1.) Give us a backstory
How long have you been cutting hair?
My name is Ronald “Ronnie Blendz” Armstead
i’ve been barbering professionally for 14yrs. Grew up in the Philly area, currently living in North Carolina. i love being a barber. it makes me feel like i’m an important part of the community as well as a positive role model for young black man.
i’m very passionate about my craft. It’s an art form that makes me feel good and makes my clients feel even better. It’s amazing to see how much a haircut means to a person confidence and emotional health. The barbershop is a staple in every community. It’s the “everyday man’s” country club. It’s a great place for building relationships, to get the “tea”, have debates, and to just unwind from everyday stresses. its also a great place for networking. i have literally seen someone come in for a hair cut and leave with a job, just from running into some else who was getting a cut and happened to be offering employment.
2.)When did you know you wanted to become a barber?
i didn’t know i wanted to be a barber until i was in my second year of college, i still had no clue on what i wanted to do with my future and i was at a really rough patch in my life. My dad went to school for barbering, but he never pursued. He cut my hair my whole childhood and when i got to my teens i wanted the trendy haircuts. He got tired of me always asking for haircuts and told me to try to cut my own hair. After that first time, i was hooked!! Buy the time i was 15, i was cutting everybody’s hair that let me my friends, my cousins and classmates but never considered it a career. That was until my cousin who is a Phenomenal hairstylist gave me some great advice that i never forgot “think of something that you love to do even if you weren’t getting paid for it.” Cutting hair is something that i literally use to beg people to let me cut there hair for free. i really felt like i had more of a purpose in life after that realization.
3.)If parent or married, how do you balance work and home?
Being in this business and somewhat newly married is an adjustment. The business can be very demanding of your time. Lots of long hours when your first trying to build your clientele and even longer hours after you’ve establish it. The days that are the busiest for you are usually weekends, which for most people are the days that people are off and are spending time with families and mates. it’s very easy to miss important moments and experience in family life by chasing those “get money days“. To this day i still struggle with this but the older i get the more i try to put those family moments as a priority. You also have to really work on separating what’s going on in your personal life from your business life and vice vera. My faith and it’s teachings really help me trying to balance these very important factors in my life. Barbering is such a people servicing industry, that If your having a bad day you have to put that aside to service the client. So much of the barber/client experience is your energy and personally, and attitude. A lot of times you are also your clients psychologist so they wanna vent about their problems, not yours. lol
4.)What were some challenges have you faced and how did you overcome?
Growing up i’ve always struggled with stuttering and it caused me to be very self conscious of it from a very young age. So much of Barbering depends on being social and constantly talking to and meeting new people. Some people will be hesitant to sit in your chair if you stutter or sound unsure of your self initially. i had to over come those anxieties and still have to push myself out of my comfort zone everyday. The more i do it and the older i get the better it gets
5.) What advice would you give someone who would like to start their own business?
My advice to anyone who would like to start their own business is to try to create a business based on something that you absolutely love to do or have a strong interest for. Once you do that, it’ll never feel like work to you. For a barber consistency is so key. How you interact with clients and even thou the beauty industry has more of casual vibe it, it’s still a BUSINESS and should always be conducted in a professional manner. Also continue to grow and learn, never think that you’ve learned or mastered everything about the business. Once you do that, you’ll become stagnant.