THE DISCO GREENHOUSE
By: Krysta Kearney
“I want the Disco Greenhouse to give women the feeling that you’re powerful, more powerful than you even know, that you are loved, you are more beautiful than you think you are and to be your authentic self, to truly live and embody who you are. I think so many women, including myself, beat ourselves up constantly and compare ourselves. Once I started putting myself out there, I was able to accept myself how I am. Love yourself fully.”
Jamie Beutel is one bold woman. She is busy working hard to make people happy through her two loves in life, (hair and plants) rather than to conform into the frame society sets for us. Recently she has taken action on her dreams, making visions become reality. She is original, stands out from the crowd and promotes individuality. She emanates this to every person she crosses in hopes that they too can find what she has discovered from within. Realizing there is no time nor reason to waste energy on caring what other people think, she turned her mindset into positivity and productivity. Since the Covid-19 Pandemic she has independently created The Disco Greenhouse, an eclectic mix of a hair salon and plant parlor styled in 1970’s glam. This chic environment is a reflection of her own self as well as a haven for all to come, to alleviate themselves from the tribulations of the outside world.
“I want to make people feel like they can do whatever they want to do because if I can do it, then I know that anybody can. Sometimes amongst the chaos lies the biggest opportunity, you just have to see it.”
Having been a hair stylist for the past 16 years, when the barbershop closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, she was at a loss of what to do, how to make a living, how to survive. As a proud resident of Oakland, CA she began to ponder how she could give back to her local community through her own strengths and skills. Having always been a lover of plants and most obviously hair, she came up with an idea for a business and named it PotHead Plants. The name originated from a play on words, ‘Pot’ for plants and ‘Head’ for hair. By transforming her bedroom into a jungle oasis, she began a journey that led her to where she is today.
One day Beutel went out and purchased a greenhouse to set up shop in her bedroom, it was where she kept and maintained her inventory. Then she had the bright idea to put another greenhouse outside on her patio and sell plants out of it. In the beginning she was unable to do much with hair, (given the pandemic guidelines at the time) so she focused on plants with the idea that hair would eventually be involved. Quickly, she connected with people both in her community and online through her website and social media. Her outdoor patio area soon transformed into a plant lover's paradise and she began hosting nighttime markets where she created a variety of themes, and viewers would be transported into an unusual and inspiring space. She even created a winter wonderland! Then the biggest hit was a disco theme, and that’s where The Disco Greenhouse idea began.
“The whole premise of this was to provide people somewhere that they could escape and connect because we were missing that so much.”
She also started a business instagram page that ended up giving her more than she ever thought. It has given her strength and confidence in herself. Her life has had a lot of trauma, mainly from having a father who has never been present and a series of failed relationships. As a woman, she was always trying to be someone else, wanting to be a certain way, to look a different way, not accepting and loving her own given beauty. She was always on the ‘sidelines’ of social circles and was too afraid to show herself, be herself. Then, with the instagram account, and having the confidence to just be authentic, there was a switch, she sprouted! She began posting videos of her dancing and not caring what other people think, and to much of her surprise, people were loving it, loving her, who she really is.
“Starting that page was the best thing I ever did, it allowed me to be goofy and my true self and I realized when I started doing that and being true to who I am, people accepted it and my relationships were better with friends and people. I thought if I can’t show who I am then what's the point in anything.”
In April of 2021, she packed up and moved into a space! The place; Artthaus, a collective that is filled with a variety of businesses, mainly local artists and small entrepreneurs with a focus on online sales, in person consultations and scheduled appointments. The move was great on many levels, it forced her to learn the ropes of starting a business, having a brick and mortar and what worked and what didn’t. She found herself in a deep dive, learning about marketing, accounting, website design and social media, finding out many things the hard way by making mistakes and sometimes creating more work for herself than needed, but there is only one way to find out, right?! Solely on her own, she got PotHead Plants up and running and before no time was setting up appointments for both hair and plants, hustlin’ hard.
“It taught me a lot and it was a really good stepping stone to what my eye on the goal was. It’s been a lot of coffee, because I’m all over the place! As soon as you think something is working and it’s good….nope!”
The space came together beautifully. Her vision came to life, she literally created a space where people step back in time, to the 1970’s and you are not only at the Disco, but you are also surrounded by beautiful plants and, ofcourse, you can get your haircut! Shortly after a new business in Oakland opened, naming themselves PotHead Plants, so she quickly decided to rebrand to The Disco Greenhouse. Her website was already named The Disco Greenhouse and it fit her much more, it speaks her personal interests, embodies her. Without flinching, she changed it and has loved every moment since.
“People are attracted to it. When they walk in they step back in time. There’s cool art pieces and furniture and plants and you can get a haircut if you want and you kind of escape from what’s going on around us, constantly.”
When she opened, she had clients that she had been seeing for five years and they would come in and just unload their emotions, in shock themselves of all they were telling their hair stylist. Beutel states that her clients tell her they feel safe there, that the space is serene, all is shared, they cry, she cries, they cry together! It makes sense, it’s a proven fact that plants can change a room, make you feel at peace and create a calm atmosphere.
“It’s so beautiful to see people’s reactions because when you create something, it’s so scary, it’s so vulnerable because people either love it or they’re like, ‘I don’t get it, I don’t feel anything.’ Seeing people get emotional and bring their kids...or their friends to the space, it’s amazing! As we’ve been going through all the things we have been with the outside world, we’re in this zone where people are feeling judged all the time, no matter what, and I just want it to always be a place where they want to be.”
She has clients of all spectrums, ages, demographics, race, and gender. That’s the beauty of hair, everyone has it, and uses it as a form of self expression. For example, clients will come in who are exploring being non binary and want a specific haircut because it’s what is going to make them feel themselves. She says the fact that people can come in and express these things to her and feel comfortable means so much. She hopes to continue to provide that for people.
“This whole space and concept, my entire heart is out on display.”
A little bit of a background on Beutel, she is from a really small agricultural town in the middle of California, where growing up, the fun things to do where to go cow tipping and hang out at the local 7 Eleven. Her mother raised she and her brother on her own, her dad was absent, had nothing to do with his children and wasn’t a good man. That didn’t stop Beutel from having a great childhood though. Her mother made sure that they had what they needed and most importantly had fun.
Looking back, she has no idea how her mom managed to provide everything that she did for them. Her grandmother played a really big role, teaching Beutel how to do hair and make up from a young age. She would be at her house all the time, when her mom had to work. Talk about another #fearless female! Her mother has been waiting tables, working at Denny’s since she was 12 years old. Beutel’s grandfather bought a Denny’s back in the sixties and instead of going to high school, she just went to work and got her GED. Now at 56, she lives in San Francisco and still commutes to her hometown to work, which is a two hour trip.
“My mom was like the strongest woman ever, she’s all I knew. She’s the boss. She’s a breast cancer survivor, just a really great person who cares a lot about other people and still manages to do it all, but puts herself last.”
She loved her upbringing and the country was a good place to grow up but as soon as she turned 18, she didn’t skip a beat and she was out, became a self proclaimed gypsey, travelling around the world. For years she hopped around the globe, made way in new cultures, and experienced different environments. At 20 years old she became a hairstylist, which was suitable for her lifestyle, she could find a place to work everywhere she went.
“It’s cool because you can do it anywhere you move, kinda start over. I always loved the connection I could make with other people, other women, it’s gender inclusive, so it was my main focus for a long time.”
At first she moved to So-Cal, then Sicily, Italy for three years. After that, she returned to the states and spent years moving around all of Southern California. From there, she was in Denver for four years. When she got word of her mother being diagnosed with breast cancer, she moved to the Bay Area and found home. Five years later, she is still there and has no ambitions to leave anytime soon, especially now with Disco Greenhouse, she is planting some roots.
“I think I always need change. I need to be doing something and providing something. Now that I'm not up and rerooting every two years, I can't just sit here, I mean I could but I can’t.”
Recently, Beutel has made another huge leap in life. Although Artthaus has treated her well, she realized that for business to grow, that she needed a storefront, there was no foot traffic there. Her online sales were doing well but it was hard to get people to shop, you had to make an appointment, which didn’t allow for a proper and casual shopping experience. It seemed like people felt that they had to buy something which was the opposite that she wanted, it just created a different experience than intended.
So she started looking, the Bay Area is incredibly expensive, she thought, ‘How the hell am I going to do this?’ Eventually she found a space and it had a good vibe, it was in her means, close to where she lived and she got it! It’s been a long journey but has managed to make it work. She found someone to sublease her old place and just recently got the keys so she can start the move in process.
“There’s brick streets, string lights, lots of cool businesses, restaurants, bars, tattoo shops, it’s just cute. They have a farmers market every Friday, but there’s no plant stores over there, so i'm just really excited to bring this to life in a place called old Oakland because even though there is a modern spin it is seventies, disco, old school.”
In the new space she will tie everything together, all her travels and experiences. The Disco Greenhouse will encompass her complete vision. Her plans are to be open by November 1, 2021 which is in just a few short weeks! There is a lot to get done, but she’s got Moxxi, no doubt it will happen!
“When you step into this space I want it to be a lifestyle, I want people to be like, oh yeah, I feel good, I want it to be attractive, I want people to take photos…all that…to just remind yourself that you are a badass bitch and that you do not need a man to do it (not that they aren’t great) but you can do it on your own.”
Beutel wants to continue to help people on a daily basis discover themselves and love themselves through the healing and power of plants and hair. Now, having her own storefront, she hopes that the business continues to be a positive asset to the community. With her being so open and willing to adapt to change, we know that she will continue to be successful. She has stripped down all the walls and barriers she once built and is now allowing herself to be free. By trusting her intuition and putting power behind her ambitions, she will continue to be a fearless female! We can all learn from her, break out of our shells and show the world what we have to offer.
“When you think about the things that you’ve been through and you are still here, I wanted to change the pain into something great. Instead of letting it consume me forever, I decided if I can make it through all those things and I'm still here!? That I need to present that to everybody else and give people hope. That's why I love plants, they can withstand so much. I'm like god, you're so beautiful and you make the room beautiful and that's my hope for myself and for other people is to withstand all the things that try to bring us down and we're still in the room, we’re still here.”
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