To mark the salon's five-year anniversary and fulfill a New Year's resolution to give back to her community, Middlebrook's stylists gave free haircuts to volunteers and staff at Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, the nonprofit children's advocacy and rape crisis center.
"We're somebody's daughter, we're somebody's mother," Middlebrook said of her all-female staff. "I admire what (the volunteers and staff) are doing so much. They help so many people."
As a stylist snipped her hair, Toye Hickman, who answers calls on Hope Haven's 24-hour hotline, said her work helping others is the final step in her own recovery.
Sexual abuse hits close to home for Hickman and her family. She is a victim, as are her mother and her sons.
"Helping others gave me some of my power back," Hickman said.
Hope Haven executive director Shauw Chin Capps said one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused nationwide. Locally, Hope Haven worked with 500 victims last year, providing intervention services, counseling and conducting forensic interviews as part of law enforcement investigations, Capps said.
Josie Wright, who cut Capps' hair into an angled bob, said it gave her "a good feeling" to treat Hope Haven's staff to new looks.
The salon's efforts won't stop there. Middlebrook and her staff will also host an anniversary celebration on March 11 with appetizers, drinks, raffles and gift bags, with $10 event ticket sales benefiting Hope Haven.
"You guys are awesome," Hickman said as she looked in the mirror at her new shorter hairdo.
"No, you guys are awesome," Middlebrook said.