Dawn Lamb likes cutting hair the old fashioned way. Instead of asking for a clipper number like most hair cut franchises, she asks what the client has in mind and then caters a unique cut to match. Lamb calls them “tapered cuts,” a custom haircut that relies on the skill of the barber.
“Tapered haircuts are coming back. It is more of a barber technique that doesn’t use guards. Real barbers don’t cut with guards,” Lamb said. “It is custom to you, to fit your head and to fit your look.”
That is not to say that those who have already found their favorite style can’t get more traditional cuts at Lamb’s new business, the Ely Barber Shop. Popular fashions such as flattops, crew cuts, fades, buzz cuts and more are all within Lamb’s repertoire. There’s also another old barbershop staple available for Lamb’s customers, the hot shave.
“We use hot lather and hot towels. It brings back all those old barbershop smells that people remember,” Lamb said. “It’s really all part of trying to bring back that old barbershop experience.”
It’s a choice that is reflected in her background. Lamb taught at the Barber School in Salt Lake City for the past two years before moving to Ely. The school places an emphasis on traditional barbering techniques and bringing back the feeling of going to a classic barbershop from the 50’s and 60’s. It was at the school that she met her current apprentice and co-worker at the Ely Barbershop, Monica Corbin.
“I was looking for full-time work. Monica was from Ely and I was asking her what her plans were. She wanted to move back to Nevada but she had quite a process to go through,” Lamb said.
As it turns out, Nevada’s strict barbering requirements meant that Corbin still needed 500 hours of apprenticeship above the already 1,000 hours required by Utah. Seeing as there was no barbershop in Ely to get her hours, Corbin said she was looking to complete her requirements in Elko or Las Vegas. That is when Lamb got an idea.
“She was telling me that she had to have an apprenticeship at a barbershop and I thought, ‘Hey, wait a minute, I could do that!” Lamb said.
After a short visit to Ely, Lamb found a space on Clark Street that used to be a barbershop. She bought it, brought on Corbin as her other barber and on Sept. 18 opened the doors for business. Though she is working on getting established in the community, Lamb’s husband and her five children all remain in Salt Lake City, which results in the store’s seemingly odd choice to be closed on Monday’s and Tuesday’s.
“I am basically living two lives right now, as I drive back to Salt Lake every week to spend time with my family. That’s why we are closed the first two days of the week because I am in Salt Lake, and then I come back to Ely to run the barbershop the rest of the week,” Lamb said.
Not that her first batch of customers are complaining. Lamb said the initial response by those under the scissors has been very positive.
“The biggest thing that they are excited about is that they can just walk in without an appointment,” Lamb said. “They don’t have to call ahead. If they have extra time that day they can just drop by and get a nice haircut.”
The Ely Barbershop is located at 456 Clark St. For hours and information, visit their Facebook page titled Ely Barber Shop.