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|Sweetgrass Salon & Spa reflects relaxed vibe of Little 5|
|by Sage Nenyue|
|July 22, 2011 00:00|
Serving its community in Little 5 Points for 11 years, Sweetgrass Salon & Spa started out as simply a hair salon. Described by manager Brian Baj as having been a “come-in/clipper cut kind of thing,” Sweetgrass took cues from the bohemian environment of its Little 5 Points neighborhood to transform into the salon and spa it is today. “Massage therapists started coming in and, lo and behold, before you know it, it’s now a full-functioning spa,” Baj says.
A quick look around the salon shows the full glory of that statement.
Sweetgrass is not your typical fountain-and-zen whitewashed spa. Like the community around it, it is as vibrant and colorful as a rainbow, with enough swirls and shades to make even peacocks think twice about challenging it.
Children-created art lines the walls, and the music can be anything from blues to indie rock — it all depends on who is at the helm of the iPod dock.
“It’s immediately different,” Baj explains with a chuckle. “You instantly know that you’ve come into something different.”
Going on to describe the community-focused feel that Little 5 Points inspires, Baj says that Sweetgrass is accepting of everything but hatred.
“The only thing that can get you thrown out of here is by saying something hateful. It’s a hate-free zone policy,” he says sternly. “If a client says something homophobic, transphobic, racist or sexist, we have the right to tell them to get out.”
“Our goal here is to make you walk out feeling better about your life and yourself, whether through a haircut or a body polish,” Baj says.
The relaxing environment at Sweetgrass allows you to be yourself without the air of pretention that sometimes comes with other spas. Mixed fragrances and hanging colored beads in the space that could pass for a New York City apartment building are a testament to the carefree style that Sweetgrass brings to Atlanta.
Speaking about the city and being a business manager, Baj says that Atlanta is the only place where you can have a working person’s budget and still buy a home, run a business, and go out and enjoy life. Diversity is everywhere and it all flows together.
“Especially the gay community. No matter where you go, there are gay people. And here in Little 5, there is nothing here that is labeled gay, but yet there are a lot of gay business owners,” says Baj, who is gay.
“Atlanta is always on the brink of amazing. The only thing that’s missing is more people believing that. Once Atlanta has that support system, it will turn into something really awesome,” Baj predicts.
Top photo: Brian Baj (courtesy photo)
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