Top News

New beauty salon offers fresh start for women at Iris Kirby House

The first woman at Iris Kirby House to get her hair cut at the salon’s grand opening Sunday opted for a trim and layers from volunteer stylist Darcelle Newman.

Volunteers are 'rock stars, in my books'

Sunday afternoon the Iris Kirby House women’s shelter was abuzz with excited residents and staff, as generous donors came together over the past few months to open a beauty salon on the premises. At the grand opening Sunday, four women were the first to get their hair cut by two volunteer stylists.

“It’s been a hard few years,” said one resident, whose name is withheld for privacy.

 

Royal LePage Marketing Director Karen Newman cuts the ribbon at The Beauty Room’s grand opening Sunday with sponsor and Edge Beauty Salon owner Katie Power to her immediate left, and Ashley Verge, a beauty consultant from another sponsor salon, Chatters in Mount Pearl, to the far left. — Juanita Mercer/The Telegram
Royal LePage Marketing Director Karen Newman cuts the ribbon at The Beauty Room’s grand opening Sunday with sponsor and Edge Beauty Salon owner Katie Power to her immediate left, and Ashley Verge, a beauty consultant from another sponsor salon, Chatters in Mount Pearl, to the far left. — Juanita Mercer/The Telegram

She is the first woman to get her hair cut, and she speaks quietly about how this new cut is symbolic for a fresh start in her life. She’s been staying at Iris Kirby House — a shelter for women and children who are experiencing domestic violence — for two months, but she will soon be moving out into a place of her own.

“New life, new hair,” she smiles, as volunteer stylist Darcelle Newman begins to section her hair for the cut. The woman asks for a trim and some layers, “to freshen it up.”

“It’s been eight years since I’ve had my hair cut,” she said. “I usually cut it myself.”

 

“We were talking about how women often come (to the shelter) feeling quite down. And how wonderful it is when you get your hair cut, and how you feel better – you walk out feeling great. Karen had the idea that we could do that for the women on a very small scale.”

Executive director Michelle Greene

Executive director Michelle Greene says the women she sees at the shelter generally do not have money to spend on themselves.

“You know when you get your hair cut, you leave the salon, and you go, ‘Oh my God, I feel like a million bucks’? They don’t get that,” she said. “Oftentimes, the income doesn’t get to go for things for themselves — it’s either for their children, or for survival.”

 

The new beauty salon at Iris Kirby House was started up by Karen Newman, Marketing Director with Royal LePage Atlantic Homestead through their Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, with support from the following sponsors: EDGE Beauty Bar, Chatters, Sally Beauty, Chris Ryan, Professional Beauty Supplies. — Juanita Mercer/The Telegram
The new beauty salon at Iris Kirby House was started up by Karen Newman, Marketing Director with Royal LePage Atlantic Homestead through their Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, with support from the following sponsors: EDGE Beauty Bar, Chatters, Sally Beauty, Chris Ryan, Professional Beauty Supplies.
— Juanita Mercer/The Telegram

 

Greene said the salon is the result of a community effort made up of several generous donors and volunteers: Chatters, Chris Ryan, EDGE Beauty Bar, Professional Beauty Supplies, and Royal LePage Atlantic Homestead.

 

“They’re rock stars, in my books,” she said.

The salon will be open for residents every Sunday, with two volunteer stylists on site offering free services. So far, twelve hair stylists and make-up artists have volunteered.

The idea for the salon came about back in August. Royal LePage Atlantic Homestead hosts a golf tournament every year through the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, with proceeds going to Iris Kirby House. The foundation raises funds for women and children who are victims of violence.

Royal LePage Marketing Director Karen Newman was eating lunch at the tournament and chatting with Greene.

“We were talking about how women often come (to the shelter) feeling quite down,” said Greene. “And how wonderful it is when you get your hair cut, and how you feel better – you walk out feeling great. Karen had the idea that we could do that for the women on a very small scale.”

Newman says the whole conversation came up when she was talking about the fact that her daughter is a hairdresser.

“And it just sort of took off from there,” she said. “I was going to get some donations and put together a nice basket for the residents here – some beauty supplies – and it sort of snowballed into this salon room, which we call The Beauty Room.”

Greene passionately speaks about the goal that every woman deserves to feel beautiful.

“It’s a spot for them to feel good again,” she said. “One of the barriers to the residents here moving on is self-esteem, and what better for a woman’s self-esteem than to have her hair and make-up done?”

The first resident to get her hair done at the new salon agrees.

“It makes me feel really happy,” she said. “I’m really appreciative.”

Recent Stories