Barbers, Barbershops, Community Leaders, Features

Why 12 Pell Street is boomin’

A fresh concept.

words by: Curvel Baptiste
Jul 25, 2018

There’s a new type of rat race on the blocks of NYC–from major players like Nike and Adidas,  down to cool, local shops in the hood sporting branded spaces–businesses seem to be constantly shifting and creating dynamic experiences for the people who walk in their doors. With these influences, it’s becoming a very tall order to be different. That, in combination with New York’s constant tension between vintage and modern, old vs. new, thought leaders, tastemakers, cultural ambassadors, and entrepreneurs in the city that never sleeps are forced to conceptualize new ways the pendulum can swing to attract the attention of consumers.


One industry that is disrupting the status quo within and setting off a trend, is the men’s grooming industry. Over the last three years men’s grooming has undergone a transformation, resurging as one of bastions of culture. Boomin’ like Benjamin Kickz, it’s garnering lots of attention from a generation that’s hellbent one thing–breaking the rules. This generation has pushed the men’s grooming industry towards reinvention and in the process has made this culture hype. And yes I said HYPE… because hype is what’s driving cultures. Ask Gucci.


Which is why, on a sunny summer morning as I was walking down iconic Pell Street in NYC’s Chinatown after grabbing some dim sum, I had to pause when I passed the unique space that is 12Pell. Stepping in, I was instantly struck by the curation–every style imaginable is there (right now on display is the entire Kanye West Yezzy collection). Indeed the store made me feel like I had stepped into a museum, and I said to myself “this place is dope.” I felt like I had just entered a MoMA pop-up shop. It even included a small write up describing the installation. So, what is this place? Designed to host creative events and sell specialty retail, 12Pell is quickly rising to the top of my list of dope grooming spaces. Step beyond the exclusive retail, and the well blanched thyme mirrors and modern countertops contrast with the striking red chairs to highlight the barber space. It’s refreshing to see a space with so much potential help redefine the new renaissance of the men’s grooming industry. It’s a place where the homies can come come chill, get a cut, hangout, and get advice on fashion, dating, or entrepreneurship.


Karho and Matthew, the masterminds behind 12Pell, were raised in NYC, spending many weekends pounding the streets of Chinatown, and their love for their neighborhood plus their obsession with kicks shows. In a past life, these dudes used to hustle corporate accounts, but now they’re night time hype resellers. It doesn’t take long to recognize the thought and energy that has gone into the design, layout and branding of 12Pell as a concept space is a reflection of the care and attention Karho and Matthew give their customers.


So, why wait? Getting a haircut is so much more than a service—it’s a cultural experience. An experience that takes shape in and out the chair. Make sure to check out the dudes at 12Pell and book your next appointment.

In other Ultra news, check out our behind the scenes of the barber industry NYC (link)