For most people, going to the salon is a break from the hustle of the workday -- a time to kick back, relax and indulge. For Charlie Brackney, it's his life's work. At 29, the co-owner of two south Minneapolis salons -- Haus and Blowdry! Blowdry Bar -- is a decade into an auspicious career in the beauty industry.
Brackney's youthful appearance -- well trimmed beard and respectable eyeglasses notwithstanding -- belies his years of experience. He first moved to Minneapolis from Fort Worth, Texas, in 2001 to attend the nationally renowned Aveda Institute. After graduation, he spent nine years as a stylist at Juut Salonspa, where he worked with the famed Vivienne Mackinder and became one of the younger members of the Aveda Purefessional team, which styles for major New York Fashion Week shows. It's quite the track record, and clear evidence of Brackney's career ambition.
"I knew from a young age that I would one day have my own salon," he says. "Everything I'd done to that point was preparing me for it."
Named for the German Bauhaus school of the 1920s and '30s, Haus was founded by Brackney and business partner Jessica Reipke in January 2011. "We as artists come together to challenge the idea of what beauty is and to create exciting new hairstyles, haircuts, hair colors as well as interpret the latest trends coming down the catwalk," Brackney says. "We do not have a creative team; we are a creative team."
Despite acting as the creative director of both Haus and the recently opened Blowdry!, Brackney hasn't stepped away from the salon chair. He cuts hair four days a week, produces the salon's biannual "collections" (editorial shoots that highlight seasonal hair trends), oversees all salon education and serves as a national artistic director for the Number 4 High Performance Haircare product line used in their salons.
Having moved from a purely creative role as a hairstylist into that of a small-business owner, Brackney has no qualms about the challenges that come along with it. "The devil's in the details!" he laughs. "Every 'I' must be dotted and every 'T' crossed. There is much to be managed, and we are always dreaming up the next great idea, so time management is huge."
Despite the responsibilities, Brackney is proud to be able to create a space to "celebrate each member of our team as individual artists, not robots cranking out the same looks over and over again.
"I personally believe that hair is a noble art form," he says. "In service, we are able to help people express who they are on the inside by creating their perfect look on the outside."