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Black Hills Barbershop now offers intricate braiding, helping open the doors to more clients

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Rapid City has a number of hair salons but only one advertises a unique but in-demand styling option, intricate braids.

“Natural hair braiding is defined by a lot of different techniques,” said Emilee Weidmann, a natural hair braider at Black Hills Barbershop. “You can do cornrowing, you can do box braiding, it is basically taking your hair and intertwining it tightly and adding intricate styles into there so you are left with a very nice finished braid.”

Before joining the team at Black Hills Barbershop, Emilee worked out of her home.

“In 2017, South Dakota passed a law that made it legal for natural hair braiders to be able to work in salons,” continued Emilee. “Before, you had to go to cosmetology school and get a license for that. People kind of fought back on that, you go to school for something and you’re only being taught something for a week and then you’re expected to do it.”

Clients, both previous and new, are filling up Emilee’s datebook. With one saying she hasn’t had her hair intricately braided since middle school.

“I didn’t really have anyone honestly,” said Andraya Bledsoe, a client. “I would have my mom or a friend do my hair but it wasn’t something that I knew that was accessible around town or I had lost the connections with people that were able to do the fun, intricate designs that I was wanting.”

Barbershops are traditionally thought of as a space for men but the addition of Emilee and another female stylist is helping to expand who steps through the door.

“It invites more people,” continued Andraya. “You kind of think of a barbershop most of the time is a masculine environment but I think this opens up the doors for more family-friendly environment, women, children, can come here as well and enjoy this space.”

And when it comes to braiding, Emilee’s chair is open to every shape, size, and color of hair.

“Everybody can come to me. Female, male, everybody,” said Emilee. “I think everybody should feel included and like they’ve got somewhere to go that they can get the styles that they’re wanting done.”

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