“I’m sorry…Can we help you?” That’s the confused response some women hear upon entering a barbershop. On the other hand, “Hi! Have a seat and we’ll be right with you!” is the welcoming greeting most male patrons receive.
When Kim Goulbourne, the founder of You & Sundry, couldn’t find a shop that suited her needs, she decided to create her own. You & Sundry is a pop-up barbershop in Brooklyn, NY, where everyone, regardless of gender identity or expression, has the same barbershop experience. The shop’s stylists and barbers are all from various LGBTQIA+ and ethnic backgrounds, and have experience working with clients from diverse backgrounds and identities.
Barbershops have long been male-dominated environments. Barbers and their patrons have come to expect a certain atmosphere where people tend to identify as cisgender straight males. As society progresses, short cuts are no longer exclusively for just men, and it’s time the barbering industry adapts. Creating a welcoming space for women and non-cisgendered individuals looking for barbering services means more happy customers—a win-win situation.
As a person of color who identifies as queer, and whose desired hair style may not match society’s traditional gender norms, Goulbourne had a difficult time finding a barber with the proper experience and sensitivity to her needs. You & Sundry became the solution to her problems, and since starting she’s heard similar stories of hardships from her clientele. Goulbourne says most of the complaints stem from a perspective of, “Well, you’ll probably look too gay with that haircut”—a stereotype she’s long been eager to change.
In the Shop
One of Goulbourne’s biggest goals at You & Sundry is to is provide a comfortable experience that ultimately results in a confident client. The “living room” where clients wait is furnished with comfortable seating and accented with a stylish vibe that creates a safe and homey environment—putting the client at ease from the minute they walk in. Walls are covered with non-cisgendered hair model portraits so that “people can look on our walls and say, ‘I can identify with that!’” Goulbourne says.
When a client sits down in a You & Sundry chair, they’re asked what they want to do with your hair, and then the stylist gives them what they want with a positive and enthusiastic approach, and without any unwarranted comments.
And because nothing complements a new haircut better than a new outfit, there’s an apparel area inside You & Sundry that caters to LGBTQIA+ following. Clients can buy shoes from Tomboy Toes, whose mission is to make sure women, trans men, nonbinary people and anybody else with smaller feet never again have to settle for a pair of shoes they don’t truly want. Also in the apparel area is Kirrin Finch, a “menswear-inspired” clothing line designed to fit a range of female bodies.
Goulbourne hopes more salons and barbershops will recognize this new wave of clientele. “Be cognizant of them, welcome them with open arms, genuinely listen to what they want, and respect their background and choices,” Goulbourne says. “Only good can come from that.”
Although the pop-up shop only lasts 3 more weeks, Goulbourne would love to create a permanent space and welcomes any support possible. Feel free to reach out through @youandsundry or youandsundry.com.