5 Major Considerations when Opening a Barbershop w/ Mikey Denton

(In the words of shop owner Mikey Denton)

So there’s a lot that goes into opening a business. Then you'll realize how much more goes into after you open. Especially if you are like me and did not have any type of business degree or certification. 

Identify Yourself: Owner or Haircutter

You should pick what you want to focus more on: Do you want to cut behind the chair or do you want to be an owner/operator? Because you need to put effort into one to do it right. Trust me, putting your eggs in different baskets will continue to be challenging. I did not open with the intention of not cutting anymore. Now it can be totally different for a small shop with two to three chairs, booth rental, no front desk, no retail store kind of shop which a lot of people are totally content with. But if you want to run a well oiled machine with the full team operations, it’s going to take a lot of attention to detail. 

I want to cut for the rest of my career. I’ve always wanted to commit to cutting and have zero interest quitting and just owning a salon. 
Mikey denton

Work With Brands You Believe In

Supporting the super small guys is great but also you need to consider what distribution companies offer as well. Points, education, free back bar, etc. After several years we narrowed down the brands that are great, offer a variety of products and provide a lot of support. 

Mikey Denton

Depending But...Aim High With Prices 

Thats a vague statement yes. But starting with a low price then working up is difficult. We started at $30 then went to $32 and people lost their minds. Eventually we made our way to $35 but when I went up to $45 it wasn't that big of a deal but for the clients who had been paying $30, I was told "that's inflation". It wasn't because we didn't write out a proper business model. Some of us were booked several weeks in advance and were losing clients so you raise your prices. Not every stylist/barber is booked so others are at $35. The level system was put into place after a few years. We should have done a little more research before going with what was the "normal" model in my hometown. 

Be Intentional & Trust the Process

Open a business with the right intentions and after checking off all the boxes. Some people open a spot after being busy for a year and are "just doing what's best for their family.” I was that guy and I've heard plenty of other people say the same. Not realizing its not that simple and isn't the best next option. I wish I knew about studio suite models before opening to test the waters first. Studio suites (pictured above) allow you to be your own business for 6 months to a year, without the small business headaches. If you are booked up enough to run a successful studio suite, then add staff or apprentices. If that works and you got a well oiled machine, then look into your own space. For a lot of people that has been the better option. At the same time people who own a business have downsized by moving into a studio suite and prefer it. Just don't rush into anything and don't take money from any person who wants to "invest.” TRUST ME. 


Mikey Denton currently resides in Portland, Oregon and get can be reached www.mikeydenton.com. Contact him on Instagram @mikeydenton.

'The Art of Shaving' Reflects on the Craft Behind the Barber Chair [WATCH]

Groom Guy is a place that sees the barber as the holy priesthood of mens hair culture. They're the recognized caretakers that foster lifetime relationships and crafts people that cultivate art with electric clippers, scissors, and a razor. These simple tools have been passed down for centuries and still exist strongly within ever changing culture of industrial innovation. I've got to give it to brand The Art of Shaving for painting a wonderful portrait of the industry by highlighting the barber-client relationship that is timeless, therapeutic and life changing. The healing powers of the barber have never been more clear and its a narrative Groom Guy holds dear. Here's an excerpt from their recent campaign & watch the full video below.

For the new campaign, The Art of Shaving pays homage to the community that barbershops foster, while also finding ways to recreate such spaces within the contemporary climate. The barbershop is where a man’s personal style meets his grooming routine and Falguni Desai, the CEO of The Art of Shaving, views it as “a place of social interaction and a place where men learn from each other, give each other advice and help each other in various ways – beyond grooming.” As a response to the stay-at-home measures from COVID-19, The Art of Shaving has launched a Virtual Barbershop on Instagram where Master Barbers give tips on facial grooming and at-home haircuts. “The space was curated by our Master Barbers from across the country and we also partnered with some influential celebrity barbers,” explains Desai. “We wanted to offer our barbers and community a place to tell their stories during these uncertain times, just like people would in a physical barbershop.”


CoVID19: Build your barber shop at home (with these)....

You miss your barber more than you miss your mama. Reopening is still unclear. You just want a hot towel.

From the fresh smell of eucalyptus to the steaming towels to warm greeting, it was all you imagined gearing up for a haircut. Now we’re confined at home with nothing but the imagination of the traditional barbershop. It’s during this pandemic we’re reminded how much our barber-stylist really means to us. As we look ahead, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions including when your next haircut will be in a normally operated shop. The normal errand of visiting the shop was a wonderful interruption to your day. Here’s a small opportunity to revive that magical place of tonsorial craftsmanship and an environment that always gave you peace of mind once entered. While some of us may not have access to industry’s top tier equipment, below is a quick tool-selection you can gather at home to recreate the whole shop experience. 


Most barber shops are not only packed with patrons but displays. Many sections are equipped with walls showcasing famous portraits or art that reflects the creative direction of the brand. Old or new, black or white, these pieces add some personality and maybe even inspire you to grab some stashes for your own “cave” at home. Sites like Ebay collect vintage portraits that sell for under $10 and sites like Michaels that carry affordable frames. Popular barber shop icons like The Rat Pack, Jimi Hendrix, Muhammed Ali or even James Dean are examples. I grew up noticing historical barber shop images like the classic barber pole, razor, chair, or signage that brings shop nostalgia stemming from childhood from some. 

Classic Ali image is a favorite.


These are the official uniform of the modern barber-stylist. MJ had number “23” on the Chicago Bulls while barbers have capes that have been institutionalized worldwide shops since the 18th century. Comparable to athletes, hairstylists need this to get on/off their field. Traditional capes can be found online or customizable ones are quite popular on sites like Etsy. You can simply design your name or logo on a cape and store it for traveling purposes or any home grooming duties. Be sure to confirm the correct length you wish to order. You don’t want to end up ordering a short cape that looks like a baby bibb. 


This probably one of the first smells that gets greeted to your nose when you step in. The oils are a part of the shaving experience that adds immediate comfort and aromatic pleasure. They’re equipped with properties that stimulate the body, increase blood flow and temporary resolve any acne-prone areas by soothing the skin. Eucalyptus oil is a popular one in most shops since it's paired with hot towels and even paired with an oil diffuser. Traditional candles smell great but run the risk of hot wax spills, potential fire starters, and possibly transmitting black smoke.


The holy grail of the barbershop is this bad boy here! You’ll become acquainted with these before a beard trim or hot towel shave in the shop. Infused with oils like eucalyptus, its icing on the cake for many clients as a welcomer and a finisher. If you have the space, you can order this machine at home for your friends. There are added responsibilities like remaining equipped with a handful of towels, over-burning and cleaning the machine. Hot towels are perfect for that shave experience and overall stress reliever. Don't spend more than $100 or so on a machine that gets the job done.


They’re prestigious, dashing, handsome and so welcoming. Barber chairs are hailed as symbols of the workforce economy in American society. Popularized in the early 1900s by German inventor, Ernest Koken (Koken Chairs), his signature chairs and many global companies have revolutionized the business with the engineering of comfort and flexibility. The sizes can vary based on the construction and material. Like boxing, there’s different weight classes so be mindful of what you can convince your partner or roommate to put in your place together. If you’re solo, then the world is yours on a barber chair that can be a perfect home decor for guests! 

Koken Barber Chairs

Philadelphia vs. Meek Mill: How One Man's Hair Journey Shaped Us All

Free Meek Mill documentary. Watch it” says one of my closest friends. 

It’s day 1500 of the quarantine and I search aimlessly for something on the ever growing Amazon Prime watchlist. I received the recommendation about Philadelphia hitmaker and superstar Meek Mill. As a New Yorker I already gathered my preconceived notion of “another Philly rapper” that he’s nice but he’s no New Yorker like Jay-Z or Nas. After putting my guard down and making some green tea, I jumped in and was immediately hooked to the miniseries. I was astonished to see someone who endured such harsh living conditions and corruption (some labeled as Killadelphia) but relieved that he rose above as a street savior and ultimately the face of criminal justice reform. His words would hit harder than a mack truck and his delivery would whiz by you like a bullet. Through all of this talented wizardry and hope he channeled into his neighborhood, he was still a target destroyed by corrupt law enforcement and over zealous legal counsel. 

You’ll have to tune into the documentary to gather the full scoop. Through local community support and industry heavyweights providing media coverage, Meek Mill came out victorious through his ongoing trials with the judicial system. His signature caesar haircut, and oh-so crispy shaped lines is a reflection of how one is able to endure thru misfortune but return back into the ring. Also home to the classic Rocky film, Meek Mill channeled his inner fighter each time he entered the courtroom only to be struck down multiple times. His hair grew longer and the stress weighed on him in that jail cell but every time he was out, the first thing you’d noticed: A fresh haircut and a smile. After having braids throughout his childhood and mixtape days, his rise to stardom reflected in his new look with a polish'd dark caesar, popularized in certain communities that represent prestige, newfound money and even respect. His barber may not have been a close friend or associate but at that moment, his signature cut was a reflection and entry into Meek’s road to freedom. 

Signature cut - Dark Caesar w/ Waves

Meek Mill’s classic caesar is paired with a shape up that would make an architect say “it's perfect.” For Meek, each fresh cut was brought with a new pair of boxing gloves because we never knew if this could be his last one as a free man. The crisp line ups reflected the new and improved man that he was bound to evolve into coupled with some gold as a symbolic kingship. This was a King who refused to be killed by a justice system that wanted to bury him and label him as “another statistic.” His masculinity and pride was restored each time that barber put those clippers to his head and that razor to his line. Meek Mill was reborn each time and he was ready to spit fire in the booth to prove it. 

Now I'm seeing M's, diamonds like water and they jumping out the gym

Shooting like Harden if your head was the rim

'Cause n***** wanna line me like a shape up and a trim...
meek mill

We see Meek tease at his beard throughout his trial hearings. Philly beards continue to remain an iconic staple in the city. Barbers are measured from the accuracy and skill set upon the client request. For some Philly residents, beards have spiritual significance and even hold a hierarchy in some religious communities. Although the beard may be insignificant while he sat in a cell, it represents his behavioral practice of patience while letting go things he cannot change. Although the justice system lacked shape and consistency, we see that Meek’s hair never did. Mirroring instances of the 1960s civil rights movement, Meek’s courageous pursuit to challenge the United States judicial system has all of his inspired next time we’re in the barber chair: Yeah, just give me the Meek Mill.


COVID19: Growing the Hair OR Buzz Cut. Consider This...

Before you take that clipper to your head. One must ask: Do I really want to suffocate my sink with all these hair strands?

But seriously, these times seem more strenuous as the days progress. Your hands have been washed so many times we've all put Mr. Clean out of a job. I know there's a lot more things to be concerned than hair but in the long run, we don't want it to collapse. It's no surprise you won't be seeing your barber, at least, for another four weeks. Tackle the critical question now of what we've all been asking ourselves since our last haircut visit: What the hell do I do now?

The buzz may sound like the immediate short solution but could carry a handful of regret and unease if not full analyzed. Some are looking for a fresh start and want to try a short look that reflects the upcoming hot season (burn the virus while you're at it). Taking a style from the GI playbook, the buzz shortens your am & pm routine with little to no maintenance. Some visit the barbershop or salon routinely to color or reshape processed hair. A short buzz can give any damaged hair some much needed relief. Refocus on other life priorities at the moment and allow your hair to take back seat...where you won't have to worry if its safe because there's nothing really there.

Once those clippers get an inch close to your scalp, there's no turning back. Barbers always say "You can take hair off but you can never [naturally] put it back on." That statement still stands so really consider that if you wish to mow it all. The look also brings itself a short routine of a clipper cutting everyday couple of weeks. You be the judge of the buzz length by properly using guards.

If you've always wanted longer lengths like Jason Momoa, dreadlocks like Wiz Khalifa or skateboard hot shot Neen Williams now is the time to shoot your shot. Being quarantined in the home is an easy avoidance to the public eye during the timely growth process. No need to answer co worker questions or family opinions as time goes on. The general upkeep on shampooing & conditioning is the number one priority. Drop a hat on the head when the growth becomes unbearable and you're looking for quick styling options (Fedoras > Dad Caps). Let your curiosity run laps as your follicles grow big & tall. There may be a new hair look you've always wanted but job restrictions or the awkward growing wouldn't allow. Now is the opportunity to witness your hair's capabilities as you maintain natural growth.

Don't get weary if the hair appears disheveled, messy or unkept. In the naked comfort of your own home, you can do little maintenance checks including clipper (or scissoring) the behind the ear and cleaning the neck routinely. Give your hair a much need break of products and watch it take natural shape. Whatever you decide, turn some heads this upcoming warm season and filter thru all the possible outcomes with a look that fits just right for you.

Joe Cole

Polish'd Tip: Introduce some beard growth, if you can, and watch that flow into your new look.

COVID19: Ways to Support Your Local Barber (During This Time)

We’ve received your DMs. Your calls. Your letters.

If your relationship with your personal barber was at risk for any reason a national pandemic would be a legitimate reason. It’s no surprise the current state of the US economy is under turmoil and many jobs have been terminated or left in uncertainty. One of them is your friendly, neighborhood barber or hair stylists. The government restraints have caused many barbers & business owners to close their doors resulting in an immediate loss of income. For most, it’s a commissioned based business so no work simply adds to no funds. They’re consistency and loyalty to you, as a client, over the years hopefully speaks volumes. Now I’m not saying you’re barber should be greeted with a bouquet of white flowers at his/her doorstep but some kind gestures could mean the most during these times. Take a look below at some considerable options for the one person (next to your attorney) who ensured your happiness every time you left his/her “office.”

Book a future appointment 

That first appointment back should be nothing short of pure magic. It’ll reduce any stress from barber-stylists knowing you’re securing a spot with them at a later date. Many hair businesses are equipped with online booking & everything is just a click away to complete the task. If there’s no online booking, contact them directly and make it happen. Cash may be tight so paying for a haircut in advance could be a big help. 

Purchase merchandise from online shop 

From t-shirts to customized hats, barber brands have extended their revenue streams with merchandise. Here’s the opportunity to drive sales directly to the barbershop that has cared for you...and you get to wear it! Give your Amazon account a break and throw down on some limited product lines that could use your communal support. Some companies have production warehouses that are currently operating so you’ll still be able to receive your package in a timely manner throughout the shutdown. I recently scooped some merchandise from Social Club’s limited collection packed with fresh jackets and tees. 


Gift cards purchases 

This may be new to some but gift cards are a great way to support your local barber. The card can easily be purchased online & used for service at a later time. Some even let you pick your barber, that way, they can secure whatever commission percentage they earn from the purchase. A sweet double dose of love is getting a gift card then scheduling a future (hopefully not summer) appointment. 

Support Donation Page (GoFundMe etc.) 

Rather than just one barber-stylist you may feel obliged to give to an entire company. With that, owners are beginning to launch GoFundMe and donation campaigns for financial assistance. The struggles of not being able to pay employees is a heavy burden for owners, so the donation page is a pitch of vulnerability and honesty during this virus outbreak. Companies refuse to take the risk of opening their shop doors which is obviously understandable: protecting clients but also their team. Washington’s D.C. Barber of Hell’s Bottom shared story gave an inside look into the realities of their recent shutdown. 

Moral $upport

For some, this quarantine time is a space of complete isolation. The weight of uncertainty sits heavy for many in the hair business. If your wallet doesn’t allow, a simple message or shoutout on social media could be helpful. Posting or sharing your barber’s page can draw any potential new viewers and clients to his/her page. Use the extra time to even insert a positive review on Google, Yelp etc. These acts of kindness is what continues to combat the fear and anxiety for some and simply what the rest of the world needs now.

Making of Melo: 4 Grooming Habits We Learned from Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has come a long way throughout his decorated career as an NBA star. At this point he’s no stranger to the spotlight, harsh criticisms, and even bad luck within the basketball. Now at 35 years old, he seems to have a clearer head on his shoulder and has practiced humility that has propelled not just him as a b-ball star but also a well liked individual overall. Off the court, he has made some tremendous strides both in his wardrobe and image. Over the past two decades, the NBA stars carry a rough reputation as a style “zombies” pairing awful fits and showing little to no effort in grooming. Carmelo has worked to change that narrative and Groom Guy has collected some most memorable most thru professional career. Here are some polish’d gems gathered throughout “hoodie” Melo’s career that we can all take from. 


It’s rare we expect to see a college kid drafted into the NBA with a style already reads “impressed.” Carmelo entered the league with baggy wear that appeared he carried extra weight. I like the rap group Dem Franchize Boyz too but wasn’t interested like Melo in taking a page out of their style book. Over the years, he buried the bags and rags and got introduced to  a tailor. He transitioned into fitted wear that properly presented his shoulders and legs, and even shamelessly modeled his ankles. Well done Melo! 


How do you say goodbye to the braids? It’s easy, go to the barber and cut them! That’s exactly what Carmelo did. As he started to attend fashion shows, have a pool of celebrity friends and nights on the town, Melo had to create a refreshing look that exemplified all of that. The classic caesar haircut was a new beginning and a shaping of his manhood. From collegiate to classy, we have grown fond of the new haircut and its aging him smoothly. 


His marriage and constant outings called for another evolution which included his wardrobe. Melo began to install his both American and European designers in his closet. His sacrificed his oversize watches and hoodies for blazer, jewelry, and fedoras that have you snapshotting onto your personal camera roll. His outdated suit colors quickly became a sign of bad style-sportsmanship. He rebounded with more neutral colored combinations and fabrics that complemented his athletic body type. The jewelry slimmed down to a more suited shape and accessorized his outfits nicely. 


The beard growth can be challenging and intimidating to many. Melo made appearances with his new look. He seems to maintain it with a trimming that fits his face shape. The last couple years, he tested the length of it which makes us strongly consider him as viable frontmen for one of these beard brands. You can tell he has elevated his grooming regimen (black does not crack, still) It’s no James Harden beard but who cares, he’s Carmelo Anthony and he’s beating to the sound of his own follicle drum. Play on Melo!

Everybody deserves a second chance...even Melo. Maybe you seem to forget what's he contributed to the NBA. Watch below.


How To Make Pomade / Hair Wax with Kevin "OGK" Kellett [WATCH]

Every scientist has a laboratory where history is made, rules get broken, and industries evolve. Mad scientist and hairstylist Kevin Kellett aka OGK has given us a glimpse into his creative world. From the concoction to the mixing and the private labeling, who knew it would take this much work? Well travel the globe like OGK (clients including G-Eazy, YG to name a few), you've got the opportunity to do whatever the hell you want. So when he's not behind a chair in the shop or a tour bus, you can take a guess where you'll find him nowadays. I already put that order in the for latest Texture by OGK hair pomade. Salute you Kevin for betting on yourself and showcasing that DIY! Check out the full dope video below.

My chair has taken me all over the world. And one thing I’ve noticed no matter who’s in my chair, no matter where the chair may be, is that everyone was looking for a product that didn’t exist.
Kevin "OGK" Kellett


RAndy reed Talks Psoriasis, Home Tools and Barbers

Itchy scalp. Constant dryness. Redness. Flakes.

These are just some of the common tortuous symptoms of skincare agony. We often fall into illusion that if we just scratch more, it'll miraculously give a give us a dosage of temporary relief. That is, until you're scalp is suffocating from some unknown oil you got from the first results page of Google Search aimlessly researching "itchy scalp solutions." Stop it. Bury all of that.

I had these struggles as well only to find out its a very common skin condition within the United State. If you've got an ongoing issue with your scalp after shampoo and/or conditioning treatment, chances are, you have a condition, or some form, of psoriasis. The name itself sounds terrifying. But rest assure, its easily treatable and found in 2-3 percent of the total population. So you're not alone in the recovery process. I recently had the opportunity to chop it up with skincare expert Randy Reed of Osswald Parfumerie Boutique in New York City. Serving NY's supreme clientele and a licensed esthetician, Randy supplied us with some everyday tips to end the immediate horror sightings of psoriasis.


Groom Guy: What does psoriasis look like?

Randy Reed: So it typically takes shape of a rash. Most of the time, due to the irritation and scratching, it’ll be red patches.

Groom Guy: How many people have this condition?

Randy Reed: It’s very common. Don’t worry.

Groom Guy: What can trigger psoriasis?

Randy Reed: There’s a number of factors included in the inflammation like your diet. Most commonly is the environment or climate that you’re in especially harsh cold winters where you’ll have little sun exposure.

Groom Guy: What’s the best treatment for it?

Randy Reed: A short term treatment is buying a skincare product with SPF (aka Sun Protection Factor) as an immediate solution. Many products that are packed with this measure of protection will keep your scalp and/or face protected. Food plays a role in your psoriasis as well. For example, one’s sensitivity levels to gluten (typically found in breads) may aggravate an itchy scalp. So pay attention to what you food you intake and stock up on inflammation fight-foods.

Mister Fresh featured in GQ Thailand.

Groom Guy: When we transition into new seasons, what should we be doing?

Randy Reed: Stay Moisturized! Using a facial moisturizer will you give you a thicker layer and protect you from outside infestations. I use a serum  which is a pre-moisturizer and locks in moisturizer.

Groom Guy: Any other home made solutions?

Randy Reed: You’ll want to invest a humidifier. This device is designed specifically to put moisture into the air. By traveling, working out, you lose moisture throughout your work day. At night, your skin is supposed to repair itself. With the humidifier preventing the air from being dry, that also means it stop your scalp and face too.

The best winter investment I made. - Groom Guy

Groom Guy: Should your local barber know how to treat this?

Randy Reed: No. A professional should be mindful of this during the consultation and then recommend the client seek a specialist aka dermatologist.

Groom Guy: Is there anything a client can do before/after a haircut?

Randy Reed: He/She should tell the barber immediately before the cutting hair process. The barber should shampoo & condition the client before haircutting to reduce the inflammation during the cut.

Note: A visit to your local dermatologist will be available to give your special case a full evaluation with easy treatment. Many patients get equipped with an ointment or prescription that’ll show immediate results.

Be sure to visit Randy Reed's site iammisterfresh.com & follow him: @iammisterfresh

Product Review 102: Gillette SkinGuard Razor

As told by Kwame Thomas, 2019

Gillette has heard your cries and your prayers. The ongoing pains of razor burns, bumps, and other mistreatments from poor blades can slowly become a thing of the past. The historic shaving company has recently launched a new campaign introducing the new Skin Guard Razor. It's equipped with a two-blade cartridge and targets men with sensitive skin and prone to common side effects like razor bumps. Has Gillette made a strategic retreat from the “razor blade wars?”  I was recently sent one and tried it for myself.

The common consequence of using a poor, dull or even too many blades on a single razor.

“Gillette SkinGuard is the first razor specifically designed for men with sensitive skin and razor bumps. The razor shaves hair and protects the skin thanks to its unique SkinGuard positioned between the blades. It works to minimize tug and pull and cut hair at skin level, helping to prevent irritation.”

Gillette Company

An occasional razor bump or ingrown hair will probably happen to every shaver at some point.  But some people get them all the time, over a larger area.  If it’s not treated, over time it could result in keloid scarring. My first couple of shaves with the Gillette SkinGuard were decent, as I was skeptical it could live up to the HYPE. 

I used the PURE shave cream that was provided in the kit, with a brush and the lubricant on the cartridge mixed with the lather in an odd way, creating little “tendrils” and generally not shaving with a clean track. I’ve seen this happen with other lubricated cartridge razors, especially the lubrication “gel” in some Schick Hydro cartridges.  However, the results of those shaves were actually quite decent–solidly in the “Damn Fine Shave” although I have a beard I got my neck line and cheeks and under my nose to shape up my mane. There is virtually zero “blade feel” from this razor–to me it feels like a piece of plastic is being drawn over my skin.  On the other hand, I think the shave is actually quite comfortable.  It just doesn’t feel like shaving to me.

Of course you can also avoid razor bumps by practicing good shave technique with a razor that just has one blade.  And if you’re looking for an “easier” shave with a single blade you can even get one that pivots. But the Gillette SkinGuard razor seems to do what it set out to accomplish an easy, quick, “good” comfortable shave with a lower chance of getting shave bumps.