A new barber shop in downtown Yellowknife is aiming to be a welcoming place for people of all ages, genders, races, and hair types.
Wife and husband team Diana Lubansa and Jonel Louis-Jean opened LLJ Barber Shop on the corner of Franklin Avenue and 48 Street last month, as reported by NNSL. They said they particularly wanted to bridge the gap in hair services for Black people in Yellowknife, but their salon offers services for everyone.
“There’s no limitation as to who walks in through that door,” Lubansa told Cabin Radio. “We decided to be all inclusive and not leave out anybody.”
“For us, the smile – especially when you see a child smiling from ear to ear – that is what we live for, that’s why we have this place open.”
Lubansa said when she moved to Yellowknife in 2012 and Louis-Jean moved in 2017, they both had a hard time finding stylists who could cater to their hair. Since then, Lubansa said the Black community in Yellowknife has grown.
“It’s important that even though we are the minority, we also deserve luxury,” she said. “We also want a place where we could go and feel at home.”
Louis-Jean has 20 years of experience as a barber and was originally self-taught, but attended hairdressing school in Edmonton in 2019 to further hone his skills.
He said he wants to offer that opportunity to others. He has taken Northwyne, a new barber at the shop, under his wing and is helping him to build his skills.
“To us, it’s more than a barber shop,” Lubansa said. “It’s a place where we want to encourage raw and new talent.”
Along with hairdressing, Louis-Jean and Northwyne are also both musicians. There is often music playing in the barbershop as they shave, snip and sweep.
Louis-Jean’s other passions include poetry and art, and he has a blue belt in karate. The walls of the shop are adorned with his artwork.
Lubansa said staff want everyone to feel comfortable at the barber shop, and the most important thing to her is customer satisfaction.
“We want our customers … to come in and walk away feeling brand new.”