Themes Influencing the Future of Booth Rental in Hair Salons

Tomas Jose Lopez

          The practice of booth rental in hair salons in its present form in a relatively recent development that has met with wide acceptance by many self-employed cosmetologists on one hand, but with vocal opposition by other industry actors. In recent years, the social science literature devote to beauty culture in the U.S. and to beauty salon culture in particular has improved both in quality and quantity; yet there is little available in this literature that addresses the cultural significance of how hairdressers get paid according to different remunerative structures. The greatest gaps in scholarship surround booth rental salons. The author uses his 20 years of experience as a licensed cosmetologist, a set of extended narrative-prompt and grand-tour interviews with regional salon owners, and a multi-disciplinary literature review to discover some of the cultural values or, in themes, that have made booth rental a common practice in the 48 states that permit it and that are likely to influence its continuation as a viable business organization model in U.S. hair salons.