The new Naza Beauty specializes in protective styling for women of color.
Naza owner Natanya Montgomery
In bold, bright colors, the words “Coily, Kinky, Afro-Textured Beauty” are painted on the new Naza Salon's saffron-colored facade. For Natanya Montgomery, these words serve as a clarion call to Black and brown women everywhere who, like her,have struggled to find a place that focuses on their specifichair needs.
Montgomery went to work actively pitching her idea of a salon that would specialize in protective styling for Black and brown women—essentially a Drybar for women of color. She raised $1 million, which included an investment from Initialized Capital, co-founded by Reddit co-founder and husband to Serena Williams Alexis Ohanian and his partner Garry Tan. She found a vacant space once occupied by a laundromat in the Mission District, transformed it into an inviting, luxe salon and hired expert stylists who understand the unique hair needs of “coily, kinky, Afro-textured hair.”
Using her experience as an events and experience creator in Silicon Valley, Montgomery created an end-to-end beauty experience. Services include crochet braids; blowouts and silk press; cornrows; box braids and twist; and weave installs. And while dealing with the pandemic-related shutdown, which went into place soon after opening, she’s pivotedbeautifully, offering freeclasses, a shippable StyleBox and more.
Clients can receive a variety of braid, blowout and weave services.
“What would make people feel valued, cared for, respected when they come into a space?” asks Montgomery. “I thought about creating a place that makes you feel like I thoughtabout you specifically cominghere, about what would make you happy, and how you could best move through this experience from the second you learn about us to the moment you leave.”
Naza’s February launchcame on the heels of the success of Hair Love, ananimated film that centers on the relationship between an African American father, Stephen, his daughter, Zuri,and her hair. The film won an Oscar for best animated short film. In addition, Colorado,Washington and Minnesota had bills in play that would ban hair discrimination in the workplace, modeled after a law in California known as the CROWN Act.
Naza is a space of warmth and community.
“This is a place that’s meant to be shared and for people to come together and share the experience,” says Montgomery, sitting on a curved, velvet tangerine couch in the salon’s entry. Above her hangs a wispy arrangement of oatmeal- colored pampas grass. The walls along the salon are predominantly a dark, slate blue, interspersed with whimsical prints. Adorning them are framed retro posters celebrating African American womenand different hairstylesthroughout the years.
Montgomery is already contemplating her next move, with hopes to expand Naza nationwide and eventually launch a line of products catered to Black women.
Photography by: Brandon Tran