Home Culture Inside Rebel Hair Studio, An Eco-Friendly Salon In Nutley

Inside Rebel Hair Studio, An Eco-Friendly Salon In Nutley

by Samantha Bonizzi
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Founder and CEO of Rebel Hair Studio, Marisa Strazza-Critelli, takes a lot of pride in her Essex County salon. Located at 174 Bloomfield Avenue in Nutley, Rebel Hair Studio is an eco-conscious salon that prides itself on its use of eco-friendly + sustainable products, its specialization in color, and the fact that they’re an inclusive, safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. Marisa has also worked hard to cultivate a culture where stylists work together to bring the best possible experience to clients, and makes sure that each staff member she hires lives up to that standard. Keep reading to learn more about how Rebel Hair Studio came to be, and what people can expect from this luxury salon.

rebel hair studio

(Photo credit: Margaret Grzymkowski — @marggrz)

About The Founder

Marisa started doing hair when she was 16 years old, which is when she went to cosmetology school. She worked at a variety of salons across New Jersey, including a salon and spa in Bloomfield for eight years. It was here, at age 19, that she decided she wanted to open her own salon one day. She noticed a lot of gaps in the way they did things, and it got her thinking about what she could do better.

rebel hair studio

(Photo credit: Chris Francois — @kidhollywood)

“I really wanted to create a better work environment for stylists,” Marisa said. “At the time, I felt that it was an industry that lacked a lot of things like workers’ comp, maternity leave, and other basics of an industry. I wanted to be the one to provide that.”

It was her experience working in New York City that really prepared her for opening her own salon. She worked at Fox + Jane, where she not only did hair, but was also both a leader and educator for the staff. She learned a lot from her boss at the time, who is still someone she contacts if she needs help or support. Her mentorship gave Marisa the extra push she needed.

Read More: The Best Hair Salons in Montclair

The Opening + Navigating COVID

Marisa lives in Nutley and knew she wanted to open a salon in town. When looking for spaces, she happened upon one that went on the market just the day before. She ran with it, and opened Rebel Hair Studio in November 2019. Then, the pandemic hit.

“The day I closed the salon, I felt like I was on a different planet,” Marisa said. “I couldn’t believe I had just opened — poured everything I had into it — and so quickly had to close. We were only open for three or four months at that point, so it was still so new.”

rebel hair studio

Looking back, Marisa now sees that as a silver lining. Because it was so new, she was still in building mode, so she was able to use the time to build an online platform, make merchandise, and promote the salon. All the things she didn’t have time to do while actually running a business.

When it was time to reopen, Marisa decided to wait a bit so she could see what others were doing and learn from it. She built new systems to approach cleaning, started offering take-home options, and created a video to help clients see what it would be like to come back in person.

rebel hair studio

When describing the reopening, Marisa said, “My team did a really good job making it very comfortable for everyone to come back. We did it a week after everyone else, so we had some time to tweak things and practice on our friends and family. And then we got really busy from there, and turned a huge profit.”

See More: This Jersey City Stylist Opened Her Own Salon

The Services

As indicated by its name, Rebel Hair Studio solely focuses on hair. In addition to cutting, they do a lot of creative, custom coloring. Stylists are well-versed in color techniques like vivids, blonding, and expensive brunettes.

“We do a lot that’s very funky and out of the box. We like to work with our clients to make something that’s unique for them, and fits their style and vibe,” Marisa said.

rebel hair studio

(Photo credit: Marisa Strazza-Critelli)

The team expands beyond cut and coloring with editorial styling, weddings, New York Fashion Week, and other events. They also specialize in festival braids, and they often host pop-up braid bars. You can catch them soon at the Flower Power Flea Market in Pompton Lakes on Sunday, May 7th, 2023.

“The only things we don’t really do are keratin, perms, and texture changes,” Marisa added. “We like to work with people’s natural texture to try to help them embrace it and feel comfortable in their own skin.”

rebel hair studio

(Photo credit: Margaret Grzymkowski — @marggrz)

Rebel Hair Studio is open on Tuesdays from 10AM to 7PM, Wednesday through Friday from 11AM to 8PM, and on Saturdays from 9AM to 5PM. They hold Mondays for the continued education of their stylists.

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