Whitney Vermeer is a rising star in the Twin Cities hair industry—and stands out for her architectural haircuts for men (and women who prefer masculine styles). Her work has been featured in salon industry standards such as Modern Salon and First Chair magazines, and until recently, she worked as the men’s specialist for HAUS Salon. Recently, she left the salon to start her own company, The Aesthetic—a one-chair salon that doubles as an artist studio and creative space, which she plans to open up to other creatives via a rotating gallery space along one wall and a pop-up photo studio.
Housed in the former RyKrisp factory in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood of Minneapolis, the space is already infused with a spirit of collaboration. She worked with a number of her clients to construct the space, including Keith Wyman, founder of concrete-based furniture and interiors company Concrete Pig, who custom-designed and -built the space’s fixtures, including a unique set of hair-washing sinks. (“I am inspired by furniture and architecture,” she says. “I actually did a haircut collection inspired by his furniture.”) Local illustrator and graphic designer Jared Tuttle—another client and frequent model for the stylist—did the space’s branding, and Robb Jones, head bartender of Gavin Kaysen’s Spoon & Stable and another client of Vermeer, curated a beverage program for the space that includes four signature pre-mixed cocktails.
courtesy bethany catherine
Vermeer, who splits her time as a national educator for L’Oréal Paris, carries products from the L’Oréal-owned high-end men’s haircare line Baxter of California, as well as post-shave spray and beard tonics by cult natural skincare company Herbivore Botanicals, in scent combinations of cedar-and-bergamot and vetiver-and-sage. She also carries small leather goods from Minneapolis’ own Solid Manufacturing Co. and a line of apothecary scents including solid colognes and roll-ons formulated by her girlfriend, Joanie Shafer (who works in technology sales by day).
Though the stylist worked as a generalist for five years, doing cuts, color, and spa services for men and women, she made the decision to exclusively do masculine hair cuts a few years ago after becoming barber-trained under Kurt Kueffner, a pioneer in men’s grooming who developed the men’s hair curriculum for Aveda. “He taught me that everyone has an ideal shape, and the golden mean, and sculpting that for them,” she says. “Once I learned that I could nerd out about something and obsess over it, I was like, yep, that’s for me.”
She got into the men’s hair industry at the right time—it’s growing at a rate of 20 percent each year. “There’s this misconception that guys want a fast haircut, and that’s not true anymore,” she says. “It’s more accepted now for guys to care about their hair.”
While Vermeer is not currently accepting new clients as she transitions into her new company, you can sign up to be placed on standby in the event she has an opening.
all salon photos by Jahna Peloquin