‘In February, I became a father, and I cannot wait to show my son that there are many paths in life you can take to be successful.’
“I always struggled in school. I had trouble focusing and was always acting out, getting in trouble. In third grade, I was diagnosed with ADHD, but the medicine had bad side effects, so my mom let me stop taking it. By senior year in high school, I was in danger of not graduating, with the only option of earning BOCES credit. Now I’m one of five kids, and my mom had always cut our hair. One day, I decided to try cutting my younger’s brother hair. It wasn’t the greatest haircut, but with that clipper buzzing in my hand, I could see myself pursuing barbering, and my mother noticed that BOCES had a barbering program.
“What started as some extra credit to graduate became a craft I fell in love with. My teacher, Mr. B., taught me the business side, and that you don’t need college to become successful. The day I got my high school diploma, I handed it to my mother, and by the following Monday I was cutting hair professionally. I was only 18. My friends were away at college; I was working Monday through Saturday at a Massapequa barbershop. Soon, I began to envision something bigger and better: I wanted to start my own brand of barbering. I went out on a limb and decided to open my own shop with money I had saved up over the years.
Find happiness in what you do, and the money will follow.
“My dad and I are both handy, so we found an empty storefront in Massapequa, gutted it and built a new three-chair barbershop from the ground up. At 21, I was the owner of my own barbershop. Then the pandemic lockdown hit. We shut down for a few months, reopening that June. The business started to take off after I cut a few rappers and influencers and posted their photos on Instagram. We took over an adjacent space and expanded to eight chairs.
“Nowadays, my shop is a staple of the community. We stay on top of the hairstyles everybody wants. Right now, skin fades are in. We sell hoodies and other apparel and our own hair products, do hot shaves, facials, eyebrows. Every one of our barbers is a recent graduate of the same barber school I went to. In February, I became a father, and I cannot wait to show my son that there are many paths in life you can take to be successful. Find happiness in what you do, and the money will follow.”
Interviewed by Jim Merritt