This Queer-Friendly Salon in Omaha Offers Kickass Cuts and TikTok Pep Talks

Meet the couple behind JPalm Hairdressing

JPalm Hairdressing is a salon in Omaha, Nebraska owned by a queer married couple—Jordan Palmer and Alex Bauer—who are all about creating a safe, welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ people and anyone else who doesn't feel like they'd fit in at a traditional boutique.

"We're the only really openly queer femme salon in Omaha," Palmer says.

Opened in 2019, JPalm is a two-person operation. Palmer is the lone stylist, and Bauer manages operations.

Yet this very small business—Palmer describes it as a "micro salon"—has a massive social media presence. The shop’s TikTok account, @jpalmhairdressing, is nearing 400,000 followers and growing every day. (You can find @jpalmhairdressing on Instagram, too.)

Positive, inspiring and a whole lot of fun, JPalm's TikTok mostly features Palmer's consultations with clients (as well as reveals of the stylish 'dos she gives them); fit checks (the hairdresser, who uses she/they pronouns, is very stylish); and pep-talk videos.

@jpalmhairdressing We want volume. We want fun. We want gay aunt hair!!! #Omaha #omahahair #omahahaircut #queersalon #babybangs #curly #shortlayers #omahasalon #omahahairdresser #jpalm #queerowned #lesbianhairdresser #genderlesshair #genderlesshaircut #omahasmallbusiness #shaghaircut #shagomaha #queer #queerhair #omahaqueer #queerhairdresser #mullet #mulletomaha #queersalonomaha #queeromaha #queer #consultation #hairconsultation #queertiktok ♬ original sound - JPalm Hairdressing

Alex, who uses she/her pronouns, also pops up on the feed to show off her latest hair color and take viewers behind the scenes of content creation, which she spearheads.

And we see the pair on the feed together, modeling life as a queer couple and business owners.

Here, the duo talk about their approach to social media and its impact on their business and the queer community in Omaha and beyond:

MUSE: Jordan, your consultations are so lovely and supportive. You always ask your clients if it is okay for you to touch them, and you share your pronouns and invite your clients to share theirs. What kind of reaction did you get when you first started posting these videos?

Jordan: The first consultation I filmed ever, we posted it, and it popped off. It went viral, and Alex said to me—I'll never forget this—she goes, "You know what they’re talking a lot about in [the comments on] that video is the consent thing." And I was like, "Whatcha talking about?"

She goes, "I don't know if you know this, but you asked before you touched that person and that is causing a lot of conversation on our page. So, this is what I want you to do tomorrow: I want you to film another one, and I want you to share your pronouns, and I want you to ask consent. We'll see if we can get more people's attention."

And boy, didn't we.

Alex: One of the beautiful things about Jordan's work is she's able to model all of these things that we were not able to experience ourselves as young, queer people—having complete control over what our haircut looks like, over what we do with our bodies, over who we share our identity with, how we present ourselves, all of those things.

Jordan: Another thing that made the videos go viral is Alex responds to every single person who interacts with our page—all the nice people. She spends hours a day moderating the page and having conversation with the users.

Why do you invest so much time in interacting with people?

Alex: There's a lot of young queer people who follow us, and they're like, "Oh my God, you replied to my comment!" If that can make somebody's day, I can take 30 seconds to read their comment and give them a thoughtful response.

How do you deal with people who share negative comments?

Alex: We get quite a bit of negative attention. I don't care if you say something about me, Alex, as a business owner. Jordan doesn't care if you say something about her, or the way that we run our business. Those things don't affect us. But if you are going to say something negative about our clients [or say something negative that impacts them], it gets deleted, you get blocked, you're done. That's my hard and fast rule, because the whole point of people coming to JPalm is for them to walk out feeling good about themselves.

@jpalmhairdressing Replying to @Mikayla Schlage A little JPalm pep talk/ PSA for your first friday of pride! #Omaha #omahahair #omahahaircut #queersalon #babybangs #curly #shortlayers #omahasalon #omahahairdresser #jpalm #queerowned #lesbianhairdresser #genderlesshair #genderlesshaircut #omahasmallbusiness #shaghaircut #shagomaha #queer #queerhair #omahaqueer #queerhairdresser #mullet #mulletomaha #queersalonomaha #queeromaha #queer #consultation #hairconsultation #queertiktok ♬ original sound - JPalm Hairdressing
Do you have clients who have discovered you online and then traveled to the salon from way beyond Omaha?

Alex: People will drive from small towns in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, especially queer folks. I don't know how much you know about Nebraska, but Omaha, and to a degree Lincoln, are these two kind of just—we call them blue dots. Omaha still is in Nebraska, so we still have all of the same challenges that most queer people living in America have, but it's a little bit to significantly better than small-town Nebraska. I grew up in small town Nebraska, in a town of 2,800 people. Moving to Omaha was a really big deal for me when I was young.

Jordan has had quite a few people come from rural Nebraska, where they might be the only queer person in their entire town. They just need to have a safe haven to release some of that masking that we all have to do, acting that we all have to do to pass, or be a certain way to get by.

Jordan: Yeah, people from larger cities might fly in and see me. But I think that it's really fantastic that these little gay babies in these small towns are seeing somebody and saying, "That's only four hours away. I can drive there, and I can get that haircut." That's the Lord's work, I'd say.

As a gay person, especially back in the day, it was always stressful for me to visit a salon because I was worried about being judged for asking for certain haircuts. I have had some bad experiences over the years, where I just did not feel welcome in a salon. Or I didn't feel at all comfortable asking for the haircut I wanted. Or the stylist didn't pay attention to what I wanted, and I left with baby bangs that I didn't ask for. It feels so good to watch how you treat and uplift your clients. I am lucky now to have a hairdresser who does the same for me.

Jordan: Receiving a haircut is a universal experience. Everybody at some point in their lives is going to get a haircut. Everybody at some point in their lives is probably going to get a bad haircut and have a bad experience. People have trauma from getting their hair cut a certain way that they weren't asking for, or being misgendered, or mistreated, or discriminated against because of the texture of their hair. So, I think that a lot of people are drawn to seeing a hairdresser be kind to their clients and just open to letting people be themselves. Come as you are. I'll give you any haircut you want.

You have worked with some brands in the haircare and fashion space. Is there a dream brand that you would like to collaborate with?

Alex: Any time you see Jordan, she's probably wearing at least one thing that's from Wildfang. If Jordan's birthday is coming up, or if I want to get Jordan something, it's going to be a Wildfang item. Jordan's been wearing Wildfang for over 10 years.

Jordan: It's just part of my Queer mythos! My very first blazer that I got where I really, really felt myself was from Wildfang. And it's been a love affair with that company ever since.

Alex: Our brand is also about the authenticity of who we are as people, as business owners, which is why Wildfang—and not Target—is a dream collaboration.

We all go to Target. But Target also is Target when it comes to Pride this year. [Target won't selling Pride merch in some of its stores because of the backlash it received from homophobes and transphobes last year.] So, it wouldn't feel authentic to align ourselves with those brands that aren't authentic to how we live our lives.

Jordan: You could be an influencer within the hairdressing world—there's a lot of hairdressers doing that already, though. I think that maybe our brand, our page, is for the consumer.

When we send out our media kit, it says in big, bold letters: "UNAPOLOGETICALLY QUEER." So, I think the dream is to create a few channels where young queer people can see successful queer people running a business and whatever brands align with that. I think that is where we want to move. I want to align myself and collaborate with other people who are creating interesting things that are helping people be themselves.

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