Two sisters transformed an Airstream into their hair dream.
Lindsay Tollefson, a 2012 Aveda Institute graduate, has been styling hair and trimming beards for the last seven years, but a few years ago she hatched a plan to take her work to the streets. Her dream of a mobile men’s salon was so contagious that her sister, local pastor Kati Dean, got in on the freewheeling plan as a co-owner. The migrating salon launched this past June as Rugged Good Looks.
Though the Airstream might be from 1968, the concept of a convenient salon that shows up in your neighborhood, at your local brewery or outside your workplace is anything but antiquated. Everything about Rugged Good Looks screams fun. Even if you hadn’t been planning to get a trim, the marshmallow slingshot ammunition outside the shiny trailer might be enough to convince you it’s time to start looking your best.
The sisters purchased the Airstream in 2017, the same year that the state of Minnesota began offering licensing for mobile salons. Dean recalls the purchase was made “in the dark at some guy’s campsite in northern Minnesota.” With a quick cell phone-lighted inspection, the future home of Rugged Good Looks changed hands.
Though the sisters thought the renovations might take a month, the plumbing and refinishing work required ended up taking about six months.
Rugged Good Looks offers special services like hot towels and shoe shines. “We had fun coming up with some manly essential oil scents to use on our hot towels for after Katie shampoos your hair and gives you a scalp massage during your haircut,” Dean said.
“Bergamot, fir, and patchouli are our faves.”
Dean calls herself the “shoe shine gal.” Though she says it’s a dying art, she still thinks its important. “Honestly, it makes a big difference in your overall look if you are strutting into your business meeting with fresh looking kicks,” she said. “People notice!”
The salon’s mobility brings it to a varied clientele in different towns and situations. “The gentlemen we work with in downtown St. Paul are very different from the country boys we met at the Anoka Food Truck festival,” says Dean. “And then the men in the medical profession here in Rochester are also their own vibe as well.”
“Rugged Good Looks helps be a bit more available than your typical brick-and-mortar salon,” said Tollefson. “(It allows) our clients to have fun at fairs and breweries, grab some food and drinks and get a cut they’ve been needing.”
Tollefson’s dream of a mobile salon has also given her the opportunity to have a fun “hangout” with her sister. Though the sisters work well together, Tollefson says they are learning “when to be sisters and when to be business partners.”
Initially, Tollefson, who loves food trucks, imagined the mobile salon might open in a renovated food truck, but the eye-catching curves and sparkle of the Airstream proved irresistible. Some of the limitations of the mobile setting make it more suitable for offering salon services for men. Tollefson says coloring hair, an essential part of many women’s styles, didn’t seem feasible in the Airstream. “Men’s care takes less time, power and water still allowing for a quality service,” she explained.
Though you might find Rugged Good Looks someplace in the Twin Cities where Tollefson lives, like Rice Park in downtown St. Paul, you might also see it at Rochester’s own Little Thistle Brewery.
“The owners and employees there are amazing to work with,” said Tollefson, “They’ve created a fun spot in Rochester to hang at!” If you want to find where the salon will be next, check out www.ruggedgoodlooksmn.com.
Rugged Good Looks is a combination of quirky and convenient that appeals to both the playful and the pragmatic; plus, its reflective silver surface makes for the perfect post style mirror, mirror on the wall session. It’s the silver bullet of salons -- it seeks us out where we dwell, slaying our inner hairy beasts, and does it in style.