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man weave

Wade The Barber is “Installing” Confidence, One Man Weave At a Time

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By now, most of us have seen online images of guys in barber chairs getting what’s now commonly called a man weave. This hair procedure is the latest addition to the already booming Black haircare market.

One of the most well known experts in this area is Maryland based Master barber and certified hair loss specialist, Wade Menendez aka Wade the Barber. We chatted with him to find out more about his business and this rapidly growing segment of the hair industry.

Wade The Barber

How did you get stated cutting hair and how did you decide to turn it into a profession?

I started cutting my hair at the age of 7 yrs old. After jacking myself up many times I started getting good and the same people that used to tease me about my haircuts started asking me to cut their  hair. I tried working many jobs but nothing gave me the same fulfilling feeling as barbering.

Photo credit:NPR

I ended up going to barber school after a while, got my license and started working at a barbershop and the rest was history. I think barbering is also in my blood. My dad would cut us sometimes, my uncle was a barber, and my great grand father was a shop owner.

man weave

How did you raise capital to start you first shop?

I got denied from the bank when I first went to open my own shop. After getting denied I started saving my money even more in preparation to branch out on my own. Before a man builds a house he must first count the cost and prepare. While I was preparing and saving money, I had a few clients that randomly approached me about helping me get a shop.
I feel that God sent them as angels to push me faster than I had planned. They funded the difference of what I needed to get started. They were a true blessing and just wanted to see me win!

What is the most challenging and the most rewarding thing about running your business?

The most challenging for me is dealing with unprofessional barbers and finding barbers that have great skill, great hearts and integrity. Most times its either or you’ll have a person with skill but a terrible personality, or a person with a great personality but haven’t mastered the skill yet.
I’ve been blessed with a good team, but sometimes you will have some barbers that challenge you in many ways and I hate micro managing and baby sitting grown people.
Another challenge is helping barbers grow their business and then they leave wrong or with out proper notice after you’ve helped them get to where they are.
On the other hand, having a business is rewarding. I love helping people and being able to create a certain good atmosphere where people can come and feel at peace while getting their hair cut.
We help the community a lot as well. I have a non profit that I started a year ago that’s been going well. I love when people tell me I have one of the best shops in the area. It really makes me feel like I’m on the right track and making an impact.

Why did you decide to start offering male hair units or “man weaves” and what has the response been so far?

I started doing the hair units after seeing an amazing natural hair technician add hair to dreadlocs at my shop. Until then, I had never seen an afro hair weave, only the Brazilian hair the ladies wear. LOL!

She told me where she got the hair and I started experimenting. I told myself that there has to be a way we can do this for balding men and women.

With trial and error and a few hair stylists showing what they knew, the rest was history. It’s a great feeling to now be able to help men from all over the world.

People now travel to my little city in Maryland from all over the world to get the service done. There have been some people that weren’t for it at first but it’s been four years now and it has become more and more accepted. I saw a need and just tried to fill it!

Guys lives have literally changed, just from having hair again. When I hear the stories of how their confidence has shot up after getting a hair unit it lets me know I’m walking in my purpose.

You have branded yourself as more than just a barber. Do you feel its important for other barbers or hairstylists to do the same?

Your brand is everything. How do you want people to perceive you. I have marketed myself to be more than just a barber that cuts in a barbershop.
I’ve always tried to branch out because I never wanted to be the average. Nothing wrong with being average but thats not what I wanted out of life. I’ve been blessed to be talented in a lot of areas so I’m just trying to use the gifts God has given me while I’m here on earth!

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

In the next 5 years i’ll have barber schools and salons located in multiple cities so be on the look out. I’ve been doing more and more education.
I have had the pleasure to train over 300 barbers and stylist so far on how to do this service so I believe thats the route I’m going in. We have some big things planned for the near future.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I would say to aspiring entrepreneurs to figure out what your passionate about and follow that. Be professional, Brand and market yourself.  Be your best you at all times. It will take you farther than you think. Make sure you have integrity and stay positive no one likes the negative energy, it will have you missing out on many opportunities.
Make sure you look the part, people see you before they hear you and how you present yourself in many cases will determine how people respect you as well.
Last thing would be, be a good stewart over your money and what you get. Learn to save and invest for your future and not be so caught up in immediate gratification such as expensive clothes, always hanging out, cars and flossing for your friends.
You can reach Wade at 

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

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