When Propel Studio was introduced to Jamaal and Christina Lane through our mutual clients, we had no idea where the conversation would lead.
Jamaal and Christina owned Champions Barber Shop. Like us, they were a small, locally owned, emerging business. They’d already built Champions into more than a barber shop. It was as much community center as anything.
Champions Barbershop is a place where you can get a great haircut, bring your family, hang out with friends. It’s a business that enriches the surrounding neighborhood and slows gentrification. Our conversation with the Lane’s revolved around a need they noticed in the community.
Jamaal grew up a few blocks away Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, where most of Portland's African American barbershops reside. “I wasn’t able to go to the barbershop much, which led me to be self taught” Jamaal indicated. His first attempts on his and his friends’ hair developed into a hobby that eventually led him to school. After opening Champions, Jamaal noticed many young barbers didn’t have the skills and training to cut at Champions or the other shops around the neighborhood.
What came of our conversation was Champions Barbering Institute.
Image courtesy of Champions Barbering Institute: https://www.instagram.com/cbi_life/
The Lane’s were the type of client we love; engaged and constructive. By partnering with them and Prosper Portland (formerly known as Portland Development Commission, PDC), our team was able to leverage a modest budget to transform a former Police Bureau Office into the first barbering school in Portland in almost 25 years.
The result is a testament to the power of an engaged team devoted to a common goal. It’s an example of the creativity that engaged client and design team can generate as they strategize priorities make design decisions to maximize reuse and minimize demolition in order to stay on time and on budget.
In the end, Portland got a much needed barbering school, Jamaal and Christina expanded their business venture, our community is strengthened and we gained new friends and found a new place to take care of our hair.
How can we help you? Get in touch! We love to support clients who champion their communities.