After 10 years of improving women's appearances, Elk Grove hairstylist Amber Aase Kloss will join a mission to change women's lives as well by participating in a Northern California-wide "Cut for a Cause" campaign this Sunday.
The event will benefit The Trade, a non-profit foundation formed to teach women in developing countries how to make a living cutting hair.
Salons throughout Northern California are participating in the cause, offering styled haircuts for $35. All proceeds, including tips, will go to The Trade.
“I think as a stylist we all want to be our best. I always look for something to bring back excitement and when I heard about this, I knew I wanted to be involved,” Kloss said. “It’s not that I’m going to profit from this financially, but I need to do this. I want to do this.”
The Trade, founded in January by Hattori Hanzo Shears co-owners Jonathan Klein and Chris McCarley, works in collaboration with Hattori Hanzo to refurbish old shears traded in by hairstylists for credit toward new tools. The foundation will give the refurbished shears to women in poor countries—many of whom have been victims of prostitution or human trafficking—and train them to be hairstylists.
“A lot of people are raising awareness of human trafficking, which is great, but it’s very difficult to actually change the situation,” Klein said. “We think this is a great idea because the biggest reason nations and economies are struggling is because they don’t really have education and education is a huge key to fixing things.”
By teaching women in developing countries a skill, rather than just providing a product or material, The Trade can help them generate money independently without continuing aid from richer nations, said Director Whitney Randall.
Randall has worked with Youth With A Mission, a global Christian volunteer program, for three-and-a-half years, traveling several times to Brazil.
“When I was there I tried as much as I could to help these women and help the community I was working in, but I felt a little discouraged when I left. We did do some cool projects and I know we did encourage people, but I wanted something that when I left would be lasting,” Randall said.
The Trade’s first official trip will take place Aug. 20 through Oct. 17 in Brazil. A group of eight stylists, along with a manager and videographer, will teach 20 local women to cut hair while setting up a salon where they can work.
“We’re taking them from a horrible situation where they had no hope and not just making them a part of society but making sure they can do well,” Klein said.
The 20 women were selected by a pastor from the area who Randall made connections with on one of her prior trips to Brazil.
Randall said that while prices may be different, every country has a demand for cosmetologists. “Everyone needs their hair cut, no matter what country you live in,” she said.
Though this trip will be the first officially launched by The Trade, the foundation previously partnered with a group from a salon in Oregon who trained women in Nicaragua in February. Klein said the success of that trip along with Randall's connections make him confident in The Trade's future projects.
"Every time we do a trip it’s an unknown because it’s a new country," Klein said. "But we have a lot of faith because of the connections we have already in Brazil."
While Kloss will not be part of the group heading to Brazil, she said she hopes to join a future trip.
“I just think it’s a great opportunity. To help somebody and take something that you love and to be able to teach somebody about it excites me,” Kloss said. “Why not? Why not help somebody else—especially to get them away from the life they’ve had.”
Coupons for haircuts at participating salons are available at Groupon.com. While a coupon is not needed to get the discount on Sunday, salons are asking that appointments be booked in advance.
Donations of any amount can also be made without purchase of service at any participating salon or through The Trade’s donation page.
The Trade plans to hold another "Cut for a Cause" event next year that will involve salons from across the United States.