[elfsight_whatsapp_chat id="1"]

“Kindred Kuts is all about creating a safe, inclusive space where everyone feels like family.” – Gray, Founder of Kindred Kuts

Jul 8, 2024 | Salon Stories

Meet Gray, one of the first members of our Bilderdijkstraat community. As the visionary founder of Kindred Kuts, the first and only queer barbershop in the Netherlands, Gray has revolutionized the traditional barbershop experience. With a commitment to creating a safe, inclusive space where everyone feels like family, Gray’s innovative approach and dedication to community have made Kindred Kuts a sanctuary for all.

What motivated you to create a queer-friendly barbershop in Amsterdam? What’s the story behind the founding of your salon?

My inspiration behind Kindred Kuts came from my own need for a safe space in a barbershop. Before I cut my locks off, I had an undercut and would always go to barbershops. But I always felt uncomfortable there due to the toxic conversations. After moving here, I was looking for something that truly excited me. I found a barbershop owned by a Black woman from Curacao whose haircuts were amazing. She encouraged me to learn, and I fell in love with it immediately. Kindred Kuts was always at the back of my mind, and it was a development process of five years.

That’s very inspiring. What’s the story behind the name “Kindred Kuts”?

“The word “kindred” means people you’re related to, like family. I wanted to center queer people in my space, creating a community where everyone feels like family. It’s a double meaning—both community and comfort.”

What’s the philosophy or vision that drives your work?

Creating a safe space is my main philosophy. Barbershops traditionally aren’t for women or queer people. My space is about reclaiming that space, making everyone feel safe and comfortable. We have a lot of straight clients who prefer deeper conversations over toxic masculinity. It’s about a community where everyone feels welcome.

How did you overcome challenges as a Black queer individual in the barbershop industry?

There’s always an underlying theme of race and gender. People often make assumptions based on how I look. I’ve had to deal with people questioning my skills because I’m a woman or because of my race. But I keep it moving and focus on my business, which draws the right people. Clients respect and appreciate what we offer.

 

How did you end up at Gallery?

“During the pandemic, I was cutting clients’ hair at their homes. A client told me about a beauty co-working space, and I reached out to Camiel. It was a critical decision because I needed to determine if I had enough clients to start my own business. It was nerve-wracking, but it worked out well. Gallery has been instrumental in growing my business. It would have been difficult to create my business without it.

 

Now, how do you stay connected with and support the queer community?

We host queer pampering events, offering massages, nails, and other services by queer entrepreneurs. We also participate in events where we cut hair for less fortunate people. It’s all about supporting the community in meaningful ways. These events are crucial for maintaining a sense of community and providing support.

 

 

What are your goals for the future of Kindred Kuts?

“Finding a bigger space is the immediate goal. I want to create a space for more community events. Long-term, I aim to franchise Kindred Kuts. I’d like to step into an overseer role and establish Kindred Kuts in other locations. This way, I can ensure that more people have access to a safe and welcoming space.”

That sounds like an exciting plan. How has your team contributed to your success?

My team has been fantastic. Sjaq, who joined about two years ago, has been instrumental in helping me create more space in the business. She’s fully booked now and doing great. Lauren, who joined more recently, has also been amazing. Having a strong team allows me to step back a bit and focus on growing the business. I couldn’t have done it without them.

 

It sounds like you have a wonderful support system. Do you have any advice for other salon owners or those looking to start their own business?

My advice would be to stay true to your vision and be prepared for challenges. It’s important to create a space that reflects your values and supports your community. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make changes when necessary. And most importantly, take care of yourself so that you can continue to give your best to your clients.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Gray. Your journey and vision are truly inspiring.

“Thank you for having me. It was great to share my story.

Do you also want to become a salon owner? Download the step-by-step plan here.

View the latest articles from the same category!