Jessie started Big Bro’s Barbershop to give Vancouver’s transgender community a resource centre and safe space they could count on.
At the intersection of business and community, Big Bro’s Barbershop presented a great opportunity for Yulu’s team to draw attention to a sanctuary for Vancouver’s underserved transgender community. Big Bro’s, owned by Jessie Anderson, doubles as home to Vancouver’s only permanent transgender resource centre.
One month into a crowdfunding campaign, Jessie had raised only 1/3 of the startup capital he needed. Because gender affirmation products, part of Big Bro’s initial offering, tend to be misconstrued as sexual in nature, he had difficulty applying for traditional sources of funding. At the time of a growing conversation around trans awareness and trans rights, we focused the campaign’s messaging on the inclusiveness of his vision for the space, the community need for a safe resources space and the craftsmanship of the services offered.
Our design team gave Jessie’s logo an overhaul, while keeping the iconic barber pole with the colours of the trans flag (baby pink and blue), creating a set of essential visual assets for print and web. We wanted him to focus on his work as a small business owner and not whether or not his logo was outdated, so we kept the look and feel of his brand clean and present, without being minimalist or trendy.
Big Bro’s PR campaign came to fruition at just the right time. One month before Pride and when Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner were making headlines. We pitched the upcoming launch of a much-needed community space that needed the public’s help to realize, and positioned Jessie as a long-time activist in the trans community who was uniquely suited to meet the needs of trans folks and family members of trans children to meet with someone qualified to help them work through challenges.
The Results & Impact
Jessie’s story was picked up by Vancity Buzz (now the Daily Hive) that has been shared 3,000 times to date. It was also the start of public support pouring in; within 48 hours of the piece going live, he had raised an additional $3,000. The story continued to garner the attention of CBC, CKNW and 24 Hours Vancouver, culminating in a cover story of Westender’s Pride issue, for which we pitched a remake of the 1993 Vanity Fair cover featuring Cindy Crawford and k.d. lang. The cover was a huge hit with readers and eventually helped the campaign reach its goal of $8,000. Jessie opened the doors to Big Bro’s Barbershop in September 2016, and has since moved into a larger space on Nanaimo and 1st, where members of the LGBTQ community visit from all across North America.