The Barber Story - Now Open @ 116 N. Latah St.

During one of my last services, while I was still over at muse, a client and I were talking about what had happened in the time since his last visit. From the last he had heard, I had been talking to another shop about the possibilities of joining them and getting back into a barbershop. This time, I was telling him that I had the opportunity to open my own barbershop. He had been following the story through the blog and said, "It's really interesting watching you from the outside. You wrote every chapter of your own story and then you made it come true. That's impressive stuff." 

Never had anyone made that statement in a way that resonated with me. Holy crap, not only am I doing this, I did it.

I guess since we wrapped on recording the commercial, it's finally time to start talking about the new space. Today's update is about the first few weeks of building The Barber Story.So here is where my mind has been for the last month. 

Let's start with naming the barbershop. When I decided to open the barbershop, I wasn't sure at first what to call it. I have a structured plan for a shop I want to build a few years from now, but this opportunity happened so quickly that I never even considered what I was going to call it. Why not just call it The Barber Story? I've been working nearly 3 years on building this story into something I can share with people, clearly, the next logical step in becoming more accessible is by creating a storefront.

I had the name, next, I needed signage. No......I NEED TO ORDER A GIANT STICKER!!!

Now, when I first moved in, the front window had a gigantic crack from top to bottom, and the property management company I lease from told me that they were working with a local company to come out on 11/22 and replace the damaged pane. While walking to work that morning, I saw them replacing the glass and got more than a little giddy. Later that day, Jimbo was at the shop with one of his friends delivering the washing machine and his barber chair. I came to the shop with the largest, most expensive sticker I have ever purchased in my life, and a bunch of furniture I had on loan until the stations arrived. After we unloaded everything, it started to feel like home. Not that feeling of going back to the house that you grew up in, but the feeling of moving out of your parent's house and being on your own for the first time. It was the excitement of "I get to turn this place into whatever I want to, I have huge ideas and the capabilities to see them through," with the simultaneous anxiety of, "oh my god. oh my god. oh my god. What did I do? What was I thinking? I hope I didn't just screw this up for not only me and my family, but now potentially three other people and their families."


The sun wsa going down as we were wrapping up and right where the sun happened to set on the horizon, a shadow of my logo showed up on the wall. That was the first time I felt it.

Hell yes, I've got this.


I didn't have it. Not for long at least.

You see, the next day I came back to find a ton of condensation in between the panels of the double pane window. I e-mailed the property management company about it, and they hadn't realized I was putting up my signage. Not in a bad way, just they weren't expecting Johnny on the spot over here. I had all of my ducks in a row with them, I had simply been waiting for the replacement. Since they were paying for the replacement, they were the ones managing all of the correspondence with the local company replacing the window. Turns out, they had noticed a faulty seal at the time of installation and immediately notified who they needed to, as well as ordering the replacement window. A few weeks later they came and replaced the faulty seal with a new window that doesn't fog up. They took my window away, along with the largest and most expensive sticker that I have ever bought in my life.

The funniest thing that came out of all of that is learning just how much my first sign sucked. Some signs look great from the inside because of how much brighter it is outside, and mine looked wonderful when I was in the shop, but black on a dark space from 70 feet away while driving is downright invisible. At some point, I would have needed to replace that signage anyways, so them taking the window away so early simply turned into an expensive lesson on what not to do with the saved headache of trying to take it down.

Aside from the signage, moving in has been a process. Not a difficult process, just a journey that has steps that need to be taken. The temporary stations were a quick fix solution to the problem caused by IKEA freight not being delivered until 2 weeks after the shop's quiet opening, but it also gave us a little bit of time to get comfortable with the space and allow some of our clients to see the earliest stages of the shop. 


Arriving almost a week early, the freight shipment finally showed up on 12/9, but I had been completely booked out and didn't have any free time until that Monday. For an entire weekend, those 14 boxes shared my space, staring at me, taunting me, wanting me to stop cutting hair to put giant legos together. I was more than happy to see a 2 hour window at the start of my Monday morning and quickly blocked it out to start working on building a barbershop.


In a separate but equally fantastic turn of events, I had ordered apparel and new hair products a few weeks before stumbling upon the available retail space, and all of it arrived in time to be immediately moved into their newly constructed homes. You may have noticed me wearing the shirt and hoodie above, but make sure you stop by the shop if you want to pick up one for yourself before they all run out.

Raglan Shirts - $25
Zip Up Hoodies - $45
Pin & Sticker Combo Pack - $5

I will also be personally offering a selection of premium men's hair grooming products from Hanz de Fuko, most of which are priced at $20 each.


Hanging my mirror was the last thing I needed to do to finally be in the space, and I couldn't be happier knowing that the space is my own. I still find myself searching for things that are right in front of my face. It's like when you reorganize your desk and you can't find where you put your pencils.

The next step was getting Jimbo's mirror hung so I could get him out of the back room and join the rest of the living in the front of the house.


With both of us out front,  it started feeling more like what I was hoping to get out of this place. Clients brought in beers and hung out for a while, we had walk-in clients, we had banter, loitering was never a bad thing. We started having an actual barbershop.


The first few weeks have started off incredibly strong, and then, on the 14th I got a call from my cousin while I was in the middle of a haircut. I RARELY answer my phone when I'm with a client, so I let it go to voicemail. After that service, I looked down at my phone and saw a missed call from my cousin, alongside a handful of messages from my wife and my dad. My grandfather died. For the first time in my career, I canceled the rest of my appointments for the day and walked home because for the first time since I picked up a pair of shears, cutting hair simply wasn't going to make me happy.


I was an absolute wreck that afternoon. Hailie did a great job of keeping me focusing on positive things and keeping me distracted for the day, and after a long hard day of emotion, I went back to the shop the next day and found that an anonymous donor had sent me a wonderful succulent arrangement, and had I not left early the day before, I would have been there to see it arrive.


One of my first clients and I talked about how much it sucks to lose someone you love, and I found myself back in that happy place where I'm free to express myself to people who have also experienced similar experiences at some point in their own journey. This is why I cut hair - because real relationships are worth more than instagram likes.

3 days had passed, and Hailie and I were shopping when she pointed out what has turned out to be the greatest signage that could have happened to the shop.


7 months in school, 11 months in a barbershop, 13 months in a salon. A website became a building in less than three years, not too shabby.


Real life is so much interesting than fiction.