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Dreams become a ritual for barber

Elmaz Bourcet might be small in stature, but her personality and drive is mighty.
Elmaz Bourcet has opened Ritual Barbershop in downtown Vernon, where she offers traditional services like hot shaves and straight neck clean-ups. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

Elmaz Bourcet might be small in stature, but her personality and drive is mighty.

At the tender age of 24 Bourcet has completed hair school, worked as a barber for five years and has just opened her own business, Ritual Barbershop, in downtown Vernon.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” said Bourcet, as she sits in her fresh space, designed to fit her style.

“I love my job. I get to hang out with people all day and hear their stories, laugh and listen to music.”

Positive energy bubbles out of her pores as she speaks with an unwavering smile.

Ritual Barbershop is a modern, classic shop that offers traditional services like hot shaves and straight neck clean-ups and features the high end men’s accessory line Cursor and Thread.

“With my shop I decided to do a bit more of a modern feel and that comes within the environment, so that when people walk in they think, this is different, this is cool,” she said.

“I’m still getting those traditional services but in a modern environment.”

Bourcet is making her mark in a predominately male field.

She has a large client base and is looking for another barber to fill out her shop.

A teacher at Blanche MacDonald hair school recognized her strength was cutting short hair and steered her towards becoming a barber.

She specializes in her clippers and has created a barbershop that is inclusive and doesn’t limit her clientele to men only. Her only prerequisite is that her customers want a short haircut.

“I base it on the hair, not the person,” she said. “I love that I get to be artistic.”

Bourcet couldn’t be more thrilled to own a business in Vernon.

Adopted at the age of three from Romania she was raised in Vernon and loves her hometown.

She moved to Vancouver to start hair school the day after graduating at the age of 17.

“I really wanted to go back home. I missed it. I didn’t expect myself to be in Vancouver for three years,” she said.

After training under a barber in Vancouver for a year she was given the opportunity to join For Men Only Barbershop in Vernon, where she worked for four years.

The downtown business owners and the Downtown Vernon Association have been very supportive and encouraging since she opened her doors in June.

“Our community in Vernon is so awesome,” she said.

When asked if it was hard to transition into being a business owner and not just a barber, Bourcet said she always had the mindset that she would eventually own her own shop so she would always act like an owner.

“Being a boss here and having my own stuff is great, there is so much pride and joy to it.”

With the trend towards men investing more time into their personal grooming, barbershops like Ritual are gaining in popularity.

“A lot of younger guys are going to older school haircuts, like the 1920s where it’s shaved on the sides and super long on top,’ she said.

“They are also going back to a 1950s cut where it’s a little bit longer, a medium length. There is a lot of hard parts, those are quite cool, where we put a line in the side of their head. Skin fades are really in and beards are so in trend for guys right now.”

Bourcet offers beard sculpting and trimming and will even curl and wax a mustache.

She is very thankful for her parents’ steadfast support and says they didn’t think twice about helping her start her own business. They just asked how they could help.

“They have never doubted me,” she said.

“My mom was the one who said I should go to hair school.”