While the opening of a new barber shop in Exeter might not seem like news that’s worthy of a second glance, The Roots Foundation are setting out to provide the city with something a little more than just an excellent haircut.
Stepping into the light, minimally-decorated space, you’re welcomed by beaming faces, pristine white walls and the offer of a fresh espresso. The natural, woody decor reflects the 100% green energy that powers the shop, as well as the completely vegan products they use and sell, which are all – for the vast majority – made from ingredients that come straight from nature. As coproprietor PJ proudly tells us, “people can be completely assured that everything in our shop is 100% vegan. We also use Oatly in our teas and coffees, even the hand wash in the bathroom is BUAV approved, so all bases covered!”
The brainchild of PJ (aka Cut the Punx) and fellow Exeter barber Luke, the project was born through a desire to create the kind of welcoming space that didn’t already exist in the area – somewhere that offers a creative and social environment as well as top notch hair styling for everyone. “We aim to be very inclusive – whether that’s your background, gender, what you’re into… We aimed to create a place that’s not overrun with testosterone or anything like that,” explains PJ.
“People can be completely assured that everything in our shop is 100% vegan”
A friendly welcome is a genuine one at The Roots Foundation, with books to check out and records of local bands to browse and purchase. As PJ says, “we welcome people to use the space to read, study – come and just enjoy hanging out. We’re always adding to the books and fanzines that we have out on display.”
And their plans don’t stop there, with the innovative barbers intending to use the newly-opened shop as a space to showcase the vibrant creative hub within Exeter, including events such as talks, workshops, live music, film screenings, even meditation and yoga classes. As PJ tells us, “Just anything that has to do with positivity, positive change or is community focused, we’re interested to hear from people. We’re also open to have it used by traders, artists or makers who need a space to sell or exhibit from. All the events we’d like to do also have a leaning towards sustainability, as that’s an important theme for us.”
Evidence of PJ and Luke’s focus on sustainable living is quite literally in the fabric of The Roots Foundation – although that might not be obvious at first. When setting up shop, the entrepreneurs sourced all the materials they needed for free. “Most of what you see in the shop was reclaimed from building sites, saved from the scrapheap or came from friends’ places of work.” PJ explains. “We are hugely grateful for all the help we had from friends and family. Luke’s brother, Jake, is an amazing carpenter and we couldn’t have done it without him: the mirrors, the coffee table, the bar, the bench at the back, even the stations – were all built by hand.”
Fitting perfectly within their new home in Exeter’s thriving indie quarter, PJ and Luke are bringing an exciting set of creative and unique ambitions with The Roots Foundation – fresh-faced and ready to grow.