I lived in Chicago for many years, and although Los Angeles is truly home now, Chicago will always hold a spot in my heart. It’s weird to see the city move on without me, kinda like when you cyber stalk ex-boyfriends and realize they have totally new lives without you. How is that possible?! Sparrow is the new big-deal hair salon in Chicago. Owners Susan Flaga and Bathsheba Nemerovski opened the salon in a 120 year-old building in Logan Square, and they’ve gotten tons of attention ever since–the New York Times called Bathsheba one of Chicago’s best-kept secrets. Well, the secret is out. Sparrow has cultivated a devoted following, thanks to the duo’s low-maintenance cuts and natural-looking color. And Bathsheba cuts everyone’s hair from Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy to pre-teen blogging sensation, Tavi Gevinson. The owners of Sparrow answered some Hair On The Brain questions about the salon and about Tavi too, of course!
Hair On The Brain: How did you decide to open your own salon?
Susan Flaga: Sheba and I were in the same place at the same time–literally and figuratively. We had been working together for almost eight years, in a salon that was growing beyond reason. We were both close to giving up the business for other states or interests. The salon we were at was great, and the best Chicago had to offer, which meant we would have to leave the city to find a comparable salon. Creating our own space in Chicago ended up, however frightening, making the most sense to us.
HOTB: What was that experience like–going from working in someone else’s salon to owning your own?
Susan: The experience was awesome! It was exhausting and exciting and worth every bit of effort we put into it. Going to work everyday at Sparrow is a real joy for both of us. We put everything we had into Sparrow–creatively, financially, and emotionally. But it was worth it.
HOTB: What is your clientele at Sparrow like?
Susan: Awesome. At Sparrow we have a mixture of our die hard clients that followed us from our previous salon and a ton of wonderful new clients from Logan Square. There is a huge age range and a good balance of male and female clients. Our average client is creative and laid back. They want cuts and colors that are super low maintenance, which we are happy to provide. We consult with and accommodate vastly different clients too.
HOTB: How did you guys wind up doing Tavi’s hair? Are you responsible for dying it blue?
Bathsheba Nemerovski: Yes, Tavi got her blue hair at Sparrow! I met her at Spencer Tweedy’s bar mitzvah a year ago and we hit it off. We spent the whole reception off in a corner talking fashion, and I’ve done her hair ever since.
HOTB: How did you wind up doing Jeff Tweedy’s hair?
Bathsheba: Jeff and his wife Susie have been friends of mine for years. I do the whole family’s hair.
HOTB: What are the haircut and styling trends you currently love?
Susan: I can never answer this question, so I’m not going to make something up. The work I love most is creating hair that makes sense for a particular client. Whenever I can collaborate with someone on their hair, I love it.
HOTB: What sort of styles are your clients currently asking for?
Susan: Pixies, bobs, long-layers, bangs, tons of color. Whatever it is, they want it to be easy!
HOTB: And in terms of hair color, what are you doing a lot of right now?
Susan: Aside from anything that flatters a client’s complexion, lots of super artificial colors are back. Pink, blue, white. Yes!
HOTB: In general, what would you like people to know about Sparrow?
Susan: We love what we do and we do it well. Hair does not consume our lives, so you might find that we are pretty laid-back people behind the chair. It’s pretty common for people to pop in to Sparrow just to have a sip of wine and maybe enjoy some live jazz. Our clients regularly comment on how comfortable and non-salony Sparrow feels, which is exactly what we set out to achieve.
2545 Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647