The Finishing Touch
By Eric T. Campbell
The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT, MI. — The grand opening of the Finishing Touch Beauty and Barber Salon is not Kelvin Warren’s first foray into the salon business, but it may be his most extensive. Located on Harper in Detroit’s near east side, the salon’s sleek interior is just one of the many characteristics that challenge the perception of what a neighborhood barber shop is supposed to look and feel like.
Kelvin’s haircutting ventures go back well before he completed the year-long, accredited program at the Michigan Barber School at Grand River and Joy Rd. Barber school made Kelvin’s real world experience official. The business side didn’t need any coaxing.
“All through high school I was charging $2.50 for a haircut,” Kelvin, a Denby High School grad, told the Michigan Citizen.
In 1993, Kelvin decided a shop environment was better suited to pursue his dedication to cutting hair. His father, a career military man now living in Arizona, helped him open his first place near 8 Mile and Schoener. The Finishing Touch has since changed locations several times, but Kelvin’s allegiance to the near East side has made it easier for his clientele to keep in touch. In February of this year, Kelvin found an opportunity north of 8 mile and opened a smaller shop in Oak Park consisting of four chairs and two barbers. Then friend and businessman Caleb Williams of Pinnacle Sportswear helped Kelvin to open the newest location, his second, back in the neighborhood. His girlfriend, Essie Jones, is also his business partner.
“My clientele base has always been on the east side of Detroit,” says Kelvin. “I try to stay loyal to my base.”
With the acquisition of the building on Harper, Kelvin and friends were able to really get into the design concept and create an environment that would inspire his longstanding clientele and newcomers alike. They took a full two months to gut and renovate the space. The result is a well crafted and extremely comfortable interior. Organic colors and natural light play a prominent part of the shop’s character.
“We wanted to put a new twist on the shop,” Kelvin says.
The hair cutting and styling section is toward the back of the establishment, with the waiting area prominently located in the front. This area includes a juice and coffee bar, which was encouraged by Kelvin’s brother, Keith. According to Keith, who has a background in food management, the juice bar was another good opportunity to do something distinctive.
“I always try and give him new ideas,” Keith said.
In addition to fresh carrot and apple juice, the Warren brothers also hope to serve fruit smoothies and pastries to customers who patronize the salon.
The Finishing Touch will employ a staff of four barbers, two stylists and two nail techs, many of whom Kelvin has worked with before and are an integral part of the community. Tiffany, who grew up in the neighborhood, told the Michigan Citizen she’s been inspired by the opportunity to do what she loves in a new setting.
“I’m excited about it,” Tiffany said about the salon’s opening. “I’ve got loyal customers I’ve been working with in this area for about 12 years.”
The salon will also feature a private massage therapy room. Masseuse Nykeah will offer 15 minute massages by appointment or as another option for customers looking forward to a cut or styling. Kelvin is also working hard to complete spaces for a nail studio and a private tattoo room, which will be available as soon as he finds an artist to fill the position.
“I love helping people, helping the neighborhood,” Kelvin said, looking around the sunlit entryway. “Barbering is in my blood, I have to do it. It’s like therapy for me.”
The Finishing Touch Beauty and Barber Salon is located at 16841 Harper Avenue just east of I-94. Call for an appointment at 313-884-1944