Co-Owners Kimi Strain a Niki Myers (Coral not pictured), Oddities Hair Parlour, 1520 North Central, Knoxville, March 2020
Again, as we weather the current pandemic, there are plans being made for new businesses that will help us recover as we move forward. I’ll spotlight those as we wait for this season to pass.
Oddities Hair Parlour is one such business. Planning to open soon at 1520 North Central, Oddities is a cooperative co-owned by Kimi Strain, Niki Myers, and their friend Coral, each of whom previously worked at Geo Hair Lab before a stop-off at Lox. The three each have a chair in the new space and will work exclusively some days and jointly others.
Coral, who is from Virginia Beach, has lived in Knoxville for six years and worked for five years at Geo Hair Lab. Kimi moved to Knoxville in August of 2018 wanting a change of scenery and better weather after living in Inverness, Florida and owning her own shop there. She had a job at Geo Hair Lab before arriving in Knoxville.
Niki has lived in Maryville for over thirty years. She settled there after moving around with her family and graduated from Maryville High School. She worked as a buyer for Knox County before taking the plunge seven years ago to do what she really loved. She got her certification through Aveda and went to Geo Hair Lab two years ago.
The three say the transition from and aftermath of Geo Hair Lab was difficult and they were grateful to have a spot at Lox, but they began talking about having their own place. Kimi said, “We wanted full control of the vision and to welcome people in the manner we wanted to welcome them.”
In the new space, which is next door to French Fried Vintage, the three will split the rent evenly. They each have a chair, but you may well find yourself getting personal attention as the only customer. It’s designed to be a more intimate, personal experience, particularly for those who aren’t comfortable in a larger salon. Kimi noted that “big salons aren’t for everyone. We want it to be a safe, inclusive, community space.” And so, the dreams and conversations about how they would operate their own space has become a reality.
The three say that the experience will be “intentional.” For example, some people want to talk and others don’t. You’ll be able to make that clear as you make an appointment. They consider the experience to be more “holistic care” or “soul care.” They say some people who are changing styles want to talk about what they are leaving behind or moving toward, that the change in style often accompanies life changes.
They are a low-tox salon, using only environmentally and personally safe products. They will use no single-use plastics and intend to operate a “green circle salon,” with 97 percent of their waste recycled. Pricing is gender-neutral and is priced for long, medium and short hair.