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, our Brand Masters episode featured Kevin Luchmun, who stepped away from the chair (of a barbershop) and behind the lens (of a camera). This week, we’re chopping it up with Khalil Malamug, a self-made barber and entrepreneur who just so happens to be really, really into cars. The New Jersey native is the proud owner of multiple barbershops including Razorsharp Barbershop & Shave Parlor, Wolves Den Co. and Original Sharp Barbershop.
What makes his spots so special though is how he turned his passion for cars into a means to bridge barbershop culture with car culture, using his large parking lots. Bringing together people that love cars into one spot and sharing some coffee, that’s the spirit of sharing and the educational experience a barbershop provides too. Listen to how he made it all happen below.
Khalil expanded his personal brand to include the cool ass cars naturally, because it has always been a part of his lifestyle. Similar to Danny Robinson where it’s all about vibes and your own personal aura and Pacinos, who uses himself as the model consumer. Growing up with a father that was into European cars and then in the Fast and Furious era, that influence was bound to take shape sooner than later.
Khalil, on his hustler mentality like Willis the Barber, is all about making it happen, and that’s exactly what he did. With his dad’s old school mid-90’s Porsche as his starting point, it’s no wonder the multi-business man got himself a Porsche 911 Turbo S a few years ago. In between he’s owned everything from a Nissan 350Z to an old school Mercedes-Benz wagon to a Harley Davidson and a BMW M3 Competition. Listen below to how he incorporated his decades worth of love for cars into his business portfolio – without even thinking of doing it for profit.
“An hour of our days can change the lifetime of what your life actually moves like. All of a sudden this flow of energy is kind of circulating around these ways and people want to be part of these things. This is really lifestyle.”
The COVID-19 impact
COVID-19 forced Khalil to close all his locations but it gave him the cars and coffee meets that have reignited his ability to be around people and share stories, fashion, culture and more. He recalls how at the lowest point in our lives – during the height of the pandemic in 2020 – people were willing to safely share a space with each other over at Sunday Motor Co., an automotive-inspired coffee café. And they were all really able to connect over various styles of cars, ranging from high-end supercars, to vintage European and JDM beauties.
As much as the car and coffee events are a time to destress and just enjoy life, Khalil also looks at them as a learning opportunity, to connect with all sorts of people, who may or may not be clients of his barbershops. He’s taken all the positive reviews and critiques to heart, and he wants to listen to everyone for feedback, something a lot of younger people overlook or refuse to do.
“You can’t let a plant grow every day. A plant is actually going to have its bad time too.”
Learning to create a cohesive brand takes time and that’s Khalil’s advice for any aspiring barber or entrepreneur. You also have to ask yourself the hard questions like: “Are you built for it? Will you do all the work no one else wants to do? Will you stay the long hours and be able to handle all the downs?” And most importantly, along the way, make sure to pay respect to those that paved the way.
“You know, I want to have an Astroworld for cars. No one’s done it.”
Like many young entrepreneurs, Khalil also experienced firsthand having relationship sour over time because of a stubborn attitude in the beginning. Remember to balance your business and invest in yourself like Angel Raws says while educating yourself financially and preparing for emergencies like Anthony Giannotti says.
Finally, when you get down to hiring, make sure you hire people that can co-exist with all the moving and working parts.
Khalil and his brand TRUST, recently hosted another Clubsport Supper Series event at Sunday Motor Co. at the end of September. The turnout for the themed gathering was amazing – with vintage BMWs and Porsches lining the closed street. In terms of what the future holds for Khalil and this idea of bridging the barbershop and automotive cultures together, he thinks that it’s an ongoing project – incorporating fashion and lifestyle along the way too. He’s basically reliving his life because of all the moments he missed out on behind the chair cutting people’s hair. And he has big ambitions to be the next Travis Scott and bring an Astroworld to the barbering and car communities. We’re all f*cking for it.
Khalil was able to step outside the barbershop while still connecting all the experience and essence of the industry with his passion and love for cars. It’s a lifestyle brand that he’s built and a lot of people are all about it from the turnouts at these car and coffee meets. We look forward to that Astroworld for cars event(s), you know the Tri-State area will go ham for that. If you want to hit up the next event, follow the socials below.
This series was made possible by Squire, the premier barbershop POS software. To learn more, hit up getsquire.com.
Written by Matt Peng
Interview conducted by Curvel Baptiste
Transcription by Olivia Hawkins
Produced by Madeline Carpentiere
Photos via Khalil Malamug