Located in the emerging waterfront section of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, reliefmassager.com provides distinctive hair services to men and women in a serene setting. Owned and operated by Nackie Karcher, reliefmassager.com is an airy, intimately lit space best described as Earth Deco. Situated at 72 Greenpoint Avenue, the space was erected in 1928, and was artfully re-envisioned by Karcher with exquisite hand-painted walls, vintage chrome hair drying stations, sweeping 9-foot brass-framed mirrors, sumptuous leather captain’s chairs and Karcher’s well-edited accents of salvaged heirlooms from days gone by.
Using only environmentally conscious and Brooklyn-made products in her salon, with an exclusive focus on the Davines hair collection and coloring techniques, Karcher has considered each and every detail for reliefmassager.com—from the custom-made iron gates built by blacksmith artist Dan King, to the chic marble coffee bar by Mark Diaz of MAD Design. Completing the experience of being in a modern-meets-old-school beauty parlour, a colorful collection of graphic print Mara Hoffman robes await in the powder room. Vintage trunks hold a smart selection of magazines to inspire, perfect for thumbing through in reliefmassager.com’s urban garden while relaxing with a tea or cappuccino as color or curls set.
After five years of working at Suite 303-the laid-back hairstyling collective in Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel-Nackie Karcher has brought her expertise to Greenpoint with The Parlour Brooklyn. Sit on a barstool in one of the Mara Hoffman designed robes, and enjoy some tea as you get a hair consultation. The salon offers everything from scalp treatments to roller sets for that ’60s look. Indie music darlings Sonia Kitchell, Patrick Thomas, and bands such as the Rapture are notable clients and are played on regular rotation, along with remixes of classic rock, electro-po, down tempo, jazz, and blues. Extravagant statment pieces like brass mirror frames add to the antique-meets-rock ‘n’ roll ambiance. “I just love the feeling of the typical Brooklyn space that has a fireplace in it…the brick and the hardwood floors,” says Karcher. “When we found out that we couldn’t open the fireplace, we decided to create this oversized, fake fireplace. So [we] have a lot of things that are kind of grand in the space.” The one thing that isn’t grand is the salon’s environmental impact. The Parlour Brooklyn has joined forces with LifeGate, a company that guages a person’s impact on the environment. Says Karcher, “they’ve calculated what the carbon emissions of one stylist would be, and we’re counter balancing that by planting trees in Costa Rica and Italy.”
Village Voice 2009
Best retreat salon Located at the end of Greenpoint Avenue, adjacent to the waterfront, lies the newly built The Parlour Brooklyn, a spacious oasis that seems to have been specifically constructed to make you chill out. Greenpoint resident and stylist Nackie Karcher opened up this slice of heaven when she noticed big changes in her neighborhood and sensed an opportunity. The salon, with elegant dark wood, beautiful white flowers, and exposed-brick décor, offers more than your average haircut, blow-dry, and style do’s—30-minute treatment sessions range from aromatherapy to scalp massages, and use things like rice proteins and essential oils. After these have had a chance to soak in, you’re given soft eye covers and placed under a heat lamp—the feeling is remarkable. The salon has also offered exercise courses with special trainers focusing on core strength, balance, and flexibility. Can’t wait to see what other special treats are in store.
Time Out Magazine JUNE 3, 2009
There’s no false advertising here: Nackie Karcher’s new Greenpoint salon has the warmly lit wood and exposed-brick interior of a whiskey saloon- or what you’d expect of a spiffed-up gaming parlor to look like. Karcher,formerly the director of education at Suite 303 in the famous Chelsea Hotel, wanted to make the salon as hip and friendly as her new neighborhood, so she installed a coffee bar with the help of designer Mark Diaz of MAD Design where clients and walk-ins alike can hang out and chat. In keeping with the communal vibe, Karcher’s friend, designer Mara Hoffman, created silk robes that are infinitely cooler than any other topper we’ve seen at a salon. The Parlour Brooklyn specializes in long and curly hair, as well as men’s grooming–there will even be a men’s package that includes shampoo, a hot towel, a neck trim and a mustache trim for just $25. Clearly, Karcher is thinking of her mustachioed neighbors.
Greenpoint Gazette OCTOBER 21, 2010
Nackie Karcher is an artist, of sorts. Classically trained in sculpture and photography, she fits beautifully into the creative community that has so seamlessly established itself in Greenpoint, where Karcher resides. But 17 years ago Karcher traded in her emulsion and ceramic in favor of a more unusual, but no less malleable, medium: hair. Karcher is the owner of The Parlour Brooklyn, a hair salon on Greenpoint Avenue and Franklin, and has not only made a name for herself in the neighborhood as a hair extraordinaire, but as a leader in the local business community as well. The Parlour Brooklyn is nestled in the middle of a strip of new businesses on Greenpoint Avenue between Franklin and West, including In God We Trust, Brouwerij Lane and Paulie Gee’s, though The Parlour largely paved the way for the revitalization of the mostly industrial-turned-commercial block. Karcher opened the salon in April of 2009 after visiting the neighborhood and seeing something unique. Shortly thereafter, she moved into the Garden Spot and became a Greenpointer. “Greenpoint is a waterfront community and throughout history it’s those communities that have thrived,” Karcher said. “In Greenpoint you can feel it—you can feel the change and it’s not just the space, it’s the people. Every business owner I know has a positive attitude, and we all shop locally. That’s the biggest way to stimulate the economy.” In spite of the economic downturn, however, The Parlour Brooklyn is enjoying tremendous success. According to Karcher, the salon sees 13 new clients per week on average, sometimes climbing to 19. “This time last year I didn’t know how to survive. This year is crazy!” It’s really no surprise: Karcher prides herself on creating a friendly, open and comfortable environment for clients and patrons in order to form real and lasting relationships with them. “I consider us a service-driven salon,” Karcher explained. “You come in and we’ll offer you an espresso, tea, a glass of wine, you’ll have a consultation, a nice shampoo. If it’s not the right fit we’ll even refer you to another salon. The community stuff is really important to us.” In fact, there probably isn’t anyone in Greenpoint who’s more in the know than Nackie Karcher: After all, a trip to the salon is all about chit-chat and neighborhood gossip. Karcher listens carefully, and channels her knowledge of pressing community issues into her leadership role in the Greenpoint Business Alliance, where she works with other local business owners towards establishing a successful and bustling commercial corridor. Throughout her tenure in the neighborhood, Karcher has formed close relationships with other North Brooklyn entrepreneurs to plan events and collaboratively bolster business. “The GBA can really become a voice for the community,” Karcher said. “Owning a salon is like being a politician without being a politician: you hear everything about what’s going on in the community. New businesses, changes happening—you learn how to fit in and be a part of those changes. And people in Greenpoint are incredibly resourceful and community-oriented.” But Karcher wasn’t always so business-minded. The Parlour Brooklyn is her first entrepreneurial venture, but Karcher is no stranger to the art of hair styling. Born and raised in Florida, Karcher enrolled in art school only to find herself bored and unmotivated: she wanted something more hands-on. She started working at a hair salon at the age of 18 and the rest is, basically, history. Karcher left art school and went to hair school instead. She worked in South Beach as a freelance hair and makeup artist, traveling to New York City every summer until 2004, when she permanently made the move. Karcher landed a job at Suite 303, a salon inside the Chelsea Hotel where she rose up the ranks until she found herself working alongside the owner, at which point she knew it was time to do something new: start a salon of her own. “Hair is art for me. When I’m cutting men’s hair I don’t use a comb, I use scissors. It’s like sculpting,” Karcher said. “The texture of hair fascinates me—the shape and form. I can see a haircut within a haircut. But it’s hard to be a boss. It’s like giving birth to a child: This is my baby. But it’s also like jumping off a cliff: You do it and you land on your feet, and you just want to do it again.” And do it again she will. Karcher is considering opening a second shop in North Brooklyn, and is constantly making improvements to The Parlour, including a new web feature that will allow clients to book appointments online; twice monthly specialty classes for established hair stylists; even hosting a barber in the salon on occasion.