Cozy Friedman Creates Cool Haircuts For Kids

Picture it: You’re excited to take your little one for his first haircut. But as soon as he sinks into the big chair and spies the scissors, he starts to howl. Loudly. Enter Cozy Friedman, owner of Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, the upscale NYC hair salons for kids. At Cozy’s, kids sit in cool race cars, play video games, and get to see really cool toys—and they also get a fab haircut. We spoke with Cozy about her aha moment, balancing it all, and creating beautiful hair styles for kids everywhere.

Cozy, let’s talk about your background.

Originally I wanted to go into advertising. Everything I did was focused with that intent. Then, I did it for six months and it was the worst. I was so mismatched in a corporate environment. I left my job without having another one, which is not how I was brought up. I then worked in the garment industry. Within a year, I was running my own division and I turned it into a $30 million dollar business.

But I always knew that I wanted to have my own business. A friend of mine told me about taking her nephew to an adult salon for a haircut. What could have been a great experience turned out badly; he was really upset and he cried. Since there were no salons for kids, I knew there was a seed for a great business. I wasn’t a parent, so I researched it. I went to an old time barbershop where everyone brought their kids to get haircuts, and where I had gotten my own haircut years before. This place had guys smoking cigars, so it wasn’t a place for kids. I took a huge leap of faith—I  quit my job and I went to barber school.

And then Cozy’s Cuts for Kids was born.

We opened the first salon in 1994. On the first day, there was a line out the door. In addition to haircuts, there are lots of cute toys here because I want to make it enjoyable for the kids. They just love it in here.

It’s true; I haven’t heard one kid cry since I’ve been here. Everyone looks very happy, parents included!

After we opened the second salon in 1996, I decided to create a line of hair care products for kids. At that time, the only option was Paul Mitchell, which was meant for salons but not for kids. I worked with a lab to produce my own line. We went through a meticulous process to get the best products, and we would test them on the kids who came into the salon, to see what the parents and kids liked. In the beginning, I delivered the products in the back of my car. My mother would be in my basement packing boxes, my mother in law was behind the desk and my husband was also making deliveries. It was a real family business!

What are some of the top products from the line?

Boo, the lice shampoo and conditioner, is very popular, because they prevent lice. It’s completely natural and infused with tea tree oil, which is the natural repellent for lice. The conditioner is a spray leave-in, so you can spray it and leave it in before your kid goes to school. We made the packaging fun, so it wouldn’t be scary. I had the hardest time coming up with a name for it. Then my son said one night, “I’m going to scare the lice away. Boo!” So he actually named the product.

And you also have your fab book, Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair.

There’s no other book out there like it. There’s so much info in the book; everything from how do you read a shampoo bottle, to what type of hair does your child have, what length is good, etc. And in the back there are all these great styles.

I love it because there are pretty—and easy—styles for moms to do with their daughters’ hair before school.

Exactly. Girls can have more than one style than a ponytail or a simple braid.

And speaking of braids, you offer the coolest braiding classes.

The braiding classes are a lot of fun, and offered as a free service. For each class, we’ll do a theme. For Valentine’s Day, we did the heart braid. We’ve done five minute styles, which is good for busy moms, like you mentioned.

Now let’s talk about your own family.

I have two boys, who are 14 and 12 years old. It’s getting very interesting now! [laughs] When I opened the first salon, I had just gotten married. I honestly learned so much here about raising kids.

It was on-the-job training for motherhood.

It really was, and it’s been an amazing journey. I meet so many people who tell me what a difference Cozy’s has made in their life. When we were looking for a bigger apartment for our family, we visited many places, and all the homes had a Cozy’s First Haircut Diploma on their fridge. We offer that for kids who get their first haircut with us, along with a small little lock of hair. The fact that so many families had that diploma displayed touched me so much.

It’s like you have become the barber you remember from your own childhood.

It’s true. And what could be nicer than to be a part of so many families’ lives?

Now how do you balance it all?

That’s the age-old question. I’m very lucky because I have flexibility. I can run over to my son’s soccer game if I want to. But it’s definitely a give and take. I’ve quit trying to be perfect at everything. I’ll accept the dishes in the sink so I can spend more time with the kids. And above all, I don’t look at this as work. The salons, my kids, my family, it’s just all wonderful different parts of my life.


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