Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashe Bowen.
Ashe, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
The women in my family have done hair for generations. My grandmother owned Profile salon, which was so much more than just a salon. It was a community gathering space in my hometown, where everyone was welcome anytime. I resisted doing hair for years until I met my mentor, Cookie at Above Ground in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Above Ground had the same community vibe I grew up in and I instantly knew I was home. I apprenticed with Cookie for two years, then moved to Denver, where I worked at Moxie and Matthew Morris, and then to London to do editorial work for Kevin Murphy and provide education across the UK.
Upon moving back to Denver, I decided it was time to create a safe space for queer people. I opened Ashe Atelier salon and clothing shop in Baker in 2012 and then expanded to RiNo in 2014. I realized I was nailing it with the safe space but I couldn’t create the community vibe that I wanted in uptight, gentrified RiNo. I was looking for a location where I could be a part of the surrounding community while creating a safe space for the queer community and being of service to both. I found an abandoned space in Five Points and built it out to be the ideal space for me and my people. My mentor, Cookie had recently passed away and I realized I wanted to open the shop in her honor and name it after the now-closed Above Ground in Ann Arbor. Above Ground, Denver has been a wild success since the day it opened.
Has it been a smooth road?
From the beginning of my career, my mission was always to serve the queer community, my community. Staying true to my mission has given me the strength to forge my own path. Every step I have taken has made it possible to take the next step. It is has been a building process since the start with growth at every stage. I have had the good fortune to not face any major hardships in what has been a path of affirmations.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I have seen a major shift in the beauty industry in the past few years from a more surface level contrived idea of beauty to a more relaxed, natural and less toxic standard. I see stylists and clients leaning more toward the value of energy exchange and finding their outward expression to match their inner expression. Haircare brands are also becoming more earth-conscious, as well as less toxic to the consumer.
There has also been a shift in the gender binary in beauty. Colleagues from the US and Internationally are coming to me for advice on gender-free pricing for services and other messaging for salons that are not branded as queer in any way.
- Address: Above Ground
2737 Welton St.
Denver, CO 80205
- Website: abovegrounddenver.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @abovegroundhair
- Facebook: @abovegrounddenver