Pride and beauty: new Halifax-area spa offers inclusive experience for all clients

A spa that has recently opened its doors in Lower Sackville, N.S., is aiming to bring beauty and relaxation to everyone.

Pride Beauty Lounge, a Queer-owned business, started accepting clients about three weeks ago. Owner, Tori Sullivan Yeomans, says her mission is to provide a safe and comfortable spa experience for all clients, especially those in the Queer, BIPOC and disabilities communities.

“Injustices are happening in the local beauty industry,” said Yeomans.

“I’ve always wanted to open my own location. It just made me want to focus on the Queer community and you know, fix the injustices.”

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Yeomans says, for example, transphobia is prevalent in the beauty industry and points to the fact that certain services are gendered.

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“So, things like Brazilians. If it’s a men’s Brazilian versus a woman’s Brazilian, it can out people for what type of genitalia they have,” she explained.

That’s why Pride Beauty Lounge offers waxing for everyone, which Yeomans says can be hard to find because some spas will say they’re not comfortable or trained.

“You can’t ask someone like, “What’s your sexuality” or “What’s your genital?” That’s wrong,” Yeomans said.

“You shouldn’t ask people what their genitalia is. That’s none of your business. And, you should be able to service someone no matter what their genitalia is.”

So far, Yeomans says her clients have been giving her very positive feedback and sharing stories about past traumatic experiences with beauty services. That includes misgendering  or assuming sexuality.

“Those are big things that we don’t do here,” said Yeomans.

The spa has an extensive inclusivity policy, which includes professional training for staff in areas of anti-racism, gender and sexuality, as well as mental and physical disabilities.

According to their website, the spa has a Black business consultant to ensure ethical practices, and sells beauty products made by local Black-owned and Indigenous-owned businesses.

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The spa is also accommodating as possible to different abilities, which includes opening after-hours for privacy.

“(It’s to) help individuals who may not be able to access these different services,” said Yeomans.