Capital Daily

How Your Haircut Could Provide a Free Cut to Someone in Need

Episode Summary

Community Salon is operating on a model that gives back to the community while providing affordable gender-neutral pricing. They are also giving out free haircuts with the help of customers. This Good News Friday, we learn more about how and why.

Episode Notes

Community Salon is operating on a model that gives back to the community while providing affordable gender-neutral pricing. They are also giving out free haircuts with the help of customers. This Good News Friday, we learn more about how and why.  

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Episode Transcription

Disclaimer: This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

Jackie: Hi, my name is Jackie Lamport. Today is Friday, August 20. Welcome to the Capital Daily Podcast. Today in the show, For today's Good News Friday episode, we learn about a local hair salon that provides gender neutral haircuts for an affordable price and operates a program where they give away free haircuts to those in need with no questions asked. 

Emily Fagan, this is getting very familiar on Fridays. Welcome to the show. 

Emily: Yeah, nice to be back. 

Jackie: Tell me about your subject this week, Jamie McCallum. 

Emily: Jamie owns Community Salon, which is a small salon right off of Cook Street and it just opened this May, which is pretty exciting. He's been cutting hair around Victoria for several years now in various lawns and I think he worked in Vancouver before that.

Jackie: And what was his goal in starting Community Salon? 

Emily: He wanted to make it super accessible and inclusive to the whole community. So he does gender neutral pricing for haircuts. Basically, he does the price based on how long it takes for him to do the haircut. It doesn't depend on man or woman, what style you want it. For example, a 45 minute haircut would be a certain price, a 20 minute haircut would be a vastly reduced price. One of the most unique things about Community Salon, which is why we chose to focus on them this week, is that they have this new hair bank program, which actually provides free haircuts for anyone who needs it. So if you were to get your haircut there for a price, you could instead of tipping, he doesn't accept tips, but you could donate towards someone else's haircut and he matches it. 

If you donate, for example, $20, he'll donate $20 worth his time. And that person, the next person, can get a $40 haircut. He told me that usually he has anywhere between like five to fifteen haircuts in the bank max at all times, which is pretty cool. It’s also no questions asked as well to reduce stigma. 

Jackie: What was the inspiration for that program?

Emily: So he's done free haircuts in the past in different salons. He says he doesn't turn down anyone who needs a haircut, who would come into his salon. But other salons have had programs where, for example, mothers could come in on Mother's Day to get a free cut. And he kind of wanted to extend this to the rest of the year. Obviously, when you work for other people, it's difficult to do that. So that's when he started his own salon, he put this at the centre of his mission. 

Jackie: I also understand he has another program where he offers classes to people to learn how to cut hair. 

Emily: Yeah, it's super cool. He has both beginner and intermediate programs, where people can learn the basics or kind of advance their skills in cutting hair.

Jackie: That's awesome, especially given that a lot of people have been cutting their hair at home during quarantines. So you'll have far less corrections to make if we ever go into and come out of another lockdown.

Emily: As someone who gave someone a quarantine haircut last year, it would have been very helpful to know that. 

Jackie: When did this program get started and how has it grown?

Emily: Yeah, so he started it when he launched the business in May and at first, he was operating from zero haircuts in the bank. So he was just kind of giving these haircuts away without anyone donating to it. Over the past couple months, it's grown really quickly. There's quite a few Facebook groups with people posting rave reviews of their own haircuts and advertising this hair bank, which is just drawing in more people. He's also got his little sandwich board advertising it and he has been also doing some very good word of mouth advertising as well with this and it's drawing people from across the community. 

Jackie: I gotta say, a couple days before you had told me that you were going to be working on the story. My partner walked by Community Salon and randomly saw it. We looked it up and we thought, “Oh, wow, this is a really cool place to support.” And I actually scheduled a haircut for next week. It was quite coincidental to me that you were covering this. I can see how it's grown through word of mouth because walking by and seeing it, you're like, “This is something I want to support and share with other people.” 

Emily: As you've probably seen walking past it's like a super welcoming place.

Jackie: You've also written in your article that he's now partnering with the Cool-Aid Society 

Emily: He is helping out Cool-Aid by giving free haircuts to anyone who needs it, who goes through their program and uses their services, which is very cool. He also told me he does haircuts for people very often who are working at local nonprofits or use our services, which is very exciting. 

Jackie: And he wants to take things a step further with an apprentice. Can you explain that? 

Emily: One of the exciting things he shared was kind of looking into the future. He wants to take on an apprentice who needs uplifting in our community and teach them the tricks of his trade and also hook them up with other people who might be able to give them a leg up like a dentist, someone perhaps who will be able to help them find housing, and other people in the community. He says maybe ten other folks could join on to this, and do some great make a big change that would really help people. 

Jackie: Does he have any concerns about the sustainability of the program or the salon, given that he gives so many things away for free? 

Emily: Yeah, that was one of my big questions to him because giving away a service for free, you'd think, especially with a new business might be risky. What he told me is, there's so many people who want to support this. It doesn't change much for him having to give away his time like this and he feels like it is a sustainable model for him, especially with the ways that he's able to help people, it's worth more to him than the tips for sure. He wants to see other salons take this once they see how successful communities and so on have been able to do it. He doesn't think it'll end with them for sure. 

Jackie: I want to expand that to other businesses, because I feel like especially given the pandemic, everybody wants to be able to support their community in every way they possibly can. If that involves you going out and getting a service, and then also simultaneously supporting your community, that feels like a model that number one. As I said, I'm going to support because I learned about it randomly, but I'm assuming a lot of other people would also want to support. 

Emily: It's a total win-win both for local businesses and for people who need these services but can't afford them. Especially because haircuts in Victoria for women, especially $60. And above that's crazy and affordable. But I think this is a really great program for sure. And it's been great to see the difference that it's made. I talked to some folks who got free haircuts recently through this community salon and they told me that it's really helped them. One of them, who's an artist who spoke to me for the article, Chantale, said that she's going to be job searching soon and  this is a real asset for helping her make a great first impression.

Jackie: Throwing it back to my personal experience, the amount that you feel better or more confident after a haircut is incredible and I think to be able to give that to people who really need it is awesome. 

Emily: Chantale told me it's very different from other free haircuts she's had in the past as well. She said that she's gotten coupons from different places for free haircuts through barbers but then the barber told her they don't do women's haircuts or maybe she would just get a trim or something. For a lot of people that's not equivalent to what a real haircut is so her experience at Community Salon really was a game changer. 

Jackie: That's incredible and I wish him the best because that's great work. Emily, thank you again for sharing this fantastic story. I continue to look forward to what you have every week because it makes me feel a lot more proud to live in Victoria. 

Emily:  Thanks, Jackie. It's great to be back on. 

Jackie: For Emily's full story, make sure to visit and if you want more stories like that in your inbox every single Friday, subscribe to the Good Newsletter, which you can do at If you want to help support Capital Daily and connect your business with our engaged and curious grid Victoria audience of over 50,000 email our partnerships team at 

Thanks again for joining us today and this week. If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a rating and review and also subscribe so that you don't miss any episodes going forward. We post new shows every Monday to Friday. My name is Jackie Lamport. This is the Capital Daily Podcast and we'll talk to you Monday.