The overwhelming response from last week's first part of RxBarber's interview amazed me. For over one week I have seen consistent numbers visiting without much decline. What does this prove? That people love seeing the best in others and that there is a desire to support someone in their success. That is why I love writing every week, not because I think what I have to say is important, but because I think it is important to hear a story whether it's a happy or sad one.
During my visit around San Francisco and San Diego I have sat down with random people from all ages, all walks of life and have listened to their stories. Some didn't even realize they had so much to tell because so often the focus is on the other person and they become lost in their desire to not come off selfish. The same applies to every single Lady Barber that I feature on here. I love to hear their stories and it seems that sometimes as Barbers we are expected to listen to those who sit in our chairs but when it comes time to discuss what's on our minds, we don't take advantage of it.
Listening and chatting with Angela for over an hour and a half was an amazing time for me because I learned so much in such a short time. This is why I decided to break her interview into two parts and I hope that you enjoy learning about her perspective of the Barbering industry as an owner of a barbershop as well.
HCHH: The first thing I thought to myself was 'Hair Studio, hmm is it still a barbershop?' Can you tell me how you came up with the name?
RxBarber: I didn’t want to limit my shop to barbering only and I also wanted to give my employees the opportunity to do what they started out as [cosmetologist] but most end up loving mens' cuts. That's why I use the hashtag #BarberBreed because I train many stylists in mens' hair and they end up specializing in it.
HCHH: Approximately, how many clients does your shop see in a given day? Are you usually booked in advance?
RxBarber: Currently, I have 11 barbers in one shop. I had opened a second location but the overhead was just too much and it didn't make sense from a financial or business perspective. We only book in advance, I always tell my barbers if they don't care about your schedule enough to book ahead they can grab a ticket and wait as a walk-in.
HCHH: With all of those barbers that must produce quite a bit of income. Do you think you're perceived as a threat in your area?
RxBarber: Oh yeah, definitely. I've had to move locations multiple times because of landlords who saw me making money and tried raising the rent halfway through my lease illegally. As well, I've had people vandalize my shop on multiple occasions including vandalizing my air conditioning unit and smashing my shop window. The window was around Christmas time in the evening and I still had clients in the shop, we were still open! One other time, someone drove their car right through the shop. Sometimes I don't think it's real.
HCHH: [Expletives I won't repeat] That's nuts! So usually I ask if or why clients reject you but now I'm inclined to ask why you think you've taken such a beating as a business.
RxBarber: I think it bothers people to see a woman doing so well in a male dominated industry. It doesn't bother me though, it makes me go harder. Even my own family views me as competition [since they own their barbershops] so why wouldn't other shops? I will say this though, I do not believe in stealing clients and some people have mentioned that. There is no such thing. If a client wants to stay, they will and I've always taught my barbers to build relationships with their clients. I strongly believe in networking and I think because of that I've never felt fearful of my business dying down, it only does when you stop promoting it.
HCHH: I asked you last week about clients rejecting you but now I'm interested in your employees and how clients treat them. What have you seen as a boss?
RxBarber: Like I mentioned earlier, if people don't respect my barbers' time to book in advance, they can walk-in. I think that's an indication of how tight I run my shop for both employees and clients. I don't allow any cut-throat business in the shop and I encourage the barbers to promote each other, to develop a united front. Sometimes I will have a new barber and a regular client walk in who declines to see them. By the time my new barber finishes a haircut, though, the regular happily sits in their chair.
HCHH: It's obvious how much you appreciate and promote teamwork. What kind of environment does that foster in your shop? Do you have any fun stories?
RxBarber: Everybody in the shop has jokes but we have a strong family bond there. My favorite is on birthdays we'll put a board next to the barber's station and will decorate it with thumbtacks, markers, whatever. Clients can give their barber a tip whether it's $1 or $20 or write nice birthday messages. One year I walked in on a Wednesday (my first day of the work week), it was my birthday and I already had $160 tacked on the board. It was really overwhelming.
HCHH: Wow, that's an amazing idea - I love it! Is there anything else you wanted to add or mention?
RxBarber: [On Her Chair His Hair] Yeah, I just wanted to say you’re growing with what you’re doing and I respect that so much. You could’ve acted bigger but you’re honest and saying it’s a process, you’re learning as you go. So many people want to portray an image claiming it’s perfect but it’s actually not. Everybody has a struggle everybody has things they’re going through. Everybody can help somebody.
It has been an absolute privilege sharing Angie's story as both a Lady Barber and a business woman. She is an amazing person with a fire burning in her belly to do more than what is normally expected of Barbers. Shaping an industry isn't easy but something tells me she is up for the job.
Thanks for your support these last few weeks, seeing numbers go above 1,000 amazes me! Please continue to stick with me as I share many other Lady Barbers' stories and discuss favorite products or big events coming up. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, I am always eager to hear them! Leave a comment below or shoot an e-mail over. Until next time!
Update: 9/4/14 - A Personal Message from Angela (RxBarber)
"Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story. I love that the content stayed true to actual events that occurred as well as my feelings and my point of view. But I feel the need to list a small disclaimer:
*At one point in my life I felt I didn't have the support from some friends as well as family. Some had even described my move to become a shop owner as "disloyal". I was hurt and questioned myself and my decision. Since then, those feelings have been resolved with my family by communication. This portion of the interview was to hone in on the fact that not everyone will understand your desire to evolve. That shouldn't discourage you. Even if someone will actually physically try to destroy what you are trying to create, keep pushing. What is Gods will, no one can change. What is meant for you is FOR YOU! Keep striving no matter the circumstance."