I’ve been here a year and a half and the way it came about was, men lie, women lie, but haircuts don’t. TruCutz is a place where you can come and see how your haircut is because its in your face. But I kept driving by this location every day and I just decided “man, its either now or never”. I never knew when the perfect time would come, but when I kept seeing this place available, I knew I was close to ready in terms of my finances. So I just took a leap of faith. Growing up on South Beach and then coming to an area that I never hung out at or friends at, I just said to myself that if I can make this business work here, I can do it anywhere. My craft, as long as I am consistent, I know its going to bubble. I signed the lease and walked in with one chair and now I have five. I had faith in myself and a year and a half later, I’m still here. I’m very blessed and fortunate. But it took a lot of hard work. A lot of people think that because I have a shop or that if you open a business, you don’t work as much. But I’m working MORE. I’m not just cutting hair now. I have to worry about four other people’s personalities, their timing, customer service, the cleaning, the marketing, all that. I’m also a janitor technically. It just keeps me humble, but I’ll get a service to do all that eventually. And I always say that if you’re not happy happy with pennies, you’ll never be happy with dollars. You have to treat every situation in life to its brightest. Keep running.
These are all antique chairs from the 1950’s and the 1960’s. I have Belmont chairs and Koch chairs. Back in the day, barbering was real traditional to where you always got a hot towel shave. And these were the chairs that were used when all of that started. They’re really heavy and the metal they were made with were from the same companies that made hospital beds, chairs and such. Now, the chairs that are made now are a lot weaker. These old chairs will and have lasted a lot longer than the new chairs. I like trying to keep barbering traditional. I’ve had older guys that sit in my chairs and have memories because these chairs are hand-pumped, not with your feet. And all of that brings memories to them. One guy remembered the time his dad took him to his first haircut and he remembered that he sat on a Belmont chair. He started thinking and remembering so much that he got kind of emotional. He felt an energy just sitting on the chair. When I get the older crowd, I like it because they’re the ones that appreciate the fact that I’m young and I bring that detail with the chairs here to TruCutz. But we also put some of the newer model barber’s chairs and put them alongside the waiting areas so clients can sit in them while they wait.
Its the Miami Vice era colors. I made it to the colorway of the shop with that show in mind because the fluorescent teal and pink colors just bring life. They’re live colors. And it represents and ties back to South Beach, which is where I’m from. But the main reason I really stuck to the color is because my favorite basketball player, LeBron James, who I was actually both of his sons’ barber for the time he was here in Miami…but he released the South Beach “Lebron’s” and the whole sneaker is gray, pink and teal. Well that was and is my favorite sneaker. And since again I’m from South Beach, it kind of all just made sense. A lot of people say that they don’t know too many people (if any) that grew up on South Beach. So I also got the scene of Ocean Drive hotels painted on one wall, the floor is painted gray so that’s the street and the barbers and the clients are the people, and in the other wall its the Atlantic Ocean. A lot of people just go to the beach to travel, or hang out, but a lot of people have actual lives there and grew up there. So its all there to remind people where I’m from.
So basically before I opened my shop, I had a bigger clientele for celebrities and athletes. But the one that jumps out the most to everybody is LeBron James. And its funny because I always had a poster on my wall saying I’m going to cut this guy’s hair one day. And I was reading this book The Secret to put what you want on a poster and you look at it everyday and really think about it, and it happens. So I had a client that was a concierge that eventually plugged me up with LeBron. I ended up going to LeBron’s house once a week to cut his son’s (Bronny and Bryce) hair for about three years. LeBron himself had a barber, but his barber didn’t cut his kids’ hair. But whenever LeBron’s barber wasn’t available, I was second up and I cut his hair as well, which ended up being like four or five times. It was surreal to be in his living room and see him watching himself on TV or watching classic playoff games from the 80’s or 90’s. Doing his homework. He’s great and still finds ways to still try to improve and I saw that for myself.
Cutting Stuart Scott was also another memorable experience for me. I remember watching ESPN and he was the coolest dude on there. He would be so proper, yet still find his connection to people in the urban community. But I found out he had cancer before a lot of people knew he did. Its tough to see somebody live and go through that. He was and is a legend. He was the main reason I started watching ESPN.
What got me to this point is really having no other choice. I had no other outlook, no other choice, no help and have no inheritances. My mother taught me and gave me enough where I never had to steal or do stuff on the streets. But I caught this at a young age. So doing that and having no other source, that’s why I’m here. I also have two daughters. I want to give my daughters a good life too. I have a WIITNESS design (also inspired by LeBron’s ‘Witness’ saying) and the roman numeral “II” stands for my daughters. I also have it tattooed on my arm. But all this all was years in the making and there’s no stopping. As long as I’m healthy, I can only go one direction because of how focused I am and how much I love doing this. I sometimes like being here more than home. Before family, girlfriends, and kids, this is what I always wanted. It also went from me trying to make money, to money working for me now. That’s the concept. You can chase money your whole life, but if its not working for you then once you stop working, there’s no more money. The fact that I can sit down and still generate money, its an awesome thing. Its a great feeling.
Growing up on South Beach, it was always difficult trying to find a place to get a fade or a tape. So I went over the bridge to Allapattah, which was my first real experience at a barbershop. Allapattah is all about the Dominican culture and there’s this guy that used to cut my hair when I was little and his name was Panama at a barbershop called Kuky Estilo on 36th and 17th. The barbershop still exists today. I remember being young and not being able to go as frequent so whenever I’d go, I’d just want to be at the barbershop watching the barbers cut hair. My mom would drop me off and tell me to call her when I was ready and she’d always just have to show up at the shop to force me to go because I’d stay there for the longest time just learning and watching and not call her. I was just hanging out, sweeping, and basically interning at 9 years old. From watching them at Kuky to meeting my mentor Panama to working at the first barbershop I ever worked for called Kontrol Barbershop (on 28th and 17th), which was also in Allapattah and was co-founded by Panama. And its funny because they all remember seeing me when I was little and took me as a joke, but when the new shop opened, I was legit. I went from meeting my mentor to working with him and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. He taught me how to really hustle and really get it in. Without him, I really don’t know where I would be. And Kontrol was named after the other co-owner Kontrol, and he was just about the technique and style. His skills as far as barbering was where I wanted to be because of the way he would use the blade and he’s the reason I’m good with it till this day. He didn’t talk much, but I learned a lot from Kontrol, I definitely can’t leave him out.
I’ve had so many different souls and stories coming from people sitting in these chairs. I know things about people’s lives and stories about their wives. Its crazy how people sit in these chairs and really trust you. They feel better and they come here to vent. They just pour it out. Like one guy came in and then in conversation told me he caught his girlfriend cheating. He went through her phone and saw a text message conversation under his name, but it wasn’t his conversation with her whatsoever. So come to find out his name on her phone had two numbers. One was under ‘home’, which was his. And the other was under ‘wor’k, which was the guy she was messing with. We were all like “wow”. Girls do it better than guys sometimes and we were just like man, she was coldhearted. But either way, yeah man, that’s what a lot of guys talk about especially when you get older. You either worry about money or your relationships and that’s what you usually end up talking about here.