Didier Mulumba started cutting his own hair during his sophomore year of high school.

“I did not like the way my mom cut my hair, so I cut it myself,” he said.

Mulumba was good at it, so his client base grew. His brother asked for a cut. So did his dad. Soon Mulumba’s friends at Portland High School asked for cuts as well.

Mulumba, 25, put the scissors down while studying psychology in college. But he noticed that many friends would drive from the Lewiston/Auburn area to Portland for a haircut. 

One of those men is Jermaine Motley of Lewiston. Motley would make the 40-minute drive every other week for a trim. Cory Flewelling of Lewiston made the trek to Portland as well. 

Mulumba opened Major Barber Shop on April 18. “I hope to save some people a lot of drive time,” said Mulumba, who was called Major while growing up in Portland.

Mulumba is Congolese. He moved to Maine when he was 12 years old. 

It is Mulumba’s skilled use of a straight razor that draws in customers. 

“I like how Didier does the straight razor,” Motley said.

The long sharp blades make hairlines crispier and last longer, Mulumba said. 

While many of Mulumba’s customers share his African-American culture, white clients are discovering his traditional barbershop on Chestnut Street as well. Mulumba said Saturdays are a popular day for his white customers.

He hopes to add a salon for female clients by the end of the summer. “We will see how it goes,” he said.

“It’s been amazing,” Mulumba said about the foot traffic coming in the door. “Better than expected.”

Mulumba’s clients are happy about not having to travel 30 miles south for a haircut.

“It’s about time,” Flewelling said. 

And Mulumba is happy he is back to being a barber. “I just love cutting hair,” he said.  

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