Chris Crowley, the owner of Babylon the Salon — the University of Cincinnati students pick for Best Hair Salon — has a 25-year history in hair.
For a long time, Crowley owned two salons side by side in downtown Cincinnati — Hype Salon came first, and then Soap Box. After selling these two salons, he decided to come back to Clifton and open Babylon, as he enjoyed the area’s client base and the opportunities they presented to work with young, fun and trendy styles.
Crowley spoke to The News Record about his passion for hair, the atmosphere that sets his salon apart from the competition and the death of the stigma that hair salons are just for women.
The News Record: What is the atmosphere like inside of Babylon?
Chris Crowley: I would say our atmosphere is very laid back, fun, casual. I don't know how to say it, but we have a lot of people come in and are shocked that our prices match our competitors, because it is so nice in our store.
My philosophy is that just because you live on campus doesn’t mean you have to get your hair cut in a hole in the wall or a closet, you know? We can still look nice and compete with everybody else.
Our look is very modern — crystal chandeliers and everything. But, our atmosphere is very laid back.
TNR: You have been in the hair business for 25 years. What spurred your passion for hair?
CC: I went to cosmetology school right out of high school. The only thing I can go back to is growing up — I remember going every Saturday morning with an elderly lady that lived next door who I got extremely close with — we went every Saturday morning to a beauty salon and I’d watch her get her hair done. I don’t know if psychologically, it goes back to that. But, it is definitely something.
TNR: Are there any specific trends over the past year or so that have been coming in more than in the past?
CC: We’ve done a ton of men’s undercuts — the hipster kind of look. There’s always something fun. The hot trend right now is all the pastel colors and grays and all that stuff.
TNR: As winter dies down, what kinds of styles do you expect to be doing for next season?
CC: That’s actually one of things I like about Clifton — I haven’t noticed really any changes seasonally. Definitely, at my salon downtown, I had an older client base and you could predict what would come in a lot easier. Here, it is just all about what is trending and popular.
TNR: Are most of your clients male or female?
CC: I’d say we are about 50-50. It has definitely lost the stigma that girls go to salons and guys go to barber shops. It is all about going where you know you will get what you want.