Alex Lewis, owner of Wanderer Barbering Co., cuts the hair of Everett client Anna Kincaid in the mobile hair studio Lewis started last summer. Lewis makes house calls and takes her barbering service to weddings and events. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Alex Lewis, owner of Wanderer Barbering Co., cuts the hair of Everett client Anna Kincaid in the mobile hair studio Lewis started last summer. Lewis makes house calls and takes her barbering service to weddings and events. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Driving with scissors: This barber shop is on wheels

Stylist Alex Lewis of Everett started Wanderer Barbering Co. in a van to bring cuts to clients.

EVERETT — She’s driving with scissors.

What’s up with that?

Wanderer Barbering Co. owner Alex Lewis does curbside cuts.

She takes her barber-mobile to driveways, weddings and events.

“I just started rolling in it last August,” Lewis said.

Mobile grooming services for pets have been around for years. In the pandemic, they gained popularity for grooming human hair. Barbers and stylists worldwide turned vans, RVs and buses into salons on wheels, with catchy names such as Vanity Van and Hair Rollers.

Being her own boss was a good fit for Lewis, 36, who is married to a firefighter and raising two children, 3 and 6. Most appointments are booked in advance through social media @wandererbarberingco and text.

Lewis cuts, trims, shampoos and styles. She doesn’t color, perm or do anything with chemicals.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, she parked her white 2021 Ram 2500 ProMaster cargo van in front of a north Everett home. Jacob and Anna Kincaid got coiffed about 20 steps from their front door.

Alex Lewis, owner of Wanderer Barbering Co., cuts the hair of Anna Kincaid outside Kincaid’s Everett home. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Alex Lewis, owner of Wanderer Barbering Co., cuts the hair of Anna Kincaid outside Kincaid’s Everett home. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

“I get a great haircut and I don’t have to go very far. It’s convenient,” Jacob Kincaid said.

Anna cut his hair during the quarantine. She saw Wanderer Barbering Co. on Instagram and lined up the first cut for Jacob several months ago. This time, she got in the chair, too.

The van has a chair with a sink. It looks more chic salon than tricked out car. The walls are white shiplap and the floors dark brown laminate. The accent theme is black and gold. Fresh air circulates through the open door and windows.

Two 25-gallon water tanks, a water heater and powering fixtures are behind the partition wall in back. Water drains into a tank, not in the street, so nothing is left behind other than manicured heads.

Neighbors see a white van. No red-white-and-blue barber pole to signal what’s going on inside.

“I respect the old school barber tradition, but I wanted to go a little outside that box,” Lewis said.

The logo is a black-and-gold compass designed by a Ballard tattoo artist.

“I wanted something that was northwest-y, so a compass made sense, and the whole wanderer thing,” she said.

Before COVID-19 changed everything, Lewis floated at a Seattle barber shop. She had a side business during the wedding season as Tied Knot Gentlemen’s Grooming, centered on neck trims for groomsmen on site in venues, not in a vehicle. She’d bring her tool case to the suite.

Stylist Alex Lewis washes Anna Kincaid’s hair before giving it a cut outside Kincaid’s home. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Stylist Alex Lewis washes Anna Kincaid’s hair before giving it a cut outside Kincaid’s home. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Last summer, she rebranded in a van.

She credits the Washington Small Business Development Center with mentoring and making it possible.

Her uncle, a Snohomish woodworker, crafted the van’s shiplap walls, partition and bench.

“I said, ‘Hey, could I trade you free haircuts for the rest of your life to help me?” she said.

Short cuts are $55 and long cuts are $75.

House calls are an extra $15 plus a mileage fee from the Everett headquarters. At festivals, such as May’s Fisherman’s Village Music Fest in Everett, the fees are waived.

A package deal for groomsmen starts at $575.

Cuts come with hot towels and a cold drink, a 16-ounce can of Liquid Death, water sourced from the Austrian Alps. The can looks like a beer can and matches her color scheme.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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