: Color Cut Style, has worked for Catherine and Turnage since the salon was at Cornell Arms and said she enjoys working in a place that allows her to explore her own style, such as experimenting with color theory.
“It’s really nice to be able to work somewhere where it feels like I’m cared about. It feels like I can have fun," Greene said. "It’s a very safe space in here. Honestly, I couldn’t say enough good things about working here."
The location in Five Points is about a year old and is decorated with bright yellow furniture, with each stylist showing off a part of themselves on their station. Some have a Pride flag, while others have their supplies decked out in stickers.
Vivid: Color Cut Style gears more toward clients that are interested in colorful hairstyles and imaginative cuts. Catherine said that rather than trying to get the most clients in the day, their staff cares about understanding the clients' wants and needs.
“My hair is ridiculous. I literally shaved my bangs off. I love bad hair, but the definition of bad hair is different for everyone,” Catherine said.
You can find Vivid: Color Cut Style in Five Points at 910 Harden St.