The hair industry has dominated for years, it’s the main attraction at place like Bronner Brothers, and in Atlanta for that matter. A part of that industry that’s steady rising is the barbering industry. The barbershop is a place of community, where young men learn from the older men and male gossip is the norm.
I had an opportunity to talk with a barber and found some interesting insight on how he became an entrepreneur by barbering. Meet Shawn Jeanpierre, a native of New Roads, LA, but has made Atlanta his home for almost 14 years. Shawn is a Master Barber at GoodFellas Barbershop in Smyrna, GA with almost 11 years of experience in his field. Shawn said, while he always admired barbers, he never had the intentions on being one, that was until one day a proposition was made.
Let’s get to know Shawn a little more and his journey in the barbering industry.
What made you want to be a barber?
I had never cut hair before until I started working in Goodfellas. I was getting a hair cut by the owner in 2005 and he asked me had I ever thought about being a barber. I said, as a kid yes, but not as an adult, but I always admired barbers and their relationships they have with their clients. The owner told me I had the personality for it and if I ever thought about cutting hair, I had a spot in his shop.
I worked delivering windshield. One day I got into with the boss, and I was like I can’t take this anymore. I went to the barbershop and asked was that offer still on the table, the owner said yes, so I went to school and did what I had to do, graduated and upon graduating, had my spot in the shop and haven’t looked back since.
Are you successful? If so, to what do you attribute your success?
Yes, I deem myself successful, in the sense of being self-sufficient, I am able to sustain everything in my life on my own terms. Not to mention the growth from year 1 to now has been tremendous.
What are your goals?
Short term to have my first shop up and running successfully with 6-8 barbers minimum this year. Long term start getting into real estate, go to school for it and get licensed.
What is unique about your business?
I am consistent and professional. I like to keep my word, which is important in this industry. I’m kinda old school; I set standards that I not only follow myself but want my clients to follow as well. Being on time is another unique aspect as well.
What are your responsibilities as an entrepreneur?
Managing yourself, being consistent. Every moment counts as an entrepreneur, you have to stay focused. Basically, you don’t hunt, you don’t eat, you have to work for what you want.
How do you advertise your business?
Initially, I started by passing out business cards and word of mouth, referrals. Even striking conversations to see where individuals get their hair cut. I also use social media doing Before and After Cuts, posting in Facebook Groups, Instagram, Snapchat Stories, etc.
Have you ever turned down a client?
Yes, not that I didn’t want to cut that person’s hair, but I probably can’t provide the service that client needs, like if they want certain designs or something. So, I refer them to the ones that I know can in the shop.
Does your company help the community where it is located?
“Doing Good in the Hood with Kim Jackson” in Dekalb County. I cut hair the last Sunday of the month but want to do more in the community where the shop is located.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Always Keep God First, follow your first mind and make sure you can live with the decision you make in this industry You have to be a person of your word to build a successful brand. Go Hard and Stay Consistent!