Jimmy Lapointe is the owner of Victoria’s only mobile barbershop, Barbers and Bastards. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Jimmy Lapointe is the owner of Victoria’s only mobile barbershop, Barbers and Bastards. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Victoria mobile barber brings fresh charisma to industry

Veteran barber Jimmy Lapointe has given haircuts out of his van for the past year

A quick rap on the back of Jimmy Lapointe’s food truck-style van lets him know his next client is in.

Lapointe swings open the back door, and with a smile barely hidden by his mask, welcomes a young man – “Hey brother!” – into his black leather and bronze barber’s chair. He swirls a barber’s cape around his client’s shoulders and turns him to face a large half-circle mirror before getting to work with his scissors.

Lapointe has been in the hair industry for 27 years – working out of various salons, traveling to different places and competing in numerous competitions, including on reality TV – but he’s only been working out of a van for the past year.

In the months before COVID-19 hit, Lapointe and his fiancee began to work on the idea of a mobile barbershop. Then, the pandemic took hold, hair salons were told to shut down, and Lapointe was laid off from his job in Nanaimo. The catalyst to launch his business had come.

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(Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

“It’s just been rock and roll,” Lapointe says.

With more people working from home and fewer people wanting to be in multi-person shops, Lapointe is filling an untapped niche in Greater Victoria. Clients give him a call, set up a time, and Lapointe rolls up to their house or business ready to give them a fresh do. The arrangement buys people time and affords Lapointe more freedom.

On Wednesday morning, Lapointe is parked outside KWENCH co-working space on Store Street where one of his regular clients, Lucas, works. The two have easy banter chatting about Lapointe’s latest stained glass creation and their shared interests in photography and cars.

“My mom always told me not to get into a white van,” Lucas jokes at one point.

(Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

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Lapointe’s van is all white with “Barbers & Bastards” scrawled across it in electrifying bubblegum pink and red letters. Officially, the business is called B & B Mobile Barbershop since “bastards” is a no-go under B.C. licensing, but Lapointe still brands himself under the unofficial title.

Chats like those with Lucas are the reason he loves his job. It’s about interacting with new people and making them feel good.

“I learned a long time ago I don’t do hair, I build confidence,” Lapointe says. For him, cutting hair is like sculpting, carving away at the material to reveal a piece of art underneath.

“I’m in my happiest place when I’m behind the chair,” he says with sincerity.

Finished with Lucas’ fade, Lapointe holds a mirror up to the back of his client’s head.

“Clean as always, Jimmy,” Lucas says. He heads out the door with a “See you next time!” as Lapointe gets ready to drive on to his next clients.

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Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

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Barbers and Bastards is Victoria’s only mobile barbershop. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Barbers and Bastards is Victoria’s only mobile barbershop. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)