You’re a barber, and you currently run your own barbershop, Dee Yonder. Was this something that you’ve always wanted to explore as a career?
Yes, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do! I used to be a regular hair stylist in Malaysia, where I’m originally from, but after moving to Singapore, I tried my hand at barbering, and realised that I really enjoy cutting men’s hair, and it’s what I’ve been doing for the past eight years.
I thought about opening my own barbershop for awhile, but hesitated due to the loss of many expat clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, with the encouragement of my close friends, I decided to go for it.
Tell us more about the meaning behind the name of your barbershop, Dee Yonder.
Way over yonder where you’ll find Dee, a female barber who dares to be different by creating her own brand, culture, and lifestyle in a male-dominated industry.
It’s actually been a real challenge starting up a brand and shop of my own, especially since my shop opened in 2021, in the midst of the pandemic. Frustratingly, there are still people who think that only men can cut men’s hair, so the past year has been a struggle with many ups and downs, but I did it; I survived, thanks to my supportive clients (laughs).
This feeling of accomplishment is really something else. I feel like a superwoman even though I only cut hair (laughs).
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had with a customer?
I have a regular customer who came to me one day and said, “Do whatever you think is good for me.” I was like, “Huh, really?”, and he said “Yeah, I trust you, so just go for it.”
The trust that he and many other customers have in me is really encouraging.
How long did it take you to become confident in your own skills, or to get to where you are now?
I’d say I’ve felt completely stable and assured in myself and my dream since I was 35. I’m 40 now, so it’s been a good five years since then.
When I’m confident, my customers can tell too. They know that they’re in good hands because I know what I’m doing.
Is there anything you’re working towards this year?
Well, I’m looking for new barbers to join me. It’s my dream to own a women-run barbershop, so if anyone’s interested, come down for an interview (laughs). I’ll train you and everything!