At The Hype Hair Studio in Hilltop Plaza, the business model is based on transparent and inclusive pricing.

Kristine Templeton says they mix their colors in the open instead of in a back room.(Michaela Helean)

The Hype Hair Studio has been open for eight years and runs on a team model.

“In most hair studios, hair stylists are pretty much their own business even though they run under a company name. They are independent contractors in a way,” owner Kristine Templeton said.

Templeton, who has 35 years of experience with the hair industry, and her oldest child Bek Sanders thought long and hard about their goals with the hair studio business model.

They charge customers an hourly rate for hair and do not require a tip.

“We are non-gratuity because we don’t want to make to customer feel awkward at the end,” Templeton said.

Templeton specified that gratuity should not be needed because the value of the service is a part of the price at their salon.

While the team strives for perfection, employees have the opportunity to get more experience in house.

Templeton also said if a team member needs help with someone’s hair, she and Sanders are available to help.

The studio presents itself as a genderless salon.

“That is something that we are passionate about because my child is non-binary,” Templeton said.

Kristine Templeton conditions employees’ recently colored hair.(Michaela Helean)

According to her, the team specializes in lengths and color/no-color rather than male and female.

“First we want it to be a welcoming place for anyone who’s gender non-conforming, and second it removes the idea that there’s a difference between a man’s cut and a woman’s cut in the first place,” Sanders said.

Sanders says the industry has started to shift in that direction anyway and it is nice to be one of the salons ahead of the curve.

“I think it’s getting easier to deal with different identities at the salon. If I knew what I know now when I first started, I would have handled some of the situations that arose in the salon environment more gracefully,” Templeton said.

They both say that the backlash for being a genderless salon hasn’t really given them any trouble.

“When we became more inclusive, it just became easier and more transparent for anyone scheduling an appointment,” Sanders said.

Sanders and Templeton hope to keep the momentum going with the business in the future.

They pride themselves on serving the community and creating an expressive work environment.

“I want everyone in Rio Rancho to know that the Hype is here,” Sanders said.

The Salon is celebrating it’s eight year anniversary at 5 p.m. Feb. 7 with a ribbon cutting and party with the Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce.