KITCHENER -- Two local entrepreneurs have been helping connect Black women with hair care services in Waterloo Region through an online portal.

The husband and wife team of Elizabeth Azuya and Manny Ojigbo started Fabbulists in 2019 as a way of connecting clients and stylists in the Black community.

“There’s a lot of cultural history and value in how we do our hair,” said Azuya. “You see how we represent ourselves in our culture.”

The portal allows people of colour to be put in touch with local stylists who can tie in history at the appointment.

“You select Kitchener, as an example, there’s an option of the stylists that operate in Kitchener, so you can even filter down to,” said Ojigbo.  “Let’s say you want to do braids, you just type in braids in the filter section and it pulls up stylists that have done braids.”

The site also lets users communicate directly with the stylists, see reviews, book and pay ahead of time, and ensures every client and stylist is equipped with proper PPE.

Both Ojigbo and Azuya say trust is a big component when it comes to finding the right stylist who can cater to the needs of Black hair and specifically Black women’s hair.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been turned back at the door because they can’t do braids or they don’t have anyone in the salon that can handle my hair,” said Azuya. “So we thought why don’t we create a place where they can come on, showcase their skills, their talents, their services, and connect with Black women in the region.”

Kitchener resident Preye Davis says she is very satisfied with the service.

“It’s amazing, that’s all I can say,” she said. “I need protective hair styles done almost every other month, so having someone at arm’s reach, it’s amazing for me. It’s really convenient.”

Ojigbo and Azuya hope to partner with other Black businesses to cater to even more of the diverse needs of the Black community.