Kenji Prince is not your typical barber – just one short year after graduating from The Hair Experts Barber School, Kenji’s shop “Old Familiar Barber Shop” is thriving. Why? Well, for one thing, Kenji is a cool dude to hang with. But most importantly, he’s a great barber. He spent some years after college getting by with “B.S.” jobs, as he put it, but found his calling when he checked out a barber shop while living in California and found that he loved the environment. So, after returning to Ohio, he enrolled at The Hair Experts Barber School and his journey began!
Kenji didn’t necessarily have the dream to be an owner, but he knew that there was no other barber shop in which he wanted to work. He didn’t feel like he fit in to the other barber shops in town. So, he went about finding a space in the Olde Towne East neighborhood in Columbus to set up shop. Actually, he said the space found him. He already socialized in the neighborhood and knew he could help the up-and-coming neighborhood thrive. When he heard that there was a location available – he grabbed it! Kenji loves Olde Towne East and is proud that he and other business owners have helped build up the reputation of the community. He’s doing the work he loves in a neighborhood that he loves. Not many people are fortunate enough to say that!
Obviously, he has found a career that he loves. But what specifically is it that he loves so much? The hands-on nature of the profession allows him to be artistically expressive, which is very important to him. He also enjoys the rewards of his hard work. He is in charge of his own destiny.
When asked why he thinks they are successful he said it’s because they aren’t trying to be something that they aren’t. They are where they are because they give good cuts. They do not rely on advertising. He feels that some businesses put out too much advertising then get too many people too soon and screw it up. Then that many people think you are not good. He’d rather their reputation and clientele build naturally and by word of mouth. Other keys to his success include having both a quality product (the cut) and a quality service (the experience). If he had to choose, he’d rather have a better experience than cut and he thinks most people feel that way. But no worries, if you go to Old Familiar Barber Shop – you’ll get both!
According to an article written here, Old Familiar Barber shop is “a den for men” and a “clubhouse of sorts”. A place men can go to joke around, relax, and even smoke cigars in an armchair!
While Kenji has found that being a barber and a shop owner can be fun and rewarding, it’s also very hard work. You must be committed to be successful – you must BE there. It’s not unusual for him to put in a 60 hour week.
While in school, Kenji enjoyed learning from the instructors and still considers them friends. He can sometimes be found back at the barber school visiting with the instructors and talking to the students about his experiences.
One surprising thing that Kenji shared was that he is grateful for was the amount of training he received in school in the area of sanitation, bacteriology and safety. He shared that his instructors were sticklers about it and he, too is a stickler for sanitation in his shop. So much that he would welcome an inspection from the Ohio Barber Board every week!
Don’t forget to tell your friends about Old Familiar Barber Shop. Kenji will make sure they’ll get a great cut or shave from a friendly, professional barber in a cool neighborhood!