Advertisement
business

Small Business Success Story: A Barber on the Cutting Edge

He offers an old-school experience with a modern, masculine twist.

Kiplinger's spoke with Anthony Full (pictured at left), 56, founder and owner of Rock Barbers, a Louisville, Colo.-based barbershop. Here, he discusses why he decided to start his own business after years of working for someone else. Read on for an excerpt from our interview:

See Our Slide Show: 6 Surprisingly Simple Ideas That Made Millions

What prompted you to start your own business? Since 1979, I’ve worked in and run hair salons and barbershops. My previous job was good, but it felt routine. I’m a self-starter, and I wanted to accomplish something that I could model for my children. One of my clients shared a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes that resonated with me: “Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!” If you have a well-thought-out idea, the risk lies in not taking it.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Why a classic American barbershop? Men always feel conspicuous in a hair salon, and barbershops are making a comeback. Rock Barbers focuses exclusively on men, and we practice old-school barbering with a modern twist. We still offer hot-towel shaves, but we’ll also detail your beard and give expert haircuts. We advertise, “Dude, Get a Haircut!”

For two bits? No, the cuts are $29 and up, and the hot-towel shave is $35.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

What’s special about your shop? It’s designed for masculine comfort. We chose substantial chairs and outfitted our stations with Kobalt toolboxes. We have flat-screen TVs, a putting green and a guitar for anyone to play. You can converse privately with your barber or join in shopwide chatter. Clients can book their appointments online.

Did you have a business plan? Absolutely. Writing one forces you to answer questions that you don’t want to answer: What is my true market? What is the cost of the advertising I’d like to do? What are the tax implications of my decisions? I needed help with financial projections, so I consulted two of my clients who are accountants and another who is a CFO.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Where’d you get financing? I took a home-equity line of credit—the cheapest money going—for $150,000. The line isn’t paid off yet because we’ve consistently reinvested profits back into the business, but we regularly make extra payments against the loan principal.

Is the shop profitable? Yes. In 2010, our first year, when it was just me, Rock Barbers grossed $50,000 in sales. Now I employ eight other barbers and four front-desk staff. The business grossed more than $400,000 in sales in 2014 and will exceed that this year.

Are you making a living? My wife is also a hairstylist and works out of our home. We combine our businesses under Rock Barbers LLC and take a combined annual salary of $50,000. That’s much less than I made previously, and like all founders, I’m working eight days a week and 25 hours a day! But my business rewards me in ways other than money.

What’s next? I’m launching a line of hair-care products called Rock Tools for Men in early 2015. We’ve earmarked about $50,000 to get it off the ground. New product lines typically get purchased by makers of existing products. So this is probably a shorter-term play if the line gets traction.

Will you ever retire? No. I’ll probably reduce the days and hours that I work, but the social part is so rewarding. I’ll die with my boots on.

Advertisement

Most Popular

2020 Stock Market Holidays and Bond Market Holidays
Markets

2020 Stock Market Holidays and Bond Market Holidays

Is the market open today? Take a look at which holidays the stock markets and bond markets take off in 2020.
July 1, 2020
What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020
Chiropractor Trying to Get Business the Wrong Way – Illegally
careers

Chiropractor Trying to Get Business the Wrong Way – Illegally

A new chiropractor’s fledgling business plan to attract patients may sound reasonable at first look, but it’s actually against the law, and the same p…
June 30, 2020

Recommended

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year
tax law

Tax Changes and Key Amounts for the 2020 Tax Year

Americans are facing a long list of tax changes for the 2020 tax year...and it's never too early to start thinking about next year's return.
June 22, 2020
7 Ways PPP Loans Just Got Better
small business loans

7 Ways PPP Loans Just Got Better

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act makes a number of changes to the popular small-business loan program. See how your business might bene…
June 5, 2020
Don't Let the Drama Surrounding PPP Distract You from Running Your Business
business

Don't Let the Drama Surrounding PPP Distract You from Running Your Business

If you're so wrapped up in worry about your Paycheck Protection Program loan not being forgiven, think about the worst-case scenario. It might not be …
June 5, 2020
Thinking of Selling Your Business? 2 Steps to Get the Best Price
business

Thinking of Selling Your Business? 2 Steps to Get the Best Price

Here's what could be the difference between a lucrative outcome and disappointment for business owners now.
June 5, 2020