Finding your local BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ friendly businesses has never been easier
Personal services, ranging from haircuts and skincare to having one’s photograph taken, can sometimes be more of an undertaking if you are a person of colour. Few of us realize, unless we have been in that position ourselves, how much of the existing infrastructures around us are often geared towards skin tones, body types, and hairstyles that the society around us has long considered to be “the usual.” In addition, there often exists a whole different set of challenges for people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community to find businesses that meet their needs and welcome them.
In an effort to address some of these problems, a new directory service called Nylut was recently launched by a couple of friends from Regina. Nylut aims to provide better information on a selection of services for BIPOC people in Regina, with plans to extend their services to include the rest of the Saskatchewan in the near future, and Toronto by the end of this year. Nylut Directory Services provides listings on skin and hair care services that cater to members of the BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities. It features tattoo artists, makeup artists, and photography and videography solutions. The directory also includes a Positive Place Rating system for the 2SLGBTQ+ community to find and review businesses based on how welcoming and knowledgeable they are about the needs of individuals from these communities.
Nylut was born when co-founder Faith Olanipekun felt the struggle of finding an appropriate service for her own skincare needs towards the end of fall in 2020. While looking for laser treatment services for herself, Faith finally found someone she felt would be a good fit, only to be told that they were unable to work on darker skin tones. This was, of course, a frustrating experience. Shortly after, during a conversation with her friend kēr about the difficulty of finding hair services, the two friends decided that the time for a specialized business directory had arrived.
As the founders mention on their website, they both feel like they have been shaped by their backgrounds as women of colour in the prairies. The duo had many conversations about their experiences that made them feel excluded, often joking that one day they would offer some solution to these issues. Both founders are excited to now be working on exactly that: adding value to BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ lives by connecting them to appropriate services.
Faith and kēr opted to begin with services in their hometown, aiming to first meet the needs of their own communities. So far, uptake has been phenomenal. Faith and kēr mentioned it has been humbling, and they are very pleased with the current content and directory entries. Even though the project is at an early stage, both founders mentioned they are grateful for the opportunity to be able to start something like this.
When asked about the story behind the name Nylut, kēr mentioned that the name is a stylization of the word Nilote, which comes from the river Nile. This name was chosen by the two founders as their way of paying homage to both the river Nile and the people of the area, to whom the river represented fertility, life, and its many blessings.
When asked about the long-term goals they have for their venture, kēr mentioned that they hope to be able to expand Nylut listings all over Canada, and then to the USA. In addition to their website, Nylut can be found on Twitter with the handle @NylutCo.