Sarah Dak Turns Hair Braiding into an Art

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Sarah Dak (third from left) and her team of hair stylists specialize in giving customers creative braids that reflect her Sudanese culture.

On any given day, Glow Braids salon on Manchester’s Chestnut Street is buzzing with activity as the hair stylists give a myriad of customers the looks they want. But this isn’t just any typical hair salon.

Glow Braids gives women, men and children customized braiding styles that are inspired by the Sudan where owner Sarah Dak is from.

She has operated Glow Braids for four years, opening the space after she could no longer accommodate the demand she experienced at her Bedford home.

“It started as a hobby when I was doing it at home and then it got too busy in the house,” she says, explaining that she just had to expand. “It’s a major part of my identity as a Black woman. It was my passion and love for braiding that made me open the shop.”

Dak and her stylists give their customers a touch of genuine African culture that they can showcase in their communities with pride and joy.

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Sarah Dak

People love her styling, she says, because “it’s fashionable and trendy; it keeps their hair healthy, and also it highlights the individuality and uniqueness of every client.”

She adds that it takes a great deal of time and patience to master the art and give customers such fantastic, braided designs. As the Manchester area and New Hampshire have embraced greater diversity, Dak believes her salon is helping her customers express themselves.

Before Glow Braids opened its doors, Dak says many of her customers had to go out of state to get their hair styled this way. And while other salons may offer braiding, Glow Braids provides African soul and flair with everything they do.

“We braid hair for all ages, especially younger kids aged 5 and under — and we treat everyone like they are our family no matter who they are. That’s what separates us from other salons,” Dak says. “In our culture, we are very welcoming to everybody and we try to bring that same vibe to the shop, so it feels more like a hangout place with a bunch of friends being home than an actual salon.”

So how did an integral piece of Sudanese culture become a mainstay in downtown Manchester? It begins and ends with Dak’s journey from her homeland to New Hampshire.

“I am originally from South Sudan. I left because of war at age 6, and I grew up and spent the next 10 years between Egypt and Syria as a refugee,” explains Dak. “Then I resettled in the United States in 2003 in Tennessee, and then I moved to New Hampshire in 2008.”

Dak says she enjoys great support from her husband, Suku. The couple has two sons, Joey and Wiji, and a daughter, Marah.

“I would love to pass on my business knowledge to my daughter,” says Dak.

Now she feels like she is in the right place at the right time to contribute to Manchester’s diversity and the state as a whole.

“I really love the diversity of the city,” says Dak. “And a lot of our clients are happy that they don’t have to travel out of state to get their hair braided.

“We welcome everyone at Glow Hair Braiding.”

603diversity Issue7This article is featured in the spring-summer 2023 issue of 603 Diversity.

603 Diversity’s mission is to educate readers of all backgrounds about the exciting accomplishments and cultural contributions of the state’s diverse communities, as well as the challenges faced and support needed by those communities to continue to grow and thrive in the Granite State.

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