Shave and a Haircut

Keeping barber shop traditions alive


How long have you been a stylist?
I’m actually a barber. The difference is that I cater mostly to men and use a variety of specialty tools, including a hot lather machine. Mine is sort of antique looking and it’s lovely to look at. I use clippers and a razor but don’t use a hairdryer all that much.

How long has the shop been open?
This month is our one year anniversary.

How do you stay true to the old school barbershop traditions?
I use a straight razor to shave the neck and complete the cut – I like to keep that tradition alive. Also, I’ve had people tell me that a barbershop owner has got to be able to “get the scoop” and know what’s going on in town. I wouldn’t say that I know everything, but I do love to talk and interact one-on-one with my clients. Like traditional barbershops, people can come here and feel known and welcomed.

How do you keep your space modern?
Clearly this is not a modern looking space. In fact, this building was once a chicken coop. However, when most people envision a traditional barber shop they think “sterile,” so the fact that we don’t look modern is modern. I think that the textured rock wall and exposed ceiling beams really add charm to the shop. Customers say it’s sort of like they’re walking right into someone’s living room.

How do you describe the atmosphere and vibe of Ruby’s?
Comfortable. Women always find these great little cozy places to go spend time and men get whatever they get. This is a cozy place that appeals to men. It’s a little bit masculine and a little bit feminine. There are plants and throw rugs and even an acoustic guitar for whoever wants to come in and play. It’s the kind of place where people want to sink into the chairs and stay a while – talk, read a book, do whatever. I encourage that; it’s a great space and I love to have it filled.

What sets your shop apart from the competition?
Coming in here is a total experience: I give a complementary head and shoulder rub to every customer and I love to really dote on people. Don’t come in expecting bing bang boom – I can spend an hour on one person, if they like to talk and want to sit for that long. I’ve had men cry in my chair when nobody else was around. Someone may come in a bit gruff after having a bad day. I know I can’t deal with whatever it is they’re dealing with, but when they sit in my chair they can relax and be pampered.

What is your personal approach to cutting hair?
I’m known for my custom cutting. I take an artistic approach; often I decide as I go. People love my cuts because even six weeks later, when they walk back in the door, it may be a little shaggy but it still looks good. My haircuts hold up. Young people still like their fades and I do variations of that – usually longer on top.

What’s in right now in terms of mens hair?
Men want hair that looks good but is easy: when the wind blows it, it will still look great. It doesn’t have to stay in one spot.

How often do you change your own hair?
I don’t! Mine has changed on its own – from highlighted to my natural color. My children have given me a healthy crop of gray. I just twist it up and clip it. I don’t fuss with myself too much. I’d rather give all my attention to my customers.