Tailor Made Barber Studio opened on May 15 at 2397 DeMers Ave., Suite B, near the Columbia Road overpass. Owner Bendan LaFrance saw an opportunity to expand his Fargo-based business, and bring his contemporary, customer-focused style to Grand Forks. The shop is open later hours, to accommodate business related clients, and offers services ranging from hair design to a regular haircut.
“We have a modern approach to our haircuts,” said LaFrance. “We stay on the current styles, but we also do the classic stuff too.”
LaFrance has been a barber for 14 years, and opened Skill Cutz Barber Shop in Fargo when he finished barber school. He cut hair there for nine years before opening Tailor Made, so he could focus more on clients. LaFrance co-owns the business with his wife Leane, who doubles as the operations manager. Leane LaFrance is a stylist — business duties keep her from taking many appointments — and together, they created a barber shop with more of a salon-like feel.
Both locations of Tailor Made have wood floors and upscale barber chairs, which distinguish the business from a traditional barber shop. But the real “niche” of the shop revolves around appointments. Customers can book online, and are encouraged to only make appointments they can show up for. An appointment-focused business model means busy customers don’t need to wait in line, and can get the attention they need for their hairstyle. Late working hours — the shop is open till 8p.m. — means customers can come in after work. The shop is also open on weekends.
The husband-and-wife team brought their own backgrounds to create the “barber shop as salon” model, something not previously done in the region.
“Tailor Made was branded from the idea that with me being a stylist and Brendan being a barber, our training is very different but very complimentary, if you know how to meld the two,” Leane LaFrance said. “We didn’t see that being done anywhere.”
The Grand Forks location employs one full-time barber, and other staff, Brendan included, rotate from Fargo for appointments. It makes for some long drives, but when the weather is nice people usually don’t mind, Leane LaFrance said. They are considering renting an apartment for staff to use, when they either don’t want to drive back to Fargo, or the weather won’t permit it.
When he isn’t cutting hair Brendan LaFrance keeps up on the latest styles and trends. They are taking their staff to Miami in June to attend a barber and stylist expo, and in July to Texas, where he will take part in a hair design competition. LaFrance’s youngest son David, a barber college student, will also compete, and will one day join the family business.
“Out of four boys he’s the first one that’s going to be doing it,” Brendan LaFrance said.