In the world of hair, appearance is everything. All day long, I cut off, clip on, and cover up what God didn’t give you. It’s just the nature of being a stylist and the momentum isn’t slowing down. Here’s the proof: In 1950, only 7% of women colored their hair. By 2015, that number reached a staggering 75%. Amen to that! Back then, hair color was marketed to women as a way to lose their grays in exchange for a younger, fresher appearance. Today, it’s used more as a vehicle of self-expression. We change our tone almost as quickly as we do our shoes or lipstick. Why? Because all women have the desire to look and feel AMAZING. So, if going ombre fulfills that need, then I say paint the town. But a good stylist will always look at what lies beneath the surface before she makes drastic changes. It’s called getting to the “root” of the matter and holds more value than you might think. Those annoying pieces that you just can’t wait to cover up may not be so bad after all.
(Insert pause to let the shock settle in.)
You’re probably waiting for an explanation right about now. I can explain. I’m not referring to those mismatched strands that made you click on this link; I’m talking about the kind of roots that tell a story. The ones that remind you where you’ve been and who you are. The ones you can’t cover up, no matter how much hair color you throw on them.
From Barbershop to Beauty Shop
My great-uncle owned a barbershop in Paterson, NJ. Aside from my grandmother’s kitchen down the street, his shop was where I spent most of my childhood. It was there that I learned the old-school method of getting what you want out of life: Be Quiet, Learn Everything, and Work Hard. It was and still is the quintessential recipe for success. I devoured every word and studied every nuance. Before long, the seed was planted, and I knew I would spend my life helping people discover their own kind of beautiful. The invaluable lessons I learned at the barbershop not only laid the foundation for the home I built at Razberri’s, but they also make special guest appearances every now and again.
Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Razor-Sharp Focus
Unlike cosmetologists who train in various genres using multiple tools, barbers focus on one area (men!) and one tool. Like a chef with his prized knives, a barber knows how to work clippers with sheer finesse. My days of asking which “setting” you would like may be long gone, but that vein of concentration will always run deep. My clients know they’re getting ALL of me when they sit in my chair.
2. Expert Listening Skills
Something magical happens when you sit in a stylist’s chair. It’s like the cloak of silence lifts and all secrets reveal themselves. Friend, therapist, and coach become our new titles. The same concept rings true for barbers; men love to talk (mostly about themselves!). Listening is a huge part of our job Like the proverbial couch, the chair symbolizes trust and holds more secrets than Victoria’s flagship store. If scissors could write, I would have a library by now. But don’t worry, a good stylist never tells 🙂
3. A Steady Hand
Giving a man a single-blade razor shave can be pretty intimidating; it’s not like shaving your legs in the shower. With that said, a clean shave is a service most men still love to get. I know because we cater to our bearded community with love, a hot towel, and a very steady hand.
People love tradition. Think Sunday family dinner. 4th of July bbq. Weekend football games. These special moments create lifelong memories and bonds. This was especially true at my great-uncle’s shop. Getting a shave and cut was a way for fathers and sons to spend time together. This tradition lives on today at the salon and flows through each generation. It’s a huge compliment to see clients that I’ve known for almost 20 years bring in their daughters who then bring in their little princesses. I hope it never stops.
5. Family First
They say to save the best for last, so here it goes. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my mother, best friend, and business partner, MaryAnn. Everything I am is because of her. She single-handedly raised three children and taught us all to be relentless in pursuing our dreams. Not taking “no” for an answer paid off. Both of my brothers also own businesses that she helps manage. The only downside is that we have to share her, but I don’t mind. I love having my mom here in the salon. It’s a constant reminder of what we built together. She ran a no-nonsense, no-excuse household, but she sprinkled it with seeds of love, family, and tradition. That garden grew into a wonderful story called “My Roots.”
So, what do most people do when they read a great book? They tell someone else.
Just like I wouldn’t be where I am without my mom’s love and support, the same sentiment applies to my team. Every lesson I’ve learned along the way gets passed down to them. They are the pins that hold this salon together; I think of them as our stamp of excellence. As I mentioned earlier, this business is all about the exterior shell. People come to Razberri’s for one simple reason: to be transformed. What our clients may not realize is that their deep conditioning treatments are also infused with stories of wisdom, tradition, and love.
I built Razberri’s on the same foundation as my childhood: If you work hard, care deeply, and never stop learning, you’ll stand out from the rest. For me, being unique means walking a clear path, sharing a deep commitment, and maintaining razor-sharp focus. Every day, I wake up excited to come to work. I never stop learning or listening to what people want. I’m always hungry for more. Because every time someone looks in the mirror, they look at my life’s work. They see the memories of my home and great-uncle’s barbershop. They see my roots.
What will they see in yours?