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Benoît Perrin, a 23-year-old barber, has opened a new hair and beard salon for men and children in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface neighbourhood. Since October 2022, Chez Benoît has been offering its customers a human-sized experience, just like its owner, who loves Manitoba’s Francophonie.
For more than seven years now, Benoît Perrin, a young 23-year-old Franco-Manitobain, has been using scissors and clippers to refresh the hair and beards of his customers. While studying in the St. Boniface neighbourhood, the young man had the idea of becoming a barber when he went to… get a haircut!
“I was in a salon and I really liked the conviviality around me. There were a lot of people that day and I thought: Well, this is a business that works pretty well (laughs). “
Benoît Perrin then began to practice in his house, on friends. ”For my very first haircuts, I watched a lot of videos on YouTube and apparently I wasn’t doing too badly because people came back to my house!”
After high school, the young man learned the secrets of the trade at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT). “I completed my post-secondary cycle where I learned the different hairdressing techniques.”
After working as an employee in a hair salon in St. Boniface, the young man decided in 2022 to create his own business. “I always wanted to work for myself, so it was a no-brainer for me,” he says.
Looking at the ads for available locations, Benoît Perrin notices an offer close to his former salon. “I immediately seized the opportunity, and in September 2022, I received the keys. I only had a few days to do the renovations! Fortunately, I already had my ideas in mind. I redid the lights, paintings, then I installed new furniture to create an atmosphere that resembled me,” he describes.
On October 1, 2022, weeks after receiving the keys, the young barber opened his new hair and beard salon for men and children at 573 Des Meurons Street. The name: Chez Benoît. Another obvious choice for this lover of the French language.
“I wanted my salon to reflect the francophone culture of the St. Boniface neighbourhood, a culture that I care deeply about. I wasn’t sure what to call my salon, so I chose a simple, French name that was representative of the man I am and what my hair salon would be.”
Indeed, Benoît Perrin has always wanted to work in his childhood neighbourhood: “I lived in St. Boniface for a long time with my parents. I studied at Collège Louis-Riel and made many friends there. There is always something to do in the St. Boniface neighbourhood. It is a friendly place on a human scale. When I opened the salon, I wanted to create a place that was just as friendly and unifying,” he explains.
Since his installation on Des Meurons Street, Benoît Perrin also rents two of his chairs: a practice that allows other barbers and hairdressers to welcome their own customers in a suitable place, paying their chair to the owner of the salon.
“My goal has always been to share my salon. I am proud to develop it by trying to create a real community space. For example, if a client arrives and asks for a cut that I haven’t mastered, I redirect him to one of my two co-workers. For me, it’s the best way to work. “
During the first weeks since opening, Benoît Perrin remembers the positive comments of his new customers. “People have congratulated me for the lights in the salon and for creating this great space. The francophone community has welcomed me very well.”
In addition to Francophones, the young barber also discovered a whole Ukrainian clientele who had come to settle in the neighborhood since the beginning of the War in Ukraine. “It’s a real pleasure to receive them in my salon.”
The future? Benoît Perrin prefers not to think about it too much, even if he would like to rent two additional chairs by the end of the year. “I’m more of a person who likes to live day to day. But it’s true that given the success of the salon, I already dream of expanding the space and increasing my communication strategy. I am thinking of sponsoring the next Festival du Voyageur to gain visibility, by putting an ad for example.”
The young barber for men and children would like to thank the CDEM for its help in establishing visibility for Chez Benoît in the Francophone community.
Chez Benoît is open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information, rates and reservations at https://benoit-perrin.square.site/ or (204) 962-1068.