Making Waves: The Barber

The owner of one of Indianapolis’ few female-owned barber shops breaks down how she makes her Broad Ripple location stand out.
Photography by Jes Nijjer

IN THE HEART of Broad Ripple just off the main strip, you’ll find Valentine’s Hair Parlour (6251 Winthrop Ave.). Just look for the charming, old-timey sign, antique copper tin ceilings, Victorian-style mirrors, and vintage furniture. Aside from being retro-cool, it’s also one of Indy’s very few female-owned barbershops. Owner Morgan Valentine is proud to represent ladies who lead. “Barbering is a male-dominated field,” she says. “So to be one of the women around Indy stepping in, not only succeeding but thriving, feels like a triumph.”

Even though their chairs typically seat a rotation of men and young boys (children’s pricing is available) seeking precision cuts and fresh fades, Valentine deliberately removed the words “barber shop” from the signage to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Yes, they specialize in short-length haircuts, but the team offers a diverse range of cuts to suit every taste, as well as beard shaping and trims, hot towel shaves, shampoos, scalp massages, and even nose and ear waxing. And new customers can rest assured the parlour has their back. “If there is a chance we will be uncomfortable doing a super-specific haircut, we’ll be candid about it and recommend someone we feel would be better suited for the desired cut,” Valentine says.

This honest and relaxed environment has drawn a plethora of returning customers who know they’ll get much more than just a haircut. “We are professionals but not in a traditional sense. We like to have fun. We like to joke. And we love when the whole room is interacting with each other,” Valentine shares. “I want you to look your best while also feeling like you belong in my chair.” Her goal is for patrons to walk out looking and feeling like a million bucks. “When you leave, you might get mistaken for Ryan Gosling on a good hair day,” laughs Valentine.

Valentine’s Hair Parlour just celebrated its one-year anniversary in December, but it might never have come to be without the mentorship of Cody Potter, owner of Wild’s Barber Shop in Fountain Square. After working in salons for years, Valentine considered quitting the industry until Potter convinced her to join his team. She was hooked from day one. “The environment, the friendly banter, the back-to-back clients … it was exactly the change I needed in my career,” she recalls. “I will always be grateful to Cody for giving me the opportunity to learn beside him and get my footing in the barbering world.”