ALEXANDRIA, VA–Local artist and hair stylist, Samantha Lackney, has just opened her very own salon. The Rare Bird, located at 301 Hooff’s Run Dr., is a cozy salon suite, with a few chairs, a shampoo sink, dainty indoor plants, and an overall artistic vibe.
For Samantha, this was an idea that she had been “kicking around” for years. “My mentors all said ‘I see you one day opening a salon and being a leader in that capacity and a mentor yourself in that way.’” Her mentors appeared correct, though Samantha’s salon journey started a long time ago, on her grandmother’s balcony.
“She had cancer,” says Samantha, “and one day she came home to find me playing with her wigs. We spent all afternoon on her balcony playing with hair, cutting up this wig, and she told my parents ‘Your daughter is going to be a hairdresser one day.’” And just like her mentors, Samantha’s grandmother was correct.
Samantha became a licensed cosmetologist in high school, as a way to avoid the final math credit. But for her, this path went beyond simply fulfilling an academic credit. She states, “The reason why I chose to make it my career, was there was a moment when I realized you don’t just cut hair. I am really helping someone choose their sense of self and pull on the identity that they want to see in themselves when they look in the mirror.”
With a love for cutting all types of hair and creating all types of styles, Samantha has perfected her individualized approached to cosmetology. She really loves creating styles that fit the individual, by looking at the person in front of her and creating a look that will highlight their distinct beauty.
With an artist’s eye, Samantha sees cuts that emphasize high cheekbones or color that complements bright eyes. “I am so excited to make you see what I see when I look at you, to give you confidence,” she says. Just as she strives to instill confidence within her clients, Samantha had to find the confidence within herself to open The Rare Bird.
She explains, “2021 was a glow-up year for a lot of my friends. One friend said ‘The longer you wait, the less likely it is to happen.’ The only thing that stops anyone from succeeding is their own fear of succeeding. In these moments you have to take a leap. You’re going to be caught, you just have to trust the process.”
Previously a stylist at Stylist At North, Samantha had another wonderful mentor in the owner, and a support system in the stylists. “They gave me a lot of courage to step into my own,” says Samantha. And so, with the support of her family and friends, and the blessing of her colleagues, Samantha took that leap and trusted her own process.
Now as the owner, founder, and sole stylist at The Rare Bird, Samantha hopes to bring a tight-nit scope on education to her workplace, teaching other hair dressers in the community, and become a hub for clients.
“One of the things I think of when I look for a hairdresser,” says Samantha, “is that I want to feel empowered and I want to feel I’m given the knowledge of what’s going on, what I need to do, and why. I want to share that with every person that comes through my door.”
Samantha is always welcoming new clients, and will begin to hire new stylists in the coming years.