Brand Masters is a new series that explores what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur in the contemporary landscape of culture. Whether you’re building a name for yourself or your label/store, these individuals have gone through the process and drop dimes.
Last week, Angel Raws talked to us about the importance of investing in yourself from a young age. On this week’s episode of Brand Masters, we chop it up with Anthony Giannotti from Sacramento, California. Anthony is not only the owner of Anthony’s Barbershop, but he is also the genius behind the barbershop/bar concept Bottle & Barlow as well as the Victory Crown Barber Co. hair product line. He told us that the pandemic really reinforced the difference between an emergency fund and savings. He also drops gems on how to raise prices even during a pandemic, listen in below.
Everyone has been impacted by the global pandemic over the last 18 months or so. How businesses prepared for disasters and had backup plans in place really determined whether they could ride out the unknown nature of it. Because a lot of young business owners don’t plan or have the means to save and have backup funds, the pandemic forced them to shut down permanently. Luckily for Anthony, it wasn’t his first rodeo with that type of scenario – his previous experiences taught him to be hungry to find solutions, not only financially, but also in terms of staff, marketing and more.
To start, communication was still key. Just because doors were closed, didn’t mean there wasn’t still work to be done.
Benefits of networking
We can’t stress networking and relationship building enough in our day and age. Just like Willis the Barber, who spoke about the importance of building a strong network locally and internationally, Anthony was able to survive because of strong relationships with the right people. It’s essential to remember that these relationships are two-way streets, give and take. Trust isn’t built overnight, so keep working at it and be genuine.
But just because Anthony has a great accountant that was able to help him hone in on grants and loans didn’t mean he didn’t have his own war chest ready too.
Savings account vs. Emergency fund
The importance of differentiating a savings accounts vs. an emergency fund gets confused for the same thing often times. They should be prepared well in advance as part of your business plan and if COVID has taught us anything, those who have resources saved, will come out on top. Anthony explains the difference between the two and also offers up different revenue generating ideas that he used.
Learning to plan for the worst was something that Anthony experienced the hard way and he hopes other business owners will yield these words and not have to suffer by learning the hard way.
So how did he turn all the negatives associated with the pandemic and create positives while raising prices to help the business and his staff? The secret formula is below.
“Balancing strong points and weak points. This is gonna sound super weird and every time I say it I get the same looks from people, the same reaction, but, you can’t have an entire shop of go getters.”
The key to success is :drumroll please: experience. From the moment of engagement with a customer – how they vibe to the music walking into the door, you offering them a beverage, etc. – to the actual hair cut and a barber teaching people how to style their hair or the differences between products, that’s how you justify raising prices for service.
And that experience is also tied into marketing. How do you reach your target customer? Thanks to the pandemic, Anthony had a lot of time to learn to use social media’s intricacies to his advantage as well as services like Yelp and Google.
“Those true homie clients, they guys that you know, they really ride with you, they come through and we chat, chat for five minutes to an hour, catch up, That was nice, for both of us, it was nice for me, it was nice for both of us to talk to someone.”
Not everyone can be a frontman
A huge part of experience in every barbershop and business, is the team that’s rendering the service – in Anthony’s case, barbers. Because of this, he took the time to look over the team and make decisions that were right for the entire shop instead of one person. He talked to everyone, something a lot of owners forget to do. Crazy right? Listen below because what he has to say is gold.
It’s not just identifying whether existing barbers still wanted to be on the staff, it’s also knowing what to look for when hiring new team members – yes, it’s a team thing.
By delicately balancing a team and keeping everyone on a successful path defined by their own goals, that’s how a brand collectively achieves recognition.
So what does Anthony have to say to the industry, barbers looking to break in and entrepreneurs in general? Keep your mind, body and energy focused on what really matters and tune out the nonsense. Along the way, thank and support your day ones and those who’ve offered a helping hand along the way.
To keep up with Anthony and all his business ventures, check out their social media accounts below. He’s a real one and we appreciate him telling it like it is.
This series was made possible by Squire, the premier barbershop POS software. To learn more, hit up getsquire.com.
If you’re a first time barber or even someone established, look out for more episodes of Brand Masters each week.
Written by Matt Peng
Interview conducted by Curvel Baptiste
Transcription by Olivia Hawkins
Produced by Madeline Carpentiere
Photos via Anthony Giannotti