My story is a humble one, I was a normal barber - cutting hair in Venice beach California and I realized that there was a gap in the market for a real no gimmicks barbershop. After close to a year of planning I decided to take the leap and create The Proper Barbershop. In 2009 my dream was born, I wanted to create a space for every man to come and be a part of a family, Get your haircut share stories and have a few laughs and that is how The Proper came to be.
Currently: The Owner and Head Barber Of The Proper Barbershops
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
The advise I would give to any aspiring entrepreneurs is that the road is not easy and it shouldn’t be, every struggle, every worry, every negative thing that can happen is all in actuality positive as with out the struggle the accomplishments wouldn’t be possible. My father always reminds me of 2 things that have made me strive to always be better, 1 the things that come easy never last and 2 always climb the mountain and I can’t thank him enough for those words as I always strive to be better tomorrow than I am today! Due to that I am actually writing this story and journey from the locker room of the Anaheim Angels baseball team because I am the team barber, an opportunity I would never have had if I just accepted my situation, always grind for more and always climb the mountain!!
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest initial hurdles of starting my own business were finding the right mix of staff to create the atmosphere that I had in mind and the only way I was able to sort that issue out was to bring people around and try to have them spend some time working in my shop before actually offering a position. The other hurdles came in the form of administrative work like book keeping and taxes, as a 22 year old kid who didn’t go to college and barely made it through high school that was a giant undertaking. I learned that I had to ask for help and be open to learning all I could in order to be a true business owner, the days of just thinking “I got this” were long over.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
To be totally honest my family and friends were so supportive of my goals and aspirations so I was very lucky there, my wife actually named my shop!
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
The single most influential part to my business success was two fold, first it was hard work, being willing and able to be available to my clients and community at all hours and the willingness to sacrifice breaks and lunch and time with my wife to do my job and to build my shop reputation. The second was honesty and being true to the goal we originally set out to accomplish, we never treated people differently because they were a celebrity, nor did we give people any kind of fake experience. We never held back on our thoughts and opinions and we never censored our conversation as the barbershop is a place for open conversation and learning, so to all of that we stayed true. I had to be ok with the fact that we may not be for everyone and that is ok!
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
What I know today that I wish I had known when I started is people will always try to cut you down or impede your success and they can only be successful if you allow them! Growing confidence is a huge and necessary part of any business success story and that is one thing I wished I had from the start!