For twenty years now, Cuts & Curls Male Hairstyling on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat in Amsterdam has been a favorite with men who attach great importance to a groomed appearance. Owner Richard Bolk founded the business in 1996. He runs Cuts & Curls by himself, and therefore only works by appointment. This gives him the opportunity to give each client the attention he deserves.
Richard was born in Sittard in an entrepreneurial family, so entrepreneurship is in his blood. In his youth, he could not have imagined that this would result in a hair salon. As a child, he dreamt of becoming a veterinarian, and in his teenage years, he wanted a career as a dancer. After he had to break off his dance education, he decided to become a hairdresser.
He graduated in September 1991, but continued his education by following various hairdressing trainings abroad. “Male Grooming is my big passion,” he says, and that is why he is still regularly follows trainings and master classes with manufacturers of hair products. Undoubtedly, Richard is not the first or only one who ended up in a profession he had not considered in his youth. He did not recognize himself in the stereotype of “the gay hairdresser,” he admitted a few years ago in an interview with Pieter Claeys.
Ending up with this label was a sure thing, as he had been aware of his sexual preference at a young age. During a visit to a gay bar in Maastricht he met Thijs. Richard moved to Amsterdam for him, even though he had his heart set on a career in the United States after work experience in Belgium and Italy. He worked in several salons in Amsterdam, but his ambition to have his own salon was persistent.
He looked for space and left quite a number of notes in empty buildings asking whether it was available for a hair salon. An acquaintance finally presented him with the opportunity. He got the starting capital from then boyfriend Thijs, and Richard is still extremely grateful for this.
Making his dream come true wasn’t simple. The interior of the “standard” salon had to be rebuilt in order for his future clientele to feel at home, he had to visit the bank and the Chamber of Commerce, and had to do the necessary promotion. The first years were tough, he told Pieter Claeys: “You may have a beautiful salon, but the business wasn’t successful from the beginning. Loans had to be repaid, investments needed to be made, and I needed to save money to fall back on. This is all part of starting a business, but it did take more than four years before things were profitable for me personally.”
Meanwhile, it is hard to think about the Amsterdam scene without thinking of Richard Bolk. He likes to create nicely styled cuts that customers can upkeep themselves. After twenty years of experience, Richard can cut every kind of hair, and does so with pleasure. Before he cuts the hair, it is washed with a conditioner and the client is given a head massage, all included in the price. The free hair at the nape of the neck service is added as an extra service. Whether someone is a regular at Cut & Curls or not, he can always drop by to have this hair removed free of charge. It will refresh the look, and the next cut can be postponed for just a little while.
Cuts & Curls is very committed to the gay community and is the sponsor of many initiatives in the Amsterdam scene. Richard: “I always loved sponsoring initiatives, parties and events. It is my philosophy as a gay entrepreneur to give something back to the community.”
Cuts & Curls is only by appointment. The standard opening hours are: Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 20:00, and on Saturday from 6:45 to 12:00. Appointments can be made via the website, where a diary is accessible, and shows if there is a slot at the desired time, and how much the treatment will cost.