Brady’s Barber Shop

Owning a business in 2014 is a difficult task, especially when you’re a barber shop owner and your shop is one of many salon options in the neighborhood.

Mike Brady owns a traditional barber shop in Ventura, California. He bought the business in May 2010 from the original owner and changed the name to Brady’s Barber Shop.

Stepping into Brady’s Barber Shop feels like stepping back into a by-gone era. Customers can opt for just a haircut, or a haircut with a shave. Brady is an avid antique collector, and has rocking chairs, desks, and a sitting area decorated to make the customer’s experience in the barber shop feel comfortable and authentic.

Having to rebuild a new customer base over the past few years, Brady hasn’t invested in marketing other than purchasing a few new signs and banners. Instead, he finds that word of mouth and social media like Yelp are his best options for bringing in new customers.

“Yelp provides me with about 99 percent of the new business, and travelers traveling through that need a cut,” he said.

Brady, who comes from a medical background as a respiratory therapist, said it was his own barber back in San Diego that thought Brady would be a good barber himself. At the time in 2008, Brady was leaving the medical field, and wanted to find a job with less stress.

“(Respiratory) therapists tend to wade through a lot of blood and guts, it’s probably more than one person needs to see,” he said. “So I was happy to get out of it.”

Barber school training runs roughly nine months, and then there’s the state board certification process. Brady felt he was prepared for the certification exams, but actually getting out and cutting someone’s hair was another story.

“You have to be able to visualize the hair and what you’re doing with it,” he said.

According to Brady, that was one major issue he struggled with in the beginning, but now, after four years, he feels confident in his hair-cutting abilities.

From his early beginning in the medical industry, Brady can hardly believe he’s ended up on the other side of the barber’s chair.

“I figured I’d die in a flaming, horrific car crash or something long ago,” he said. “Here I am getting aches and pains, and cutting hair. Who would have thought?”

Brady now has enough clients on a regular basis that he’s hired another barber to come in on Saturdays to help him out when the lines start running out the door.