Unique barbershop recycles hair, builds community from the chair up in Detroit

Four years ago, Sebastian started working on his dream: opening The Social Club Grooming Company, an environmentally friendly grooming salon in Detroit. After 54 Kiva lenders supported his $5,000, 0% interest loan, The Social Club has grown to become a central hub for the Detroit community.

Photos by The Social Club Grooming Company

The Social Club is passionate about environmental impact. By acknowledging the vast amount of harsh chemicals and waste in the industry, Sebastian strived to create an environmentally friendly barbershop. The Social Club used the $5,000 loan to recycle waste hair clippings, which create compost that acts as natural fertilizer for trees. Since receiving the Kiva loan, they have partnered with a local park to plant 200 new trees. Each haircut at The Social Club means not only a refreshed style for the client, but a path to a greener Detroit.

“We want to design a system in which it makes it easy for other salons to participate in hair recycling so we can grow more trees for our parks and other public spaces in Detroit,” he said.

Sebastian recognized that barbershops have always been a community hub, not only within his neighborhood but across all cities. He wanted to harness this sense of community to start a multicultural barbershop that could bring people together across racial lines and foster needed conversation. One important step Sebastian took to achieve this goal was starting with his own business: his staff and clientele has always been diverse and he is proud of it.

To build and emphasize this community, The Social Club hosts a series of Shop Talks. This is where community leaders, activists, musicians, and other business owners are led in discussion with an audience, all while getting their hair cut. As a result, The Social Club promotes community causes as well as other small businesses in Detroit.

“It used to be that the barbershop wasn’t just a place to get a haircut or shave; it was the hub of the community, where people came together to bond, socialize and exchange ideas.”
Members of the community come together for one of The Social Club’s Shop Talks

Sebastian had the entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. After his first 3 business plans were rejected by Wayne State University, Sebastian’s resilience and determination helped him find his way to success with a business that has 2 bottom lines.

Small business owners like Sebastian are writing a new chapter for Detroit and playing a key role in the city’s redevelopment. To help other small business owners like Sebastian, make a loan today!

About the author

Theodora Bishop

Theodora was born and raised in Cambridge, England, and has been living in London for the past 3 years. She studied for a BA degree in Geography at Durham University, and has recently completed her Masters in Globalization from University College London. During this time she became fascinated in microfinance and subsequently Kiva, which led her to focus her dissertation on a study of Kiva Zip and the concept of social underwriting. She is especially interested in how Kiva Zip both enables and responds to demands for sustainability and increased engagement in social giving. Theodora has a passion for all things entrepreneurial. She is particularly interested in how successful business models can have a positive social effect on communities. Theodora has been involved in fashion retail enterprises, including Mary Portas’ Living & Giving Initiative and The Cambridge Satchel Company, and has had the opportunity to teach entrepreneurial skills to young people from London through the ‘Citrus Saturday’ program. In her spare time, Theodora loves to play netball, going to art exhibitions, and reading independent magazines. Theodora has always loved visiting the US, and is excited to explore San Francisco!