Our Story

We grew up in Detroit, and after professional and life adventures took us across the globe, we found our way home. Our collaborative, Detroit-based work with clients such as Viacom, General Motors, United Way, and the Get Schooled Foundation, brought to light the truth that although young people were moving to Detroit, and making money in Detroit, they were still spending a significant amount of those dollars outside of the community. An exploration into filling a need we experienced first-hand — cost-effective, high quality quick blow dry services — led to the development of a model with reinvestment in the city at its core.

Detroit Blows is committed to the belief that Detroit’s current story is one of a “comeback,” and that reclaiming our narrative and building sustainable businesses is the best strategy to strengthen it as we move forward. The name is undoubtedly attention-grabbing and is meant to be a testament not only to the salon’s core business of blowouts, but to the the city’s resilience; it is a reappropriation of the long history of blows the city has withstood.

Our mission at Blows is to provide blowout hair styling services at a fair and equitable price point. Our single service, dual process model, incorporates both traditional and roller-set blow dry practices, designed to service all ethnicities and hair types.

Every decision we made was truly one made with intention. The intention of building a profitable, social enterprise that would enable us to do well by doing good, which is why $1 of every blowout service and a percentage of retail sales will flow into our philanthropic arm, Detroit Grows, directly supporting Detroit women in the form of micro-grants to female entrepreneurs and investments in programs that help women enter or reenter the workforce.

Remember… when Detroit Blows, Detroit Grows.

The Team

Nia Batts

Co-Founder & CEO
Nia's Story

Nia is currently the Co-Founder & CEO of Detroit Blows, a non-toxic blow dry salon opening in Fall of 2017. She is also the Chair of its affiliated philanthropic arm, Detroit Grows, which makes microgrants to Detroit-based female entrepreneurs, and to programs helping women enter or reenter the workforce.

Previously she was the Senior Director of Social Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at Viacom, Inc. In her position, she worked with all of the Viacom brands on division priorities and cross-promotional, marketing and pro-social campaigns for key corporate, non-profit and talent partners including: General Motors, AT&T, Capital One, Taco Bell, The White House, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The United Way, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Mariska Hargitay, LeBron James, Kelly Clarkson, and Sophia Bush.

Nia earned a B.A. in Film Studies from Columbia University, an Executive Education Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from Harvard Business School, and a professional certificate in Film Producing from New York University.

She continues to produce content and manage partnerships at the intersection of entertainment and impact.

Katherine Cockrel

Co-Founder
Katy's Story

Katy Cockrel serves as a co-founder of Detroit Blows. Along with partner and co-founder, Nia Batts, Cockrel developed the concept for the city’s first-ever single service, dual process, socially conscious blowdry salon. She also helms integrated communications efforts for the business, taking the lead on PR and marketing efforts designed to garner awareness and drive traffic to the salon’s downtown Detroit storefront.

In addition to her role at Detroit Blows, she currently serves as a vice president at Finn Partners, a New York-headquartered agency with a Detroit-based office. In her role, Katy oversees communication strategy and day-to-day account management for clients including but not limited to Olympia Development of Michigan, Develop Detroit, City Year Detroit. Prior to joining Finn Partners, she was the Director of Strategic Communications at Ignition Media Group (IMG), a boutique integrated marketing agency in downtown Detroit.

She holds a dual B.A. in political science and public relations from Wayne State University where she was a member of the David Mackenzie Honors Society. In October 2015, the university named Katy its 2015 Recent Alumni award recipient.

Emily Smith

Head of Salon Operations
Emily's Story

Emily is Detroit Blows’ head of salon operations. She has amassed over a decade of salon experience, including significant experience managing a successful, metro Detroit salon and its 22 employees. Emily’s management background includes all aspects of the salon’s marketing, administration and human resource functions.

In addition to working in the salon environment, Emily has provided hair services on over 10 Michigan-based film and television productions including: Oz the Great and Powerful, the 5 Year Engagement, AMC’s Low Winter Sun and the Transformers franchise. Emily is committed to keeping her focus on enriching her life and those of her clients with new experiences and opportunities to grow. She works in partnership with Detroit Blows’ salon manager to oversee day-to-day operations of the footprint.

Barbara “Babs” Burchfield

Head of Creative & Retail
Babs' story

Babs serves as the head of creative and retail at Detroit Blows where she is responsible for the curation of the salon’s retail product lineup and helps drive the overall design aesthetic within the footprint.

She is also is the co-founder of Conscious Commerce with Olivia Wilde, as well as creative director at production company Riot.House, and producer of Global Citizen Festival. Babs is most passionate about creating purposeful products & impactful experiences and sprinkling it all with a little rock n’ roll. While she has planted roots in Venice and Brooklyn, she calls her suitcase her “home”.

Jessica Biggs

Salon Manager
Jessica's Story

Jessica Biggs serves as the Salon Manager. Though she is new to Detroit Blows, Biggs has over 17 years experience in the beauty industry beginning as an apprentice when she was just 15 years old. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from Saginaw Valley State University while simultaneously earning her cosmetology license. After graduation, she traveled across the country as an education business expert for Sexy Hair, styling models for hair shows and teaching classes locally.

From her experience, Biggs was able to open her first salon in Northern Michigan. Eventually, she fell in love with the Detroit area and made the move! Her passion for the beauty industry motivated her to open her second salon. Biggs brings her extensive experience to bear as a core member of the day-to-day leadership team at Detroit Blows. As an advocate for health and wellness, she is committed to the salon’s non-toxic mission and passionate about the city of Detroit.

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