Q&A with Nicole Yatman and Jovoni Espinoza
Dreaming of opening your own barber shop? You’ve come to the right place!
Opening a barber shop is a thrilling venture that leads to creative freedom, but like any entrepreneurial journey, it comes with a unique set of challenges. We spoke with Nicole Yatman and Jovoni Espinoza, owners of Amplified Barbershop in San Diego, to gather some firsthand advice. We’ll explore their decision to open up their own barber shop, find out what to expect before opening your doors, discover some common obstacles faced along the way, and more!
What made you decide to open your own barber shop?
We wanted the freedom to express our vision. We wanted to be in control of our own schedules and have the opportunity to decide how we want our lives to go. Having your own barbershop allows you to set your own rules, schedule, and your own ideas. We love that now we work to live and are no longer living to work!
What are some common challenges or obstacles people may encounter when opening a barber shop, and how can they be addressed?
It’s stressful! You may get feelings of regret. You’ll get overwhelmed and overworked. Just remember the reasons why you took the leap. For me (Nicole), time was my biggest obstacle. All the spare time in between would send me into a spiral of regret and stress about the future. But we opened a shop FOR a future we get to control ourselves. Never give up and always hold on to your original reason for doing this.
What legal and licensing requirements surprised you?
We were pretty prepared ahead of time. We knew we needed a DBA and establishment license – although the establishment was a more difficult process than anticipated. My advice would be to do your research ahead of time and get all your licenses before opening your doors.
What budget and financial considerations should one keep in mind?
Definitely budget. Keep in mind that you can always add to your shop, but in the beginning it is important to never spend more than you’re making. You do need to spend money to make money, but think smart. Put your money towards marketing and growing your business. Word of mouth is everything. All the gadgets and final touches can come after.
How did you decide on prices?
We decided our prices based on our experience in this industry as well as the attention to detail we put into all of our services. We wanted to create prices that were both fair to the clients and fair to the talented barbers.
What are some tools and equipment you needed to purchase before opening that surprised you?
Nothing really surprised us. We were planning this for a long time. We knew what we had and what we needed to be functional. It did surprise us how many times we thought we were done, but then realized important little things that were overlooked – such as razors, lather, products, towels etc. Things that are provided to you as an employee that you forget are vital in running a functional barbershop.
When hiring staff, what do you consider?
We personally aren’t hiring right now but we’ve always said the hiring process will be the hardest part of this overall process. It is so important to have a good employee. When hiring, I’d first look at experience. First, I want every haircut to live up to the price and our motto. Anyone I hire is a reflection of me. You will have skills if you work for us. Secondly, I want someone that is not only dedicated to their craft but also someone that wants to see everyone succeed. So many people I see only care about their paycheck and act accordingly. I want an inspired person to become part of our family. Someone who is a team player and responsible.
What are your biggest tips for marketing your new barber shop?
The biggest tip I have would be step out of your comfort zone! Creating a business is hard. Get your face and personality out there! Don’t be afraid of rejection, it’s a part of life. Word of mouth will forever be your biggest marketing flex. Get your clients to write reviews. Give them cards to give to their friends. Give them something to talk about. Always post on social media, stay relevant. Pass out flyers in your free time and try to collab with other businesses to get your name out there. If it’s in your budget, say yes.
We’re still very new and learning but one success for us was simply taking the first step – getting away from toxic employers and taking a risk despite everyone telling us we can’t. We are starting from the bottom but with less clients and more time to live our lives. We are already making more than we were exhausting ourselves at an hourly job.
Any other tips or advice?
Go with your gut and never give up! Have your moments, have your fits, your pity parties; take a breath and then get back to business. Your future is waiting…