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Salon Slade
Photograph: courtesy of Salon Slade

I got my hair done by a mobile salon that circles Williamsburg

Salon Slade operates out of a vintage RV.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

The first time I stepped inside Salon Slade, I had to embrace my adventurous side.

The mobile hair salon, which operates from inside a black, 1983 Chevrolet camper van parked somewhere in Williamsburg, is a bit of a mystery from the outside. Passersby slow down to catch a glimpse of what is going on inside the tricked-out RV with undercarriage lights, a spinning barbershop sign and—now for Halloween—a skeleton in the passenger seat. Sometimes, they leave with a grin; other times, they leave with an appointment. 

Finally, it was my turn to see what it was all about.

Following the directions the salon texted me, I arrived and exhaled before opening the screen door and stepping inside, not sure what to expect. Was I really about to get my hair done inside an RV parked on the side of the road?

But once I stepped up into the van, my fears melted away. A bonafide salon outfitted with rocker chic details was all there: two stations with full salon chairs, mirrors and tables made from drumsets, complete with a sink in the back.

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Since then, I’ve been back twice to have its owner Slade Guillory cut and color my hair. I quickly learned to get used to the strange feeling of being inside a fishbowl. It’s not every day you see a hair salon inside an RV, after all! 

Guillory, a Bed-Stuy resident who’s been a hairdresser for over two decades, decided to work for himself after the pandemic hit. He couldn’t find a brick-and-mortar location thanks to high rents and user-unfriendly spaces, but inspiration struck when he saw the Chevy camper on Facebook Marketplace. 

“I thought I could build something out of it and it could totally work,” Guillory told me during my latest hair color visit. “My mom always said that if you’re gonna bet, bet on yourself. If I’m gonna start this, it’s gonna be on me.”

Guillory is a motorcycle junkie, so he is familiar with mechanics but he had never converted an RV into a fully-functional salon before. Much like how he does hair, Guillory is meticulous. He worked for two months to completely gut the camper in the cold winter months of 2022. Working hundreds of hours in the freezing cold and missing out on sleep, he made it happen. By the spring, he was up and running, doing hair right on the street near McCarren Park.

Shaye getting hair done at Salon Slade
Photograph: Shaye Weaver/Time Out New York | The writer getting her hair colored at Salon Slade

Guillory’s late mother was a competition hairstylist and also owned her own salon, which he watched her set up many times after moving spaces.

“It’s amazing,” he says about the camper salon. “Sometimes I look around and think ‘I did that.’ Now I fully understand the pride she got when building her salons.”

“She didn’t care if I failed, she cared if I didn’t try,” he adds. A faux tree that stands behind the driver’s seat is a keepsake from his mom’s salon that he takes with him every step of his career.

As were discussing his journey to mobile salon life, a group of kids yelled through the windows and asked if he can do buzz cuts. It’s not the first time people have come knocking (or yelling). Guillory often allows people in to take a look. Clearly, Salon Slade is making quite the impression.

“Who doesn’t love a little novelty?” It does feel exciting … and exclusive. Of the times I’ve gotten my hair done at Salon Slade, I’m the only one in a chair and Guillory is laser-focused despite my chatter. “Here, I can spend my time making sure it’s right.” 

The RV has allowed Guillory freedom (not just on the road) to invest in those who sit in his chair by removing the time and space limits a brick-and-mortar would have. The vehicle has its quirks for sure—the electricity shut off a couple of times during my latest visit and he had to run outside to restart it—but both Guillory and his clients are the types to embrace it as part of the experience.

“[The camper] is an entity,” Guillory says. “Am I still terrified of this thing? Absolutely.”

Slade Guillory at Salon Slade
Photograph: courtesy of Salon Slade | Slade Guillory in front of Salon Slade

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