The walls of Parlor 33 are dotted with old photographs. Dark wooden panels give the place a rustic vibe. Even the analog cash register, an ornate bronze-colored machine that rests atop the front counter, adds to the vintage vibe.
It’s exactly the aura that Jody Ruiz, a Santa Monica High School alumna, was trying to create when she opened her own barbershop in Santa Monica last month.
“I’ve always had a real passion for antiques,” she said. “Anything that has a story behind it.”
There’s also a story behind Ruiz’s new business, which is located in suite on Lincoln Avenue near Pico Boulevard. Her parlor harkens back to a bygone era during which men’s grooming outposts doubled as social clubs.
Ruiz, who attended John Muir Elementary and John Adams Middle schools before graduating from Samohi in 2005, bounced from barbershop to barbershop for haircuts throughout her childhood.
She has long been interested in styling hair for a living, but it wasn’t until recently that she acted on her goal.
“I was hopping from job to job, and I was never really satisfied,” she said. “It was never something I had a passion for. I’ve always wanted to cut hair, but I never sat down and said ‘Hey, why don’t I go to school for this?’ I wasn’t really thinking about my career or what I’m going to do with my life. It hit me a few years later.”
Ruiz attended Pro Barber College in Torrance and started building up a clientele at a local barbershop, where she worked for about a year. Going into the field, though, she knew that she eventually wanted to open her own business.
“It was all in or nothing,” she said. “I didn’t just want to work for somebody else. I wanted to have my own style. The barbershops around here, they’re pretty much chop shops where you’re in and out. This is more of an experience.
“I saved up and put every last penny into this place. It’s a really old-timey barbershop. It’s really different from the other barbershops around here.”
The physical space is a tribute to the collecting hobby that Ruiz has honed for years. She loves the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, and she wanted her new barbershop to reflect those eras.
“I’ve been rounding things up for years,” she said.
Photos and trinkets are details in a business where red plush chairs surround a coffee table and stools line a corner bar where complimentary beverages are served to clients while they wait for their haircuts. She offers customized cuts for $33 as well as other services like wet shaves, beard trims and scalp massages.
Ruiz was drawn to Santa Monica as a businesswoman in part because she grew up in the coastal city, but also because her father owns a liquor store and several other properties in town. She feels the location of her parlor, where a grand-opening ceremony is scheduled for April 29 at 6 p.m., is ripe for a renaissance.
“It was kind of run-down, but I’ve seen this corner and I’ve seen a lot of potential,” she said. “I thought it could be something great.”
Parlor 33 is located at 1865 Lincoln Blvd., No. 6. For more information, call (310) 883-3364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.