Lesley Bryant is a speaker, entrepreneur and founder of the Lady Clipper Barbershop in Washington D.C. Opening its doors in 2017, Lady Clipper is Washington D.C.’s premier, all-inclusive women-owned barbershop. A former graphic designer, Lesley decided to use her design skills to create her own path in the hair industry. In two years, since opening in the US Capitol, Lesley has catered to over 2k clients and continues to have an exceptional rapport within the community.
Interview by Nickeyia McCain
Where were you born?
I was born in Trinidad and raised in the Washington D.C. area.
Growing up, what did you want to be? Did you always see yourself as a barber, or was it something you later found interest in?
I really wanted to be a sculptor and create art with my hands. For the most part of my adult life, I always wore my hair in a fly-cut and style. One day I went to go get my hair cut, by one of my favorite barbers and he says, “Lesley you would make a great barber. I was a fan of the craft and I pursued a new career in barbering soon after.
At what point did you decide you wanted to open a female-owned barbershop with female barbers?
Well in 2017, I opened the Lady Clipper Barbershop and the rest is herstory. Lol, not quite. I knew that I wanted to give other women like me an opportunity to excel in their barbering career. When I first started, I didn’t see many women barbers in the market and working in a shop. I wanted to make sure we were inclusive at Lady Clipper.
I’m pretty sure you ran into some difficult times opening your barbershop. What advice would you give someone else, facing a difficult time opening their own business?
Save, save, save. Start small. Get a mentor and write out your ideas step by step before taking action.
Your background is in Real Estate and Graphic Design. How do you feel these skills contribute to your success as a barber?
I spent 12 years working in the Real Estate industry as a graphic designer. With any design it requires creativity, an eye for precision and technique. These skills along with my experience have contributed greatly to my success as a barber.
Did you have any fears stepping into a male-dominated field? If so, how did you overcome your fear?
No, not at all. It’s time for more women barbers to shine in this industry. We are just as talented and creative as other barbers in the industry.
As a female-owned barbershop, do you have an extensive list of male clients? If so, have you had any moments where you felt you had to prove yourself to your clients that you were just as good as your male counterparts?
Yes, we serve everyone who walks in for an appointment with us. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcome new and existing clients to the Lady Clipper Barber Shop. Our barbers are equally talented and our clients appreciate the work we do every time they are in the shop.
Do you see yourself expanding your business across the country?
One day in the future, I would love to open more Lady Clipper Barber Shops.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
Follow us @ladyclipper on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.