There’s a lot of people who don’t know the value of life – I’m blessed. I’ve been through a lot and I’ve had to reassess my entire self, my goals, my values. My whole goal is to be one of the top 30 entrepreneurs in Toronto.
An Entrepreneur, artist and visionary. His goal has always been to elevate the barbering industry by honing in on what matters for each client and really mastering his crafts. He is a perfectionist, and mentor to many, and an instant friend to anyone who walks through the salon.
Shawn recently decided to take on a bigger venture and opened a Luxurious salon within the GTA, COLDKUTS Luxury Salon and Spa. He spared no expense in creating a space that would provide full hair and spa services.
Shawn started his path at TD Bank as part of the customer service management team. With big responsibilities, opening and closing the bank, overseeing client business, he was well on his way to becoming branch manager…
It was good but it just wasn’t for me, I was so out of my element, but nobody knew that because I was a high performer, I was really good. I clocked in everyday in a suit and tie, it was a real nine to five. I’d get home and put on my regular clothes, and that was me, I felt like superman.
I was taught to focus on getting a job that had benefits, a pension and all the good stuff, and that’s what it’s supposed to be. I was doing business economics with an option in accounting but I was never fulfilled.
Fast forward to five years ago. I had a barbershop in Malton running strong, I was making the right connections within the beauty industry. I had just become an educator for a major brand, and I was diagnosed with cancer. I had stage 3 lymphoma. I’m okay with telling my story now, but wasn’t then… I didn’t want anything to change, I didn’t want sympathy. I was going to fight it and the shop is what kept me going. At the time I felt like I was at the top of my career. I was killing it.
I had to do chemo and I did alright most days, and after every round of chemo, I would go to the shop. I didn’t want to go home and sit and let cancer take over me. I had to be strong, you don’t realize the people around you are breaking down too, having to watch you struggle. I tried to keep things as “normal” as possible.
I remember the first haircut I did after chemo was a kid and it took me two and a half hours; it was like learning how to cut hair all over again. It really sucked. But this is my love and my passion. The barbershop got me through this.
I’ve seen kids that have gone through worse… I can handle this, but you have to pray for all the kids that cannot. I go to sick Kids and try to help those kids, because I can.
By June I was good, I went into remission, I had done all the treatments. Cancer can really take a toll on your life. I proved to myself that I could still do something good. I signed up for the Heavy Hitter Barber Battle that same June and won. I knew I could do it.
I get so excited about all the things I want to accomplish and where I will be in five years, how much I’ve grown. I want to do things that’s have never been done.
There’s a lot of people who don’t know the value of life – I’m blessed.
I’ve been through a lot and I’ve had to reassess my entire self, my goals, my values. My whole goal is to be one of the top 30 entrepreneurs in Toronto.
What was one of your biggest lessons learned?
To take care of myself first. I’ve never done that before, I’ve always came last and I always left my health for last. Now, I have to meal prep, I can’t do one meal a day anymore. I make sure I see green in every meal. Basically, I learned to live life differently.
What would you say to up and coming barbers?
Keep working hard every day and don’t lose who you are. Make a goals list, five things, and just chase it every day. It was the best thing I ever did, it gave me so much direction. Don’t focus on Instagram, it’ll take care of itself, stay dedicated and focus on your craft. Only focus on being a better you. If you chase someone else’s dream, you’re just not you anymore, and people can tell when you’re fake.
Future of the industry?
I don’t see robots taking over anytime soon, so I’m not concerned about that. But I see a lot of women taking control of the men’s cuts.
Female barbers are on the takeover – their drive and motivation is amazing. Men’s grooming will remain a major part of the beauty industry and right now it’s at its peak. There will be a lot more men looking for grooming and I feel that It will move heavily into skin care for us. There will be a lot more emphasis on skincare and a lot more women in power.
Something that’s really big right now is Scalp Micropigmentation it gives the appearance of a stronger hairline.
What’s your tool of choice?
Wahl magic clip cordless
I’ve used other tools, I’m always looking for a tool to minimize time and increase revenue.
Who are your mentors?
I am very lucky to have so many great people in my life. People that have always supported me, guided me and helped me through all times are; Andrea Sampson, Louie Fiero, Barbers – The Burgh Barber Michael Kelly – M.R.K. barber, Corey Sturkey _bonezdagoat,
Julie mah, barbershopconnect
What do you want to tell the industry?
Be grateful… If everything is about what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough Shawn Barbz