Barret Lizza bootstrapped the start up of his hair salon in Bellingham, alone, on an extremely small budget, in less than a month. He signed the lease for “9 Blue Salon” around Christmas of 2011 and spent a crazy month on non-stop remodeling madness, by himself, hauling all of the materials on top of his 1996 Ford Escort. With his limited funds, he had to build the space almost entirely with salvaged materials.
Barret described why, “I wanted to have a salon that was affordable, because I was tired of everyone charging so much. And I wanted something different from the look of all those salons that look like a fashion runway. Being creative is a lot better than buying a bunch of new stuff anyways.”
Style didn’t come without peril, though. Barrett explains, “One of the chandeliers has these great mermaids on it. It was from an old mansion in Seattle. I was up on the ladder, all alone, using a pulley system I rigged up like an Egyptian or something and I shocked myself on the bronze fixture, trying to keep it suspended while attaching it.”
Reclaimed materials were used throughout the space. Old doors were hung with used mirrors for the stylist stations. Rollabouts for the stations were made from salvaged cabinets with drawers that he put wheels put on. Then a fire extinguisher was repurposed into a towel holder and old rusty car jacks were made into a shelf. He gave each station has its own mailbox for communications with the independently contracted stylists, made from old mailboxes from an apartment complex. Shelving, beams, paint, and lighting were all found at The RE Store or pulled out of his house or barn. Barrett picked up a used piano from Big Brothers Big Sisters, who didn’t want it anymore.
Barrett talked about his road blocks, “Money was the biggest challenge. I did the whole thing with $1500.00. Lifting and hanging stuff by myself was a bit tricky. I don’t think a lot of people could see what I was seeing so I had to do a lot of it by myself. I tore out the existing acoustic tile ceiling and the fluorescent lighting, getting some trade credit when I took those in to The RE Store. That helped me buy more materials like the big reclaimed beams. They (the beams) were affordable. It was little parts that were the most expensive. The screws and hangers cost a lot of money.”
Lizza continues to vision on other projects like 9 Blue Laboratories, a music recording studio and arts space for himself. If it proves to be anything like the salon, it will inspire any artist or creative type who enters.
Watch his rather epic commercial here to catch some more glimpses of 9 Blue Salon and its once more decor.