Interview by Katie Kerl, Copyright 2021
Brittany Goldberg: Heavy Metal Hair Salon
Uncovering interesting women entrepreneurs that are down to earth, smart, witty, and pretty in Philadelphia is really a fun thing. It is hard enough to find decent women friends in general as we get older. Finding women who want more for themselves outside of their homes not confined to 9-5 is refreshing!
Women that know who they are, and have known for quite sometime seem to be the ones who make it. To me that is the key to success in anything you do. If you can not see your own vision, a set business plan, and a determination to win, it is just not going to work for you.
I came across Brittany from her now husband, Jason Goldberg. Jason has been tattooing me at Olde City Tattoo for about five years. This was before the shut down. I had just started a sleeve and was sitting in the chair telling my girlfriend who happened to come with me that I wanted pink hair. Jason let me know his soon to be wife was opening a salon that did bold color. Now, if you have seen my tattoos you would know If I can trust someone to permanently put bold color on my body; Jason just might have had a great suggestion.
Needless to say, I made an appointment with Brittany.
Upon arriving at the Heavy Metal Hair Salon, I knew I was in the right spot!
A bright pink and black colored interior, funky Heavy Metal art around, and the nicest girls working there. There is no elitist attitude like in some salons. My favorite piece of art happened to be the gold Kiss head. Brittany could not have been more informative. I thought it would take forever to get the color I wanted. She let me know it would be done that day.
Looking around everyone had perfect hair. There was nothing to be worried about. Not only was Brittany informative, she was personable. Talking to her I felt like I knew her for a while. You always end up talking to your hairstylist. Oftentimes I find myself feeling awkward in really high end salons unless it is for a wedding, or a glam event. I also do not live a normal lifestyle that does not leave me with much to say to a lot of people in general. When I feel comfortable in my surroundings; I am sure there are plenty of people who wished my gift of gab was not so great haha!
When I feel someone’s zest for life and a different vibe; that is what leaves me wanting to know more about the person behind the business. I watched as Brittany took my drab COVID hair to a vibrant dark to light pink. I was so happy to feel Alive again. It’s amazing what a little hair color can do for your soul.
It felt like COVID continued forever…
When restrictions were lifted I went back to have my tattoo worked on. I asked how Brittany was doing opening the salon in the pandemic. Jason said she is doing amazing!
I knew then I should interview her.
Anyone that opened a new business in COVID, a female entrepreneur, and living an alternative lifestyle that she loves should be on Tony Ward’s platform.
Tony also agreed, and used Brittany as this month’s cover photo.
The photo shoot was a fun day. I always love seeing Tony in his element, and getting to take my own behind the scenes shots as my piece comes together.
Brittany did an amazing job! There is no wonder why Heavy Metal Hair is doing so well.
She is a pleasure to work with!
Interview as follows:
Full name: Brittany Goldberg
Hometown: Abington PA
Present Residence: Philadelphia
KK– As a child what activities were you involved with?
BG– I played a lot of sports growing up (basketball, track, cheerleading, volleyball) and did attend acting and modeling school as well!
KK– What was your family dynamic like?
BG– I’m the second youngest of 5 kids, so things were chaotic at times. We’re all close in age though so it was fun having people to hang out with all the time.
KK– At what point in your life did you realize normalcy was not for you ?
BG– I don’t know that I’ve ever been normal haha!
KK– What was the first bold color you dyed your hair, and how old were you?
BG– The first color I ever had put in my hair was by my sister while she was coloring her hair fuchsia. It was just a little streak in the underneath of my hair. I was probably 12ish.
KK– If it was much younger was your family pleased?
BG– I think my mom was pretty pissed when she saw but was always supportive of me coloring my hair at a young age after that. As long as it was done by a professional.
KK– When you started being more true to who you are now; were you met with any opposition from your parents, friends, previous employers, or in relationships ?
BG– I’ve pretty much been this way as long as I can remember, and I definitely struggled finding a solid group of friends until I was a teen, but my family was always accepting of who I was. I have been turned down jobs though for looking “too extreme” in the past.
KK– Were all of your tattoos and piercings accepted as well ?
BG– Tattoos yes! My parents took me to my cousin’s shop (Kadillac Tattoo in Manayunk ) for my first tattoo and my mom got one with me. Piercings were sometimes an issue though but to be honest I did go a little overboard with those.
KK– At what age did you start doing those ?
BG– Other than my ears, my belly button was my first piercing at I think 15?
My first tattoo was 17
KK– What is your favorite piece on your body?
BG– The next one 😉
KK– At what point did you realize bold alternative cosmetology was for you?
BG– I always loved doing hair, so when my counselor in high school mentioned tech school as an option, I was sold immediately. When I was a teen, bold hair wasn’t that common especially where I grew up. I wanted to be able to color my hair how I wanted. Beauty school was where I was going to learn the basics. I started tech school at the age of 16 and went every morning for two years straight. I was basically ready to graduate the same time I was graduating high school
KK– Were your career choices accepted as you got older having an alternative to a 9-5?
BG-Yes! My parents were always super supportive of me doing hair.
KK– What other career paths were you on before you found what truly made you happy?
BG– None! Although, when I moved to the Bay Area I thought maybe I didn’t want to do hair forever, so I tried a few different jobs out there. After moving home it was right back to hair.
KK– Being married to a tattoo artist makes you both quite the creative duo. I noticed on your Heavy Metal Mom IG page you were married at the Bates Motel?
How did that concept come about? The photo of you in the dress and the frayed leather jacket was amazing! The spiked crown just made it perfect.
BG– Yes! We originally had our wedding planned for August 2020 in Vegas. Unfortunately, due to COVID we had to cancel. We were pretty upset about that and hoped to keep it in Vegas, but weren’t sure what the future would hold for travel. We made a decision to just get married here on Halloween (our favorite holiday).
While looking for the right venue, I got an ad for Bates Motel haunted house and thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask if we could have our wedding there. They got back to us right away and we’re willing to let us use the space! It actually worked out pretty perfectly!
I ended up buying the first dress I found which was just a simple hi-low black dress. I saw a dress posted in an Instagram post a month or so later and debated it but it seemed too over the top for our outdoor DIY wedding. A week before the wedding I caved and emailed the designer of the dress and asked if she could have it shipped from Germany by the wedding. She sent it out that night and it showed up 2 days before the wedding. I didn’t even open the box until I was at my friend’s house getting ready the morning of our wedding. I brought both dresses, but once we opened the box we knew I had to wear that one, so that whole look came together in about an hour before the wedding!
KK– Did you have someone help plan the wedding, or did you come up with all the little details on your own?
BG– We DIY’d the whole thing! We couldn’t have done any of it without the help of our friends and family though.
KK– Being a mother, were you ever judged for your lifestyle and working a lot ? If so, was the judgment more from other mothers, or men? Were you able to overcome it?
BG– Yes, I know people judge me (other moms for sure) but I really don’t care haha. As long as my son is happy, and taken care of that is all that matters.
KK– what are your hobbies outside of your job?
BG– I love going on adventures with my family. Going to see live music and wrestling, and playing slots.
KK– How old is your son? Does he think he has a pretty cool mom?
BG– He’s about to turn 7. I like to think he thinks I’m cool!
KK– What kind of personality is he growing into? One of a more normal standard, or taking after his edgy mother ?
BG– He’s so funny and incredibly smart! I don’t know if he’ll follow the edgy lifestyle, but who knows.
KK– Do you have any other certifications, or academic achievements that helped you along the way?
BG– I did go back to school a few years back to become an educator, but my son got sick, and being a single parent working, schooling, and caring for a sick child proved to be too much of a challenge so I took a temporary drop. Not sure I’ll go back and finish the hours though now that the salon is up and running.
KK– How old were you when you discovered your talent for bold color hair?
BG– It took a while for me to really take hair seriously. I think before I had my son, it was more just a job. It wasn’t until I got a little older, and more mature that I really stepped up my game and furthered my education. I left my job at Supercuts and went to a more high end salon. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, but really allowed me to find my place in the beauty industry.
KK– What are your favorite products for keeping bold colored hair vibrant?
BG– Definitely the Brazilian bond builder line (especially the color lock) R+CO gemstone shampoo & conditioner. And if you’re feeling confident, the Celeb Luxury Viral Colorwash & Bondfix Conditioner
KK– What are some common misconceptions clients have when they come in wanting bold colors ?
BG– Thinking I’m a magician haha! No, a lot of the time I think they’ve either had a bad lightening experience, or no experience with lightener. They’re convinced their hair will be “fried” if we need to lighten it. Products have come a long way though, and I think it’s important to educate our clients before we start any services so they know what to expect.
KK– What kind of training do you send your employees to as far as continuing education on color ?
BG-Classes have been sparse since COVID. We all keep up on new trends and show each other new tricks. We take advantage of online classes as well.
KK– When did you decide you wanted to be an entrepreneur, and open your own salon?
BG– I wasn’t happy where I was, and Jason and I had kicked the idea around for a while. I saw a commercial property pop up on Passyunk Avenue. We figured we would at least check it out. Unfortunately, it needed too much work so we passed. The property manager let us know about a salon who’s lease was up in a few weeks though. We signed the lease on that one just a few days later. It all happened really fast! Two weeks after the lease was signed the city shut down, so we had plenty of time to get everything together.
KK– What were some of the obstacles you had to overcome opening being we live in Philadelphia?
BG– Luckily it was already a salon so we really only had to do cosmetic work. During COVID it was really hard getting the equipment and color I needed. I was hesitating even buying the bigger equipment considering there was no end in sight with COVID, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to open. State board still came out to inspect which I was really grateful for, and that gave me the motivation to actually furnish the area. Then get it ready to open once they gave us the green light.
KK– Was the city accepting of your eighties themed alternative salon?
BG– Yes! The other businesses on The Ave were super welcoming!
KK– How did you come up with the theme?
BG– I really just had a vision for what I always wanted my salon to look like, so it was really awesome seeing it come to life! Some things I had how I wanted but then decided I didn’t love it so it’s still evolving each day.
KK– Do you find respect is an easy thing to achieve in your area(s) of work?
BG– Sometimes. I think a lot of people think hairstylists just, “play with hair” all day. That’s not the case at all, and I think stylists deserve so much more! We truly do it all.
KK– Recently you had the first post COVID event at the shop. How did the Sick66 Jewelry pop up go?
BG– The pop up was a pretty big success! We had a really nice turnout and everyone had an awesome time! I’d like to start doing pop ups every couple months or so.
KK– What do you do to overcome stress?
BG– I’m a huge advocate for self care. I take time alone whenever I can to just unwind from the day.
KK– Do you have a wellness routine?
BG– I go to my favorite spa in the city every month for a massage and some me time. My job really takes a toll on my body, so it’s so important to take care of myself physically and mentally.
KK– What is it like trying to balance being a mother, wife, and now running a successful new business?
BG– Very challenging haha. I’m still figuring everything out, but we’re getting there!
KK– Have you had many mishaps when trying to achieve these bold colors on other people?
BG– Sure have! I think we’d all be lying if we said we haven’t. I think transparency is key. If I’m not happy with something, my clients know I’ll say something right away and do what I need to get it right.
KK– Are your friends supportive of you not having much free time now?
BG– Yes! It’s hard, but I’ve been making it a priority to make time for friends now that things are starting to be a bit more steady.
KK– Are you currently happy with your endeavors?
BG-Happier than I could explain, and so grateful everyday.
KK– What tips would you give women just starting on their road to entrepreneurship?
BG– I’m still figuring things out myself, but I guess if I could give any advice, it would be to stay true to yourself and always do what you think will be best for your business. You might piss some people off along the way, but at the end of the day, no one will care more about your business than you.
Learning more about Brittany made me respect mothers that go after it all even more so than I did before. Otherwise, how are we really fulfilled living through someone else ?
The days of having to choose family or career are over.
Brittany has her son, an awesome new husband, got married in COVID, had a DIY wedding that was gorgeously the right amount of Halloween & class combined into one, and a flourishing new alternative color hair business. If you think for one second as a woman in 2021 you have to stay stuck in your situation; it might be time to dig deeper.
I suggest you start talking to women like Brittany.
She might just give you that inspiration to START your own dream.
Look out for more upcoming events at the Heavy Metal Hair Salon
Heavy Metal Hair Salon
1604 E Passyunk Ave 1st Floor
Philadelphia, Pa 19147
About The Author: Katie Kerl is a Philadelphia based veteran contributor to Tony Ward Studio.
E- Mail: Kate.firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional articles by Katie Kerl, click here:https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/katie-kerl-philly-reloaded-life-after-lockdown/