Historical bricks line the floor, uneven and rolling in the shape of the earth beneath. There are curtains, a couch, and several styling stations with nail polish and hair supplies.
A basement seems like a strange place to get your hair done, but like most things at Rock Your Locks Salon in Old Town Saginaw, there's a “why” under the surface.
“We have private stations down here in case someone wears a hijab, wears a wig and isn’t comfortable being seen, or if they’re depressed and just need a quiet place away from people to be while they get their hair done,” says Janey Cascaddan, owner.
They say beauty is only skin-deep, but for Cascaddan and her team of stylists, it goes considerably deeper than that.
“If you can look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about what you see, you’ve won a very hard challenge,” says Cascaddan. “Society tells us that we’re too “this” or too “that”, so if you can take a second from your day, look in the mirror and just feel good because you got your bangs trimmed, that can change everything.”
Upstairs, the salon is filled with stylists doing everything from the average trim to dying clients’ hair multiple shades of bright, bold color.
Located on the corner of Court Street and Michigan, the salon is also known for making bold statements about more than just hair.
While many businesses try to keep political and social issues separate from their day-to-day operations, Cacaddan grabs the steering wheel and drives the salon into those issues head-on.
“I don’t hang bras in my windows for attention,” Cascaddan says. “I feel like we’re on such a busy corner with big windows, I feel like it’s important to be loud and obnoxious about social injustices because they’re still happening, and until they stop, I’m not going to stop using this corner as a catalyst. It’s important for me to stand up for other people who may not have a voice.”
At first appearance, one might think that the seed of Rock Your Locks was planted during a youth full of The Ramones, mohawks and rebellion.
“But I grew up on a farm in Breckenridge,” says Cascaddan. "I showed horses for 14 years and cattle for 10 years...and then went the complete opposite direction with my life."
In high school, she was ahead in credits, and with no other classes to take, approached her principal about attending beauty school full-time. At 17, she received her license and started working at a salon in the Fashion Square Mall after graduating.
“I met this dude with a huge mohawk and really tight pants,” she says. “I had never seen a real-life punk, especially coming from a farm. And I was like, ‘THAT’S how I feel inside. I’m mad about politics and injustices of the world and I want people to look at me and I want to make them mad because I’m different. Then it just became a part of me.”
While a bold, colorful approach to both business and social issues might seem sensationalistic to some, Cascaddan says she couldn’t do it any other way.
“The way I dress, the way I talk, the things I say, the things my business represents are all things that are important to me,” Cascaddan says. “That’s why we have the pride flag, the transgender flag, the genderfluid flag, and all the flags. If I can make someone start a conversation that causes them to be more open-minded, I’ve done what I want to do.”