Resilient Hair Designs has offered quality cuts, meaningful opportunities, and a space for comfortability and support in efforts to have a positive impact on the community on Madison’s West Side since 2009. The work being done through the collaborative efforts of Resilient Hair Designs and Aaron Perry’s Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association continues to provide crucial resources and accessibility for whoever needs it most.
Erin Hall owns Resilient Hair Designs LLC and recalled how upon opening the shop, the main goal was not only to give great service, but also to provide opportunities and a positive environment for the barbers and community, as well. Starting under the wing of fellow collaborator barbershop JP Hair Design, Hall spoke to the shifts that have happened which now make their business and efforts more visible.
“I got my start with JP Hair Design, and the beginning of where they were at that particular time, was a great opportunity for us as younger men to kind of grow into this community,” Hall told Madison365. “It’s nice to hear that people are talking positively of us, but that was definitely one of the things that I noticed 23 years ago. It’s limited only to those that know. Today, I think we are sitting in a little bit of a different place. Especially after COVID, I notice that there are a lot more people involved in the hair business.”
Hall works alongside Derrick Prather and Derrick Artist at the shop, and while Resilient Hair Design is a Black-owned barbershop, he made it clear that the goal to make the space welcoming for everyone was priority number one alongside giving the best effort to provide quality cuts and trims for multiple hairstyles.
However, one of the standout aspects that Resilient Hair Designs offers has become a common theme for barbershops looking to provide care past just hair for their clientele in offering medical checkups and screenings as well. These efforts stem from the work done by Aaron Perry with Rebalanced-Life Wellness Association and their Men’s Health & Education Center that calls JP Hair Design home.
“One of the ways that I got involved in that was when JP Hair Design partnered up with Aaron Perry for what is now Perry Clinic,” recollected Hall. “The idea was to start getting us to pay more attention to our health care from the comfort zone of the barbershop so that we can start reaching people where they are versus the idea of people going to the doctor just on a wellness check. Unfortunately, in our community, we’re not having a lot of wellness checks. By the time that we’ve made it to the doctor and to the hospital, it’s probably the worst time to be going.”
Perry’s work along with community support is what led to the establishment of the Perry Family Free Clinic which supports those in need of health care who may lack the finances or insurance to cover it elsewhere. Hall reflected on the importance of meeting people where they are at to get them invested in their health, and how it is important to see representation in those doing the work around health to drive that message home.
“Those attitudes maybe would have changed had we had people that look like us being the doctors and being the nurses,” Hall said, discussing how a history of medical racism leading to self-diagnosing or ignoring issues makes the situation complex. “People like us even just being a part of those organizations to bring it back to our communities and let us know it’s still important. It’s important for you to still get a physical yearly. It’s important to know where your blood pressure stands. It’s important to know whether or not you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic. It’s important to know the different signs of strokes and we need to know proper ways of taking care of ourselves. It’s not always anecdotal.”
While Hall could understand and sympathize with being afraid or unwilling to hear bad news, the reframing of that news to be a source of knowledge in addressing any health issues is an important approach that Hall hopes people can keep in mind when considering getting that checkup. Perhaps the biggest aspect Hall was most happy about in what they could offer was in tackling the barriers of financial burden that healthcare can create by offering free services, something he hopes can continue and expand into the future.
“I do have a space that I have here for Perry Clinics, and here we can do our blood pressure and pre-diabetic screenings, as well as give you plenty of information … if there’s any more things that need to be done, we can send you to the actual clinic,” Hall said. “In the future, what I would like, in terms of growth, is ultimately to be in a larger space, which gives me the opportunity to partner even further with the Perry Clinics to provide a larger space and maybe even more services that we could be comfortable with. As it stands today, we see our nurses on Thursdays, they come in and all services are free, and it’s within your own comfort zone.”
If for no other reason, Hall hopes that any initial effort they can make in getting people engaged with their health will give a starting point or checkpoint for medical history, a valuable tool for gauging health progression through time.
Resilient Hair Designs may be best known and most patronized for the quality hair and beard cuts and trims that their barber team has to offer, but the space they hold for addressing community health and wellness is invaluable, and whatever the future holds, Hall hopes it can continue in that direction.
“I hope to further partner, I hope to continue to learn, and I hope to continue to be a place that people are comfortable with coming and sharing that serious information with,” Hall said in closing. “It’s not that they’re sharing it with me as much as they’re getting to find out some things about themselves that they then can go out and address. I like the idea that not only are we offering it as a free initial thing, but we actually still have doctors and nurses that are available that are free.”
To learn more about Resilient Hair Design and book an appointment, visit the website here.