The Barbershock - Philadelphia's Premier Barbershop Experience
The profession of barbering has been around for centuries. For Michael Shockley, he has taken his passion and transformed it into an ever transforming modern-day model. A full time barber, Shock has combined the drive of growing his clientele, with a creative product to assist customers when scheduling appointments. The journey that led to a full time career, all started as a hobby, with his siblings and friends.
Who are you and what is your business about?
“I originally began cutting hair for fun and had the opportunity to get practice on my brother and a few close friends. That fun task quickly turned into a hobby that continued throughout high school and into my early years of college. It was not until my sophomore into junior year at Temple University that I began to treat barbering as a business and take it seriously. I had the opportunity to look at barbering from a macro business perspective as I studied Entrepreneurship & Innovation management in my undergrad. Additionally, I had the opportunity to get real barbershop experience in my summer breaks at High End Barbershop in Morristown, NJ,” said Shock.
With his time at Temple and High End, Shock was able to build the foundations of his clientele. Along with this came multiple opportunities to hone his craft and experience all sorts of styles and situations a barber may experience. While he still took a job outside of this, Shock knew he wanted to keep going.
“Upon graduating from Temple, I took a corporate sales management job but I was not putting the clippers down. I would work my corporate job during the day and take appointments in the evening throughout the week. During the pandemic I had some time to think about what I really wanted to do with my career path and had to decide between building my corporate pedigree or following the path to becoming a successful barber. In September 2020 I made one of the biggest decisions of my life and followed the burning passion that I had within myself to go into barbering full time. I left my corporate job after 3 years and decided that I was finally going to get my barber license,” said Shock.
Subsequently in November 2021, Shock attended Premier Barber Institute to begin his formal education as a barber. The next 11 months were a flashback for Shock, as he was once again a student studying. Though this time, he was required to work 1250 hours in order to receive his barber license from the state.
“Throughout my time at premier, I had the ability to absorb an enormous amount of information, learn new techniques and foster many great relationships within the barber industry. In July of 2021, as I was nearing the end of my time at Premier Barber institute, I opened my first Barber Studio. From cutting hair in basements, bathrooms and bedrooms this was a huge accomplishment to finally have my own space to operate out of. I now successfully run the barber studio for over 2 years as a full-time job,” said Shock.
As a full time barber, with a decently sized clientele, Shock quickly saw his appointments booked out. However, in the beginning, his system of appointment setting was a myriad of text messages, with no real sense of organization. As his clientele has continued to grow and he has met more people, the need for organization and proper communication arose. Thats where the idea for The Barber Shock was born.
“The Barber Shock is based on the principles of quality, convenience, and confidence. With the assistance of my 2 roommates, that were computer science & MIS majors, we successfully created the first version of thebarbershock.com. The website allowed my clients to efficiently and effectively book appointments while providing text, email and calendar communications. This was a perfect project as I was in my Junior year at Temple studying Entrepreneurship and was able to use my own business in conjunction with my major, said Shock.
“Since then, Thebarbershock.com has grown to include 2 other service providers that use the platform. There is also the Vitris platform, a small development team that had everything we were looking for to maintain the website and provide the necessary tools for growth,” Said Shock.
With this tool, his clients can book appointments in under 90 seconds. Additionally, the platform is able to capture data for future reference with that client.
“At my studio, I have curated a professional and comfortable space that clients can enjoy getting a haircut while receiving a personalized experience. I focus on attention to detail in my work and ensure that each client receives their desired look. On any given day there will be sports and music playing or there might be a movie running but clients are sure to have a good time and feel confident when they are finished,” said Shock.
Alongside this business venture, Shock has grown to include Shock’s Studios, which is their current base of operation.
· How long have you been in business?
The Barber Shock has been an established LLC since 2017. I've been honing my craft of cutting hair for over a decade, starting my journey during my high school years. Our online platform, thebarbershock.com, was launched in 2017 in conjunction with the establishment of the LLC.” said Shock
Thanks to the barbershock.com, the day-to-day operations for Shock and his team are efficient and effective. The streamlined booking system minimizes steps to secure an appointment.
· What is the mission & vision behind your business?
“At The Barber Shock, our mission is rooted in the core principles of "Quality, Efficiency, and Confidence." We're committed to providing a unique and personalized 1-on-1 studio hair experience, where each customer receives our undivided attention. Our passion for the craft shines through in every service we offer, and our ultimate goal is to leave every client not only looking great but also wearing a satisfied smile,” said Shock. “We want the booking process to be as hassle-free as possible, ensuring that clients can easily schedule their appointments at their own convenience. Our mission goes beyond haircuts; it's about making life easier, more efficient, and more connected for our customers and the broader community we serve.
Our vision extends beyond our own studio. We aspire to expand our platform to benefit other barbers, enabling them to effortlessly manage their clientele and run their businesses successfully. Moreover, we're committed to fostering the growth of the barbering community by sharing the insights and strategies that have propelled our own success over the years. By empowering others, we aim to create a network of thriving barbers and businesses, making a positive impact on the industry as a whole.
As I continue this journey of growth and development, I'm particularly excited about the prospect of assembling a dedicated team. Together, we can work towards mutual success and push the boundaries of what we can achieve. Building a collaborative and thriving team is a key aspiration as I move forward in my career and business endeavors.”
· Where are you located? Do you have a website?
Shock’s shop is based in the Spring Garden area of Philadelphia. He operates out of a private studio, which he says provides exceptional barber services. More information about their services is available at thebarbershock.com.
For the convenience of our new customers, when you book an appointment with us, we've streamlined the process. You'll be guided through a straightforward new customer form. Once you've completed this form, you'll receive detailed location information and clear directions on how to reach my studio.
· Who all do you serve?
“At The Barber Shock, we take pride in serving a diverse and inclusive clientele. Our customers span a broad spectrum, ranging from young adults seeking trendy styles to seasoned business professionals in the local area. Also, Temple University students find it convenient to access our studio via a quick subway ride.” said Shock. “Our commitment to inclusivity extends beyond gender boundaries; we're delighted to welcome both male and female clients into our chair. With years of dedicated practice under my belt, I've honed my skills to cater to a wide range of hair textures, ethnicities, and genders. So, no matter who you are, you're not just welcome – you're valued and appreciated in our studio!”
While being an entrepreneur, Shock also knows that others are looking to garner the same success he experiences. Inside the studio there is a large board, that has been adorned with business cards froma variety of fields. With an extensive amount of people coming through the door, this allows for them to connect at a place that they maybe normally would not.
· How does your business help your customers / others?
“We go the extra mile by fostering connections among our customers. t's a hub for professionals from various industries. Whenever our customers visit, we encourage them to leave their business cards, as this simple gesture could potentially help someone in need of their services. We believe in the power of community and networking to benefit not just our clients but also other professionals,” said Shock.
· What’s it like to run your own business? What challenges do you endure?
“Running your own business is like being the creative director of your own show – you have the freedom to design the blueprint and call the shots. It's a thrilling journey filled with endless possibilities, but it also comes with significant responsibilities.
However, it wouldn't be honest if I didn't acknowledge the challenges that come with the territory. As a business owner, you have to wear many hats – the financial hat, the marketing hat, and more. For me, one of the persistent challenge is maintaining consistency in social media presence. While it's crucial in today's digital age to have a strong online footprint, I'm often deeply involved in the day-to-day operations of the business and often struggle to find the time.
The world of business is dynamic, and challenges crop up every day. Successfully navigating these challenges requires a delicate touch, maintaining a balanced perspective, and not getting too high or too low when faced with adversity. The ability to adapt and stay resilient is essential in managing the multitude of challenges that come with entrepreneurship.”
· Were there any key factors in your start up and what were they?
“Clientele Building: One crucial factor was building a solid client base before venturing into my own studio. This process took years of dedication and hard work. I focused on building a strong reputation through word of mouth, effective marketing strategies, and consistently delivering high-quality service. This ensured that I had a sustainable flow of clients to justify opening my studio.
Self-Understanding and Discipline: Another critical factor was self-awareness and discipline. Transitioning from a corporate job to running my own business required a deep understanding of myself. I needed to recognize that I would be wearing multiple hats – manager, director, owner, and operator – all at once. This realization helped me establish a structured routine that allowed me to maintain the discipline necessary for success.
These key factors underscored the importance of patience, dedication, and self-awareness in the process of building and running a successful business.”
· Do you have any upcoming events happening?
“While we don't have any specific events on our current schedule, we're eagerly looking forward to the upcoming barber expos. These expos are not only a chance for us to learn and grow but also to connect with fellow professionals and enthusiasts in the barbering world. It is an exciting opportunity for us to stay connected with the latest trends and techniques in the industry. Keep an eye on our updates for more information about our participation in these events!”
· How do you support the community and give back?
“In the past I have participated in haircutting events that are provided for the homeless. As I continue to grow I want this to remain as a yearly activity. I also have plans to do back to school haircuts as well as food drives during the holidays. I feel like there is so much that can still be done in this space and I still have not scratched the surface.”
· If you had one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started, what would that be?
“Looking back, one valuable lesson I've learned is that as a business owner, you can't do it all by yourself. Your strength lies in the team you build and the support system you have in place. I'm incredibly grateful for the unwavering support I've received from my family, friends, and mentors within the industry. Their guidance and encouragement have been invaluable.”
· What advice/tips do you have for upcoming entrepreneurs?
As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, here are some valuable pieces of advice to keep in mind:
Embrace Discomfort: Stepping out of your comfort zone may be intimidating, but it's a crucial part of growth. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because that's where you'll discover new learning opportunities. Entrepreneurship is a journey of continuous learning, and you'll often learn as you go. The more effort you invest in your business, the greater the rewards you'll reap.
Patience is Key: Entrepreneurship can be a rollercoaster ride with ups and downs. It's important to stay patient, even when things don't seem to be going your way. There will be tough days, and there may be moments when quitting crosses your mind. During those times, maintaining discipline in your routine can help you weather the storms. Remember that success takes time, and the tough days are often balanced by the great days where progress becomes evident.
Follow Your Heart: Trust your passion. As one of my mentors wisely put it, if you love what you do and pour your heart into it, it will love you back. There's no greater satisfaction than dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to something you're passionate about and witnessing the rewards that come from that dedication.
Remember that every entrepreneurial journey is unique, and while these tips provide guidance, the path to success is often paved with determination, resilience, and a deep love for what you do.
· What does it mean for you to be here and contributing to the community?
“Being in the position I am today holds immense significance, especially considering where my journey began. When I first picked up those clippers, it was just for fun, and I could never have imagined the incredible doors that would swing open, or the opportunities that would come my way.
Now, as a 27-year-old entrepreneur, I genuinely feel like I'm just getting started. I'm fueled by a strong desire to give back to the community that has supported me on this incredible journey. It's not just about providing exceptional hair services; it's about offering something unique and valuable to the community.
One area that particularly excites me is the potential for innovation within the industry, especially regarding clientele management and business software solutions. I believe there's a world of exciting innovation waiting to unfold, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. Stay tuned because there's some fun and game-changing innovation on the horizon!” 😊
Follow Mike & The Barbershock on social media:
- @Thebarbershock on ALL platforms
- Website: www.thebarbershock.com