On a chilly Thursday morning, hairstylist Danny Elder greets his first client of the day. After the two catch up and make a game plan for today’s appointment, Elder goes to mix the client’s color, but not before calling over his wife, business partner, and fellow stylist Katie Elder to get a second opinion on the shade.
This is typical of the collaborative spirit inside the new Soul Love Salon in Roland Park. The Elders, married since 2001, have been in the hair business for more than 20 years, having worked at several salons in the Baltimore area.
“We really love our industry,” says Danny. “It’s allowed us to fall into this place where we can truly be ourselves.”
The Roland Park salon, which previously housed Balance Salon (before it moved to Remington), opened in October and not only showcases the couple’s hairstyling skills, but also their love for music, with an extensive record collection and a turntable by the front door.
The pair have been DJing at local venues for the past nine years, spinning at places like the Paradox and Red Maple—both now closed. Their most recent musical venture has been hosting a pop-up seasonal party—also called Soul Love—which they debuted at Ten Tigers Parlour in D.C. and plan to host at various venues throughout the year.
“We grew up on the dance floor,” says Katie. “We realized that the feeling you get on the dance floor, when you release and let go, is similar to when you walk out from a great haircut and you feel your best—like you’ve been lifted.”
So why not combine the two? As you get your hair cut and colored, an expertly curated playlist blasts from the speakers, and a disco ball that once dangled at Paradox spins above the hair stations. There is even a shelf displaying what record is currently playing and what music is yet to come, in case customers want to add something they hear to their personal playlists.
Soul Love specializes in cuts, color, highlights, fantasy color, and specialty styles, but it’s really all about lifestyle.
“We want to share our love of music and love of beauty but also have a safe space for all types of people,” says Katie. “We are a bunch of really creative people. Our motto is, ‘You dream it, we make it.’”