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Chrissy Phelan’s Open-Air Barbershop

LOS ANGELES - Here in Echo Park, you will find Chrissy Phelan's Open-Air Barbershop. A shop but from creative and out of necessity. Last year, Phelan only worked three months due to COVID-19 shutdowns. With the help of her girlfriends, she is now open for business.

Photo, Donna Ramirez

Phelan has been cutting men's hair for the past 17 years. Along with everyone else, she did not expect the pandemic to last more than a year. She was previously working at Salon Republic near West Hollywood for two and a half years. When they opened for business — for the few months they were allowed to — some clients worried about being inside an enclosed space with the fear of germs spreading quickly. That was when the idea hit. With the landlord’s permission, Phelan was able to create a safe space for her clients. The idea of an open-air salon has helped her emotionally and economically.

"I would not have been able to survive if I didn’t have this little garage," Phelan said.

Photo, Donna Ramirez

At first, she did not see much hope for space. The garage was in disarray and the vision was not there. With help from her girlfriend, they both were about to revamp the place into a functioning salon.

Clients are now feeling more comfortable and are loving the new place. Jeremy Levine, a client, describes the space as “homey.” He enjoys it more than the usual four-wall room.

Photo from the 1918 Spanish Flu displayed at Phelan's Barbershop

Phelan jokes about this year’s lockdowns taking us back to 1918 when the Spanish flu struck America, and how most businesses, including salons, continued their business outside.

Before COVID, Phelan was seeing ten to twelve clients daily, but now she sees five clients on a full day. Although it was scary at first, she said she is happier this way and would not like to go back to where she used to work.

She explains her work as being in a constant grind. She doesn't think she would have allowed herself to slow down if it weren’t for the pandemic. Although her feet would ache, she always was working six days a week and never said no to work.

Phelan has always been grateful for the business but slowing down has been nice. She would love to keep working at this slower pace instead of the nonstop working. This is something good for her that came out of the pandemic.

She plans on continuing with the garage place of business until the pandemic calms down. You can follow Chrissy Phelan on Instagram @Chrissyphelan or book an appointment on her website

Video, Beauty Palace

Video, Donna Ramirez

By Donna Ramirez

Photo, Donna Ramirez

Video, Donna Ramirez

Video, Beauty Palace


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