Over-the-Rhine’s newest wax bar Umber 87 combines self care with creativity. Owner Siobhan McNear, whose motto is “release what you want so that you may receive it,” starts each session by by playing the customer’s favorite music so they can relax, heal, and rejuvenate. “I think the fact that our mission is to serve first keeps people coming,” says McNear, who already has regulars after only a month and a half in business. “This is where you come and listen to music and stories; you have the ability to tell me about your day and your dreams—it’s really a space to manifest.”
Although Umber 87 hosted its official grand opening on July 2, the wax bar has been years in the making for McNear, and it reflects two of her biggest passions: enhancement beauty and music. For more than a decade, McNear, a Cincinnati native who considers herself a musician first, spent time touring with singer Jennifer Hudson and performing on entertainment mainstays such as the Ellen Show and the BET awards. During her time off the road, she graduated from beauty school and honed her wax skills until the moment finally came where she decided to “just go for it,” and the idea for Umber 87 was born.
For McNear, location was paramount and she searched for several months before deciding on her current Walnut Street storefront. “You’d have to travel up to Hyde Park before to find a place like this,” she says. “I didn’t see anything like it in Over-the-Rhine.”
Customers can choose from a list of face and body waxing services, ranging from an eyebrow wax to a Brazilian, but McNear assures that the bar takes care of anything “that grows hair.”
Inside, McNear carefully curated the wax bar’s decor to reflect an eclectic, welcoming environment. Work by local artists decorate the walls and music fills the rest of the space. Adding a personal touch, some of the bar’s decor comes from her home and most of the records she plays are from her personal vinyl collection. Even the name, Umber 87, is a reflection of McNear. Umber is a color that’s described as “a pigment of the earth,” which symbolizes the empowerment of people of color, and 87 represents McNear’s birth year.
McNear, who used her savings to fund her business, is currently Umber 87’s only employee. Her long-term goals include expanding to other cities, with each location curated to match the city’s music and culture. Expansion plans aside, McNear is grateful to have opened her first storefront in her hometown. “Cincinnati has always been my home, I’ve been all over the world and there’s no place like it,” she says. “It is a pleasure to be able to open my first business here and to be able to give back.”
Umber 87 Wax Bar, 1414 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine