Stephen, please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a registered, Master Barber in the state of North Carolina, USA. I’m excited about my current path because I haven’t always worked in career fields that were good fits for me. I’m fulfilling my purpose now, am able to give to others with the “gift” I’ve been given, and am truly happy. I surround myself with an incredible, successful “circle” and am excited about the future.
How did you become a barber? When did you know that this was going to be your profession
Interesting story, actually. My mom was one of those parents back in the day that would cut my hair in the kitchen every so often with the home hair kit. Sometime around age 14, I started cutting my own hair. It took a little time but I remember grasping the concept pretty early on. I began cutting friends hair in high school. Then I was that guy, during my military service, that was cutting all the guys hair for inspections. All through my life, and whatever job I was doing, I was cutting my own hair, as well as others. As I began “middle age” I grew unhappy with the career I was involved in, so I took a leap of faith and decided to attend barber academy full-time for the sake of happiness. So when did I know it would be my profession? Just four years ago.
You became one of the early Ambassadors of Wiseguy; how has that journey been?
A true blessing. I’m very particular with the products and companies I associate with and have been so incredibly fortunate to work with Mike and the entire Wiseguy crew. They’ve believed in me from my early days as a barber student, and I have gladly reciprocated with my belief in their brand, purpose and products.
How were the last few years for you? It seems like you really coped well with all the challenges?
Covid-19 hit us all in March of 2020. This was right as I was in the home stretch of graduating barber school. Society was “shut down.” I was able to finish and graduate. The first barber shop I was a part of, post-graduation, was tracking to “grand open” two days after our state was allowed to return to work. I was able to hit the ground running with no delay, and that’s when all the “Covid/cavemen haircuts” were abundant. Busy, busy.
What’s your ultimate goal?
I branched out on a solo endeavor and opened my own barber studio on July 19, here in Raleigh, NC. It’s such an exciting time! “Stay Handsome Barber Studio.” This shop offers all the things I love about barbering, and provides the very best experience for my friends, clients and family. This has been a goal of mine. Otherwise, happiness, health, great friends and lots of laughs. The simple things.
What’s your favorite food dish? Do you cook? Does food play an important part in your life?
I really love hibachi-style Japanese. Steak and shrimp. And I do like to cook. I’m a self-proclaimed “black belt” on a charcoal grill and have fine tuned many dishes from the grill over the years. Food is important, yes, but my real love, and nemesis to my middle-aged midsection, is beer.
Which clothing items do you consider to be your evergreens? Or does your style evolve constantly? What about work wear vs casual wear?
I joke when I’m asked about this by saying, “my look is to make people wonder if I am getting ready to ROB the place, or if I OWN the place.” This means that my personal style is a combination of classic and dapper, with biker/Viking. Elements of denim and leather, with suspenders, accessories, caps and ties. It confuses people but it feels so right to me. Jeans and tees on any given normal day, and because of my ice hockey addiction, lots of hockey jersey’s.
Any style icons?
- James Dean
Did you wear braces/suspenders before meeting the Wiseguy Original team? And if not, why not? Any suggestions for people who have never considered wearing suspenders?
Yes. I absolutely did. Back then, it was a look that you’d never see anyone wearing and I’ve always appreciated the classic, throwback men’s looks. Whenever I would wear them, compliments would always happen; ladies especially. They fit perfectly with my personal style. When Wiseguy arrived on the scene, with their fantastic designs, hardware and quality, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of their mission. If you’ve never worn suspenders, start with one pair. Black, navy or brown. Simple. Give it a try. They’re very comfortable and a relief to wearing a belt constantly. Just be prepared to receive those compliments.
Already any favorites in the Wiseguy assortment? Models? Wide, Slim or Skinny? Lobster hooks, clips or Loops? Leather or elastics?
Oh, where do I begin? The Crazy Horse Flex series. Beauties. The “Barber wide” and the “Dealmaker wide” from the Dapper Series get a lot of wear. My go-to’s and favorites have to be the "Schorem Barber Pole Wide". Both Dapper series and leather. I use all the mounting hardware because of all the ways I wear my Wiseguy’s.
Any fun anecdotes about yourself which most people don’t know about you yet?
Most people are surprised to find out that I’m actually a very introverted person. Quiet. Barbering is very social and my Instagram page would lead someone to believe that I’m always on the go with my hair on fire. Not true at all.