Bishops Bellevue: Creating an Inclusive Community With Every Cut (and Color)
From balayage to buzz cuts, Bishops Bellevue has been serving up expertly-crafted haircuts and color since opening their doors Downtown. The tastefully-appointed space is home to a handful of talented barbers and stylists, who together have built a loyal group of clients. While their expertise speaks for itself (trust us, you’ll walk out with an amazing new ‘do), they’ve also managed to build something more: a community that stems beyond hair.
When you first step foot in Bishops, you’ll notice a subtle simplicity. There aren’t gobs of posters or kitschy decorations. Just a clean, modern space – stylish and organized. That’s all intentional, because the focus is on the people who make the place: the stylists and the clients.
We stopped by to get a haircut of our own (spoiler: we loved the results), and also chat with two of Bishops’ talented staffers, Ashlye Wasnock and Sierra Sharp, on how they’ve built a culture of great hair for all people. Here’s what we learned:
BDA: Bishops is known as more than a barbershop or salon… it’s a community. We’ve heard that from regulars, your neighbors – how did this come to be?
AW: Well, we love genuine people! I think that’s what attracts people to the shop. Bellevue has a lot of awesome folks and when they walk through our doors they give us a piece of their story. And we thrive from that.
SS: Agreed! We built our community based on our culture. We pride ourselves on our uniqueness and inclusive nature - we are people first. And hey, we spend a majority of our lives at work… making it a place to be comfortable and have fun is a key factor to success. If our teams are happy, so are our clients.
BDA: Tell us about that culture… your regulars seem to know all of you and say it’s like a family?
AW: Building a team has so many complexities, but you’re right when they say we’re like a family. This goes back to our love for being genuine, because we try to build each other up, not tear each other down. It helps us grow together and as the staff grows, so does the shop.
SS: Absolutely, this dynamic is something that can be felt in our conversations with each other, clients, and in the atmosphere alike. Staff can just be themselves, without diluting their character, and clients see and feel that.
BDA: Speaking of which, we’ve heard you talk about Bishops’ ethos of being “Different Together.” How has that influenced the shop and the community you’ve created?
SS: Oh, in a big way. Bishops is a safe place to be human. We don't care what your gender is, what color your skin is, who or what you pray to, what turns you on or why; hell, some of us may even be curious and want to learn more! In our chairs, in our shops, everyone is safe to be who they are, without regret or apology.
AW: I think people are looking for more places like this too, to feel like they “fit” in somewhere, and we appreciate all people! It’s been that way since the beginning as some of our core values and I think it really shows today. I’m glad we’re able to show that in and out of our shop and for Bellevue.
BDA: And that diversity is seen in your services too… you offer a lot of different options and a more “inclusive” pricing structure. Tell us about that…
SS: Our services are based on length of hair and time. We don't care about your age or gender… you have hair, so, how long is it? Cool. That’s how we price, regardless of gender identity. We also build clients a package; because we are also a la carte - so things can be as affordable or extravagant as you want!
AW: We work with so many different hairstyles and needs. From extensive color correction to tight fades, our team really prides ourselves on our diversity of expertise. And we really get to know our clients. When people come back, it’s because we were able to create an experience unlike any other they had seen before and that takes time, right?
BDA: Totally. And the shop is a pretty cool place to be!
AW: We like to think so! The shop is a mash of hair/art/music and bringing those all together in one place is really fun.
SS: One example; we like to feature local artists in our shops, because, well, we are local artists too. We have exhibits hanging on our walls - we are going to start rotating out artists, so if you have any suggestions, shoot them our way!
AW: Exactly. And with all the uncertainty in the world right now, we’ve always been a welcoming place for people to be able to just BE. It builds a stronger community inside the shop and when the whole shop is having the same conversation it’s the best vibe. I also want to mention that we've implemented major steps to keep people healthy during the pandemic, like requiring masks, extra sanitizing and social distancing within the shop.
SS: And before COVID, we had people that would just stop by. We love “hellos,” especially because we can catch up with what’s happening in the community and surrounding businesses, but also because it builds more than just a hair relationship, it builds a rapport. We don't want you to come see us just to get a haircut, we want you to come see us so you can share a great conversation too. Bishops is an experience, not a service.
Whether you’re looking for a new style or planning to go bold with color – or just want to say hi to some cool folks in our community – stop by Bishops Bellevue.
PS: mention “BDA10” for 10% off all services! Plus, follow us on Instagram and Facebook this week – we’re giving away two free haircuts courtesy of Ashlye and Sierra!
This blog is part of the Heart of Bellevue: our campaign to showcase local businesses while connecting you with stories of activity, creativity and recovery. Find out about our campaign and explore more of what’s happening around Downtown.