Regina's first Indigenous hair salon opened its doors on Tuesday, offering cuts and colours with cultural sensitivity and respect.
In 2012, Jennifer Dubois was one of the prize-winners in CBC's Boom Box Indigenous business competition with her pitch to open a First Nations hair salon.
Five years later, Dubois has fulfilled her dream by opening the Miyosiwin Salon (pronounced may-yoh-sih-win) and spa business in Regina.
'Hair is very significant'
Although the salon is open to everyone, it is designed to be sensitive and respectful of First Nations styling needs.
"In most First Nation cultures, and it's different for everyone, hair is very significant," said Dubois.
"It represents strength, it represents connection to mother earth and to honour that person and how they want to treat their hair is very sacred."
In the salon, she said that means being knowledgeable and aware. Dubois said she usually asks new clients if they want to keep the hair she cuts off because it is traditional for some people to burn or bury it.
Prior to opening her business, she had been operating out of her own home.
Dubois said it was hard to explain the mixture of emotions that swept over her on her first day in business at the Broad Street location.
"I'm overwhelmed, I'm excited, I'm scared, I'm stressed at times. Just a mixture of emotions that I've been going through, and very humbled at the same time," she said.
The entrepreneur, who is originally from the George Gordon First Nation, said her community had been extremely supportive of the venture.
News of the salon's launch had also spread far and wide on social media, Dubois said.
She also plans to employ and train Indigenous stylists and estheticians.
"I remember being in that position, going to a salon and not really feeling as confident, needing that guidance, that mentorship," said the stylist of 13 years.
"So that's what I want to provide for First Nation stylists, estheticians, to come in and be trained."