Sheen Magazine had the opportunity to get to know Master Barber of The Ultimate Barber Barbershop, John Hall and when we say we were left in complete awe, we mean it literally. The barber opened up to us about his childhood and his passion for his craft. Join in as we got to know the barber who has the magic touch.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get into the barber world?
To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t ask to be in the barber world. It just took hold and kind of forced me in. I remember being about 12 years old, and my best friend had school pictures to take the very next day. His mother was a single parent. His mother gave him just enough money to get his haircut at the barbershop. He was given specific instructions to go by the barbershop after school to get his haircut and then go home. Needless to say, he stopped off somewhere he wasn’t told to go and ended up spending all of his haircut money. He ended up at my parent’s house and asked me to give him a haircut for school pictures the next and also so he wouldn’t get into trouble with his mother.
He knew I had some clippers because my mother was a licensed cosmetologist. However, I had never cut anyone’s head before that day. Anyway, I gave him a haircut to the best of my ability. He loved it, I hated it. He told some friends and that was the very beginning of my career as the neighbor barber. The word had traveled fast that I cut hair and pretty soon, I had the neighborhood on lock. Barbers were upset with me because I was taking their young clientele. I didn’t understand it at the time. I didn’t understand why the younger guys gravitated toward me and I also didn’t understand why the barbers were upset with me. Now that I’m older and wiser, I completely understand it all.
Did you always know that this would be the path that you take in life?
I did not think this would be the path that I would take in life. Back then, I saw barbers as someone that stood on their feet for 40+ years and the only thing they ever did in life was stand behind a chair and cut hair. I’m referencing the late 70s and 80s. Most barbers during that time where I grew up were older men. However, they were established. They all owned barbershops. They all had homes and were providers for their families.
At that time, being that young, I didn’t understand the value of the barbershop and the quality of life it provided to those in the industry.
However, there was one barber in my area that I truly admired. My parents had me in a private grade school and his son went to school with me. This barber owned his own barbershop, had a huge home, one of his sons attended the same private I attended, and he owned a Rolls Royce. It was the only Rolls Royce I had ever seen with my own two eyes and a barber owned it. I said to myself, “If I ever become a barber, I want to be just like him!”
As I got older, I slowly started to realize, this may be what I end up doing in life. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset. I’ve tried various business adventures but I’ve always been led back to the barbering. Even when I went away to college to pursue my degree in Finance, I ended up being the campus barber to many just to make ends meet.
Then one day it finally hit me. I told myself to stop running from it, and just embrace it. I decided to embrace it and focus on it 100 percent. No more distractions! That was the best decision I made in my life.
Tell us about The Ultimate Barber Barbershop and all it has to offer.
The Ultimate Barber is a new school barbershop with an old school feel. A lot of these barbershops today want to give that lounge feel, which is cool. There’s a specific clientele that may be looking for that.
I’ve been around this industry for a long time now, and the typical client wants a traditional barbershop setting to get their haircut. The Ultimate Barber provides just that, however, we offer all the amenities that those living in 2018 desire and require.
We have a receptionist that caters to our clients. We have a software system that operates our entire business, from keeping track of appointments, checking clients in and out, sending out and receiving appointment confirmations, and handles all of our analytics. We offer complimentary Wi-Fi services to our clients. We have a cellphone charging station available to our clients for those needing a charge while visiting us. Our equipment is state of the art.
We also have our very own app that’s available on all the major app stores for clients to download for free. Clients are able to schedule appointments via the app, get notifications, check their scheduled upcoming appointments and view their appointment history. They can also win prizes, refer friends, and upload their own photos of their haircuts.
The coolest feature that I like, and this is more so for the barbers, we have a feature that notifies our barbers on their smartphone or smart device that their client has arrived. One just doesn’t know how valuable this feature is to the barbershop. The tools and systems we have in place not just for our clients but for our employees are second to none. Not too many other barbershops can compare.
Do you mind telling us about the products offered?
We have our very own product line that we created specifically for the Ultimate Barber. Our product line is called Vegso. Vegso is a Hungarian word that means “Ultimate.”
Our Vegso line consists of a shampoo, a conditioner, a beard oil, and a
few styling products. We will soon be adding a leave-in conditioner and finishing spray.
Vegso is an all natural product that does not contain any alcohol, sulfates, nor parabens.
Do you believe there is anything people underestimate about barbers and their craft?
Yes, I do! I believe it more so now, today. It’s not to any fault of the public. The barbers of today have lowered the standard and this has been quite frustrating to me.
There was a point in history, definitely in the 1800s through the mid-1900s where the barber was the most affluent individual within the community, especially the African American community. The status-quo changed around the 1970s once IT jobs developed.
Barbers are highly artistic. Barbers are also highly informed. The reason why, they see and service clients from all walks of life on a daily basis, and receive valuable information and an education from clients that sit in their chair.
Back in the 1800s, slaves were the barbers to very affluent men and many of the slaves were able to buy their freedom from the knowledge they gathered servicing these men. They learned how to acquire real estate and how to manage finances to initiate business dealings.
I have people that look at me today and they can not believe that I’m a barber by just looking at me. They come to my home, see my vehicles, see the lifestyle I live and just can’t fathom the fact a barber can live this way. I always get asked, “What else do you do?” They always think or believe I do something else. Even barbers think the same thing. This pains me because I know it’s the barbers, of this generation, that have placed this mindset in people including themselves.
Could you offer your best advice for those who may want to take this path in life?
I tell all young barbers, the key to success within this industry is very simple. The key to success is based on two concepts. Follow these two concepts and you’ll live a very prosperous life within this industry.
The two keys are consistency and reliability. It’s just that simple. If you can do these two things throughout your career and not deviate from it, you’ll be above and beyond your peers and will achieve all the goals you set out to achieve within this industry. Just make sure you sprinkle in hard work and dedication.
The Ultimate Barber Barbershop has won numerous awards but what can we expect to see from the barbershop in the future?
My goal is to take The Ultimate Barber national and make it a national brand. I’m doing this for those inspiring to be future barbers and for those that see barbering as a career and not just a job. I’m also doing this for the client that seeks a professional barbershop experience minus all the extras and the lack of professionalism they’ve experienced in the past. The Ultimate Barber will be known nationally as that barbershop you can go to, no matter where you live and get a quality service every time.
For more information on The Ultimate Barber Barbershop, click here!
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All Photos by Maha | provided by Midori Star Media Group