JJ Savani, also known by Jeet A. Savani, is a huge proponent of self-care, and his luxury grooming services and incredible skill keeps clients coming back. But there’s more to a groomer than their know-how, or being a part-time therapist as you sit in the chair. Behind the chair, off the tools, what is a creative like off-duty?
One of the biggest takeaways you can get from JJ Savani’s story is that life twists and turns in unexpected ways. But it’s those experiences that not only make life worth living, but give you the clarity and confidence to achieve more than you can ever realize. As they say, it’s not about the destination, but the journey.
So where does his start?
From healthcare to the festival circuit
JJ Savani is known for luxury barbering, grooming, and content creation. But back in the day, barbering was a fun hobby, not a career—education came first in his family.
“I was brought up from like, a strict Asian background,” he says. “You had to go to uni (university), you had to have a study and education, et cetera. So I went to uni and studied management psychology. I did corporate and occupational psychology in terms of learning styles. And then I did corporate management. I then got taken on by the NHS, and I was part of the corporate team.”
So, he was training doctors and nurses on leadership styles, medical training, and everything under that umbrella. And if you’re thinking the money was great, it was. But it wasn’t fulfilling. After 6 years, he’d realized that teaching was the part he truly loved. So he took a year to travel and see where life took him. You’ll never guess where.
Spinning the tables
“I was a big mainstream DJ,” he says. “I was just traveling around the world, like, just DJ-ing at extra festivals and like, mainstream big, open-ended gigs.” Spinning and mixing took him from Dubai, to Australia and Thailand. And sometimes, when backstage and mingling, he’d notice a fade that was a little off or a jacket that was a little dusty.
“I’m like ‘Yo…let me just fix it up for you,'” he says. But he didn’t leave without reminding the artist, “‘Gimme a shout out on the Gram.’ And that’s how I built my social media. That was my market. I built that sort of clientele.”
Crazy, right? It’s not easy to have the courage to see where life takes you, but sometimes, it works out. And after the year was up, he weighed going back into healthcare, but had a life-altering experience that cemented his love for grooming and teaching.
One experience can change everything
“I lost my vision in both eyes,” the keratoconus survivor says. “Both of these eyes are actually transplants…So I was blind for like, two years.” He was told he couldn’t do an office job—his eyes wouldn’t let him sit in front of a computer for more than an hour a day. So…healthcare was officially out. But not barbering. Again, the journey.
“So, I’m taking every day as it comes.” Sure, there are days he doesn’t feel 100%, but that happens with everyone. But he’s never going to stop working or creating, because that’s what fuels him. And his tattoos are reminders of important, life-changing moments in his life—from eye surgery to barbering. “Each tattoo tells a story.” And his doesn’t stop there.
“I’ll always sway towards barbering and content creation because to me, this is not work. I get paid to basically have fun. That’s how I do, whether it’s cut hair, whether it’s educate, I’m getting paid to have fun.”
The transition back to male grooming
After getting back in the game, he realized that there was more to barbering than teaching up-and-coming barbers how to hold clippers. What about their business skills?
“How do you up (a) skill? How do you upsell? How do you grow your business as a barber right now? You’ve been cutting for 20 years. Alright, cool. But how do you take it to that next level? And that’s what was pushing me.”
Using his educational background, JJ was able to blend his love of teaching and business savvy to give students a world-class education in business as a barber. And that was the true pay day for him.
“I don’t do barbering for money. I don’t do education for the money. It’s truly because I enjoy seeing the people around me grow, that’s the reward for me,” he says. That rings true, even in the services he provides.
He makes every client feel like a superstar, taking the time to get to know them and their current routine. He then creates a personal routine that fits their lifestyle and needs. So it’s no surprise that, when you pull the curtain back even further, you’ll find way more to him than the surface.
JJ Savani off the tools
“I’ll always sway towards barbering and content creation because to me, this is not work. I get paid to basically have fun. That’s how I do, whether it’s cut hair, whether it’s educate, I’m getting paid to have fun. I’ve never had to think on a Sunday night, ‘Let me call in sick tomorrow because I don’t wanna work on a Monday.'”
Content creation is what fuels him. Barbering is what’s fun to him. And he loves fashion and fragrances, too. JJ is a jack of all trades, and it was his major life changes that brought him here. He still hits up the turntables in his spare time, though. He edits and lives every day to the fullest. And that’s why his series, Off The Tools, is about capturing creatives living their full lives, too.
Similar to JJ Savani, Coco, founder of MOBAR Barbershop, chops it up with us for a behind-the-scenes look at the business of barbering.
Photos via JJ Savani