On a mission to serve

By Jill Clair Gentry / Baldwin People editor people@gulfcoastnewspapers.com
Posted 8/6/13

“I gave you a gift to use. Give out of your need.”

That's the message Kristie Barba says she heard from God at the lowest point in her life. She was divorced, caring for her toddler and infant and was cutting hair out of her home.

“When …

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On a mission to serve


“I gave you a gift to use. Give out of your need.”

That's the message Kristie Barba says she heard from God at the lowest point in her life. She was divorced, caring for her toddler and infant and was cutting hair out of her home.

“When people came over, they would say, 'What do we pay you?' and I said, 'Your head is in my kitchen sink; you pay what you want to pay,'” Kristie remembers. “And through that, somehow my needs were being met. Diapers and clothes and checks were being left on my doorstep.”

Kristie knew she had to pay that kindness forward, so she began volunteering to cut hair at local women's shelters, nursing homes and schools.

“Through that, I saw everyone else's challenges, and I was able to get through mine,” she says. “During that time, I knew I needed to keep doing this — cutting hair for other single moms and others in the area who couldn't afford full price. I started telling people, if you decide to tip, I'll donate that to charity.”

Mission 25

As Kristie began to get more and more clients, she realized she needed an actual salon. She opened a small place in 2008 (it has since moved to its current location) and named it Mission 25, inspired by the parable of the bags of gold (or talents) in Matthew 25.

Jesus tells the story to illustrate that each person is given a gift, and all God asks is that they use that gift for his glory and to help others. Two of the men use the gold given to them to go out and make more money, which they give back to their master. He replies, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

But one man takes his gold and buries it in the ground because he is afraid of taking a risk.

Kristie says this passage inspired her to open her salon and to risk failure to serve God and others through the gifts she was given.

A different way to pay

The salon operates on a sliding payment scale — women's haircuts are $25 to $40, and each client chooses what they want to pay. If they give a tip, it is donated to a local charity or cause, like the Jacob Mogan fund, sending a college student on a mission trip, raising money for an adoption or Relay for Life.

The charity changes monthly, and on average, the salon donates $800 to $1,500 each month.

“I know the world out there doesn't understand this because it's so backward from the mainstream business model, but when God put this in my heart, I knew the only way it would work is because he designed it,” Kristie says. “It's nothing I thought of. I had two small children and I was a single mom, and he took care of all my needs. I haven't changed anything since then, because that would be coming out of his design for this.”

A close-knit team

Mission 25 has been in its current location at Pelican Place at Craft Farms on Highway 59 in Gulf Shores for two years. There are now six stylists.

“I got my license 20 years ago, and I've worked in other salons,” says stylist Amy Jones. “I've worked in high-end salons and franchise salons, and believe me, I wouldn't work anywhere else. I am a Christian and a mom, and that comes first. Kristie understands that.”

Salons can be full of drama, but at Mission 25, Kristie says all six women are like sisters and care deeply for each other as well as their clients.

“We have never had an argument,” she says. “We stay covered in prayer here. When we have our prayer meetings, we make sure to air out the room and get anything out there that needs to be discussed. We walk in grace with each other.”

Amy says she also loves that all six stylists participate in community service together. They often volunteer their time at local ministries, cutting and styling hair for people in need.

“I love our mission here and how we serve people — it's not all about the money,” she says. “It's about making people feel good, and sometimes you have to work from the outside in to get there.”

Business profile

NAME: Mission 25

LOCATION: Pelican Place at Craft Farms in Gulf Shores, 3800 Highway 59, Suite 150

MISSION: Serve the community through affordable haircuts, color and other styling services; donate all tips to local charities

WEBSITE: GulfShoresHairSalon.com

PHONE: 251-968-3447