Black Barber Shops are home to some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the African American community. These are lessons all Black businesses can apply to achieve the same success as these millionaire barbers have.
If you have been a regular reader of United Black America, you know that this site focuses on Black economic empowerment. (See: Building an Ebay Empire, Dr. Claud Anderson and the Path to Black Economic Power, and Ghetto Capitalism.) Since the knowledge of economic empowerment isnt taught in the public school system, I have found that the next best way to learn directly from those that have that knowledge.
In my search for Black men and women who have that knowledge, I came across an unlikely group of winners in Black Barber Shops: the Millionaire Barbers.
But barbers dont make shit, right? Well, in the average Black Barber Shop that’s true. But these men have learned to diversify their hustle, scale up their successes, and learn from the failures of other Black businesses to build world class companies.
My personal economic strategy includes opening a number of businesses, including a Black Barber Shop. Since I really didnt know anything about the business behind barbering, I started my learning process with Against The Grain Magazine (check it out here). The photography was nothing short of amazing, probably the best I have seen in any magazine, the interviews and barber profiles are the best in the industry, and most important of all, the lessons taught in “Shop 101″ made this magazine damn near priceless to me!
“Shop 101”; Lessons for ALL Black Businesses
In order to achieve excellence in your profession, one must have the attributes that attest above the normal contingency of simply working. You must possess a passion reflecting your love to do it. This must happen in order to excel to the highest plateau possible.”-Mr. Fademup
Mr. Fademup, CEO and founder of Fademup Productions and one of Against The Grain’s contributing writers gives Black entrepreneurs some of his keys to success in his column, “Shop Talk 101″:
- Begin by maintaining your own appearance. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Remaining well groomed will build your confidence, which will illuminate how good you feel about yourself.
- Be professional, and show professionalism at all times
- You have to be willing to try new endeavors. Go outside of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet
- Set your goals high!
- Talk to as many professionals on the circuit as possible. Go to professional events to gain ideas about your own strategy
- Self promote! Tell people who you are. Network!
- Set up a website.
These are the philosophies that guide the millionaire barbers, and you can tell; they are the barbers who never have an empty chair, whose clients are willing to wait 2 hours for them, and who would rather “take whose next” over eating lunch. In case you aren’t lucky enough to live in a city with a millionaire Black Barber Shop, here are the three best examples I know of…
Alex Campbell, alexccampbell.com
Aside from being a Master Barber, Alex Campbell is also the consummate entrepreneur. He scaled his craft and his earnings up by producing a line of do-it-yourself barber videos, a website that offers coupons, advice, and information on the barber culture ( see: HOW TO PICK A BARBER) and products related to his profession.
Aside from having a productive website (which currently ranks #15 of ALL WEBSITES ONLINE for the keywords “hair cutting”), Alex dominates his YouTube niche and markets himself across several different media categories, both online and in the real world.
Lesson: Add value! Not only does Alex cut hair, he helps his clients and visitors transition into the barbering career field, up-sells his service with relevant product packages, and gives his clients strategies to make the chore of getting a haircut a great experience. He uses the power of the internet to reach more people than the corner barber ever could, and monetizes his activity at every turn.
Ron Hayes, owner of GoodPhellaz Barber Shop Incorporated in Atlanta, Ga
I first met Ron in 2004 (his then 5th year of business) near Atlanta, GA. Back then, he had two barbershops (one main and one experimental location in Sandy Springs, GA) with just a handfull of barbers. Today, his army of 83 barbers produce an estimated $1 MILLION in annual sales for his stores! Hes gotten honorable mention from a number of area media outlets, and his shop walls are covered with the pics of his celebrity clients. All this grew from one small shop! The only thing greater than this mans business sense is his humility! If you are ever in the area, stop in for a shape-up! Call them at (404) 557-7557 or visit them at 2870 Peachtree Rd Nw #806.
Lesson: Great enterprises dont grow without constant care, attention, and PERSISTENCE. When I met Ron, he was in the process of reopening one of his previously unsuccessful locations. Had he just given up on it, he wouldnt be grossing a Milli today!
Sipp The Surgeon
If ever there was an entrepreneur to learn from, its Sipp the Surgeon. Sipp has been featured in Against the Grain numerous times, for good reason. He is a world class barber, the creator of the Art of Hair War barbering convention, and creates custom barber chairs using material (croc and ostrich skins) that look like they belong on a pair of Mauri gators. These custom chairs sell for more than $10,000 a piece.
When asked about his celebrity barber aspirations, he states ‘Celebrity clients are the people that come and see you every week. Some people talk about how they want to be a celebrity barber, but they have to treat people they cut every day like celebrities’” Sipp is the originator of The Art of Hair War barber event, and is a pioneer of the custom barber chair industry.
Lesson: Diversify! Create new streams of income from within your industry. Sipp went from giving $15 haircuts to selling $10,000 barber chairs and hosting events that net him thousands more than that!
No matter what industry you are in, you can create a brand new niche. If you are a restaurant server, set up a website and become the local expert on dining out, or become a “dining consultant”. If you are a sales representative in a retail store, become a personal stylist and enlist some clients that you could meet with outside of the store for fashion consultations. Be creative, diversify, and be persistent!
Lessons and legends are all around you, if you just look for them. Network, and surround yourself with others that embody the millionaire mindset, and you too can realize the same results!
Whether you are serving others, or being serviced, keep an eye out. You could be in the presence of greatness!
FIND BLACK BARBER SHOPS NEAR YOU!