Forbes on The Spot Barbershop: Branding success innovation.

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God Is Good: How The Spot Barbershop® Created A Very Successful Brand With Thanks To The Grace Of God

A good haircut can’t compensate for hair that is in bad condition. But good style can be sure to make hair look even better. Many times hairdresser and barbers will play the role of a king, ordaining what looks best for a client they have never even seen before, this approach seldom works. Given the most common grooming complaint from men across the nation is that their hair never looks the way they want it to, obviously a good fellow shan’t be passive in a barber’s chair.  I suggest for you to give yourself and honest self-appraisal and a firm resolve which are both essential for a man aiming to put his hairstyle to work.  Then he must communicate his desires to a stylist.

In short, choosing a style hinges on one’s life-style, age, personality and career. Currently, well trimmed is well received – especially at the office on the ladder to corporate ascension.  It is important for me to highlight to you that a man can reasonably go to any lengths he decides as long as he knows in advance what impression he’ll make.  In a word, the California surfer look is great in Santa Monica but quite questionable in a corporate hierarchy.

Now then, when it comes to facial hair, I thought it might be of interest to let you aware that at a distant point in prehistory, many men started yanking the hairs fro their faces by implanting sharpened clamshells. Alas, the clean face came into fashion.  Although modern shaving is far easier than the peculiar methods that had been practiced in the past, some residual primitive instinct still manifests itself through beards and moustaches to grow back into popularity from time to time.

Brothers JC and Fredis Perdomo opened The Spot Barbershop® in 2001 as children of an immigrant mother, the brothers have created a mini empire with 15 locations in South Florida.

In the first 6 months, The Spot Barbershop® team went from a 450 SQFT location to an 800 SQFT location and from 5 barbers to 10. Today, The Spot has 11 locations, 87 barbers and recently expanded into the female market with Blos.Roses. Next, they hope to have 12 more shops and 200 barbers. Fredis and JC came from a background of hard working family members. Their mother, being their biggest influence immigrated to the United States in 1982 from Honduras, leaving them behind so that she could work, save money and bring them into a stable life. She struggled and sacrificed for her children, leaving a major impression on both boys. When Fredis was 14, he borrowed his uncles cutting machine for the first time to give a friend a haircut. Then, a week later, the same friend came back for another cut, this time with another eager customer. Word began to spread about how Fredis was cutting hair (and was good at it) and so his book of business began to grow. He continued to cut hair throughout all of high school in order to save money for his first shop, which he opened in 2001 with his brother JC in Little Havana, Florida.

From there, the brother’s small family owned business began to be noticed by investors. Proposals were made and deals were signed. Then, Diana Hernandez joined the entrepreneurial powerhouse as a VP, Partner and creative behind the brand and design of each location. Designed to be a true gentleman’s experience and a hideaway from every man’s day-to-day hustle, the founders spared no expense in creating a unique aesthetic within each space. Travel back in time to a one-of-a-kind barbershop providing a sense of home and comfort, in a relaxed environment with superb service. Every location has a twist on a rustic and vintage, industrial design theme. All of the vintage barber chairs are placed nicely adjacent to the exposed brick walls, lots of edgy artwork, and even antique motorcycles and car parts. Comfy chairs are inviting, as well as the library full of contemporary books. If you’re not interested in some light reading while you wait for your service, you can enjoy the 1960s, 70’s, and 80’s music playing in the background.

The Spot Barbershop® has created a sophisticated, stylish and recognizable brand in a rising niche market and is always one step ahead of what every man thinks they need when it comes to their barbershop, including great prices. By creating an experience, not just as service, The Spot set out to bridge the gap between the $15 barbershop and the $60 salon by offering full-service haircuts and facial grooming for an average of $30, they also offer manicures, pedicures, and waxing services, which start at just $15.  The Spot is the only barbershop in Miami that leverages technology to reshape the barber experience, providing a platform where clients have the ability to research each barber via Instagram, looking at their previous work, awards won, etc. and the best part – no more waits or lines, clients can be in and out in 30 mins. The Spot takes pride in ensuring that all barbers are knowledgeable and passionate about classic barbering, for every client a consultation is conducted to ensure the experience is tailored and customized to each individual’s needs and desires.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Risco, COO about how Spot Barbers staff is uniquely talented in comparison to other Barber shops, what the biggest grooming problem he aims to fix in men’s grooming and why he proclaims why it is important to keep hair and beard in style with respect to work and dressing for success?

Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about the history, launch date of The Spot Barbershop®

Mike Risco:The Spot Barbershop® welcomed its first clients way back in 2001 in an area of Miami, FL known as Little Havana. Fredis Perdomo just wanted to cut hair. It was something he was really good at it and it was a way to make money for himself and his family. But Freddy had a vision of more than just cutting hair. He wanted to provide the best grooming experience possible; but he was limited with time and funds to really achieve what he wanted. So Freddy stayed grinding it out for years until he joined forces with his big brother, Juan Carlos. With their drive and determination, they were able to open a bigger shop and add more members to the team. The buzz began to grow about the quality of the haircuts and also the service Freddy and his team of master barbers provided. After several years and many connections and friendships made, plus the addition of Diana Hernandez, designer of the shops, The Spot Barbershop® has become a Miami staple in the grooming industry. To make an impact in men’s grooming in Miami is not an easy accomplishment; there are several quality shops to choose from. But, we strive to be the best and we feel we are doing a great job at that so far. The Spot recently opened its 11th location in Miami-Dade County and this month we will open our doors to our first location in Ft. Lauderdale with plans to continue to expand North.

Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what is your competitive advantage in the market?

Mike Risco:For men to give a new barbershop and barber a try is very difficult. But, the moment you step into a Spot Barbershop, you can feel the difference in every way. Customer Service, ambiance and atmosphere; from the music we play or the complimentary drinks served to everyone that enters the shop; once you walk in, the experience is better in every way. The services we provide; Hot Towel Shaves, Black Mask facials, ear and nose waxing, manicure and pedicure… We want our customers to come to us for whatever grooming they need. Our biggest edge though, is that we only hire the BEST in the industry. Our competitive pay and the way we treat our team members is what really separates us from the pack. Great barbers want to but at our shops. So, for a customer, not only is the experience in our shop better from the moment you enter, but also so is the amazing way you look and feel in the end.

Joseph DeAcetis: Walk us through the experience at The Spot Barbershop®

Mike Risco: The Spot focuses on the all-around grooming experience and that begins from the moment you walk in. The music playing will be satisfying and pleasant and so will be the person that greets you… You are asked what kind of refreshment you would like, coffee, soda, whisky, and rum?? If you are a regular client, most likely you have our The Spot app, available on IOS and soon Android, where you can choose your location, barber and time, and even pay and leave a tip! The app is amazing and saves so much time, the clients and barbers love it. Otherwise, if you are walk or first time customer you are treated equally as pleasant and asked what services you wanted to have. A hot towel shave and haircut are the most popular services and once experienced, you will know why.

Joseph DeAcetis: How are your Barbers unique in comparison to other Barbershops

Mike Risco:Our barbers are our partners. We work together. When he or she joins the team, we show them how to better themselves and their business. Some come from cash-only shops and never had a bank account or insurance. We help them with that. Many young barbers also need training in all aspects; speed, quality of haircuts and also general customer service. We provide an experience, not just a cool haircut, so many will need to learn new skills. We provide all the knowledge we have attained in our 18 years in the business and 11 successful shops… Some will adapt and some will not, but we aim to make them the best, and only keep the best on the team.

Joseph DeAcetis: What is the biggest grooming problem you see with consumers?

Mike Risco:Consumers are not sure what they want, that’s their biggest problem. Most men have never had a quality haircut. They run into whatever barbershop down the street and get the same haircut they always have or maybe pay a crazy amount of money in a salon because they don’t know any better and lack the experience in what good men’s grooming is. Getting the right shape of haircut, getting rid of the excess nose and ear hairs or fixing that unibrow. Things they don’t even notice it, but our barbers do and make better.

Joseph DeAcetis: How do you address or fix those problems?

Mike Risco:We try to show our customers how it should be an experience, not just an in-and-out task. The average consumer needs to be shown what its like to sit with your barber and discuss your style and look and really enjoy the process from the shampoo, to the haircut and styling to the warm shave. Its a clean look they didn’t even know they were capable of achieving. The Spot is a place that honestly improves people’s lives by making them feel better about themselves.

 Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about why the message of God is Good is apparent in your signage and clothing

Mike Risco:God is good. What makes this phrase special is that it’s different to everyone. We are not speaking about any certain religion or faith. God can be whoever or whatever you want God to be. But God is good is a term that we believe means; YOU should always be good as well. We have Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Jewish and even atheist barbers. To us none of that matters as long as you are a good person and treat people with respect.

Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what do have to offer men coming into your shop.

Mike Risco:To any man entering our shops, this is your Spot. We want you to come and be comfortable at all times. Whether you’re enjoying a coffee or cocktail while you wait, sitting in the chair getting groomed or paying once you’re done, this is your Spot. It’s your hour to be chill, have good conversations and for once, you are the one getting pampered. Getting a good, quality haircut while getting a manicure and watching the big game on ESPN simultaneously, is an experience every mans should look forward to at least a few times a month.

Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes in detail about the hot shave process? 

Mike Risco:The Hot Towel shave must be experienced to be appreciated. Your barber knocks the chair back a bit to makes you as comfortable as possible while a warm towel is precisely placed around your neck and face. As the steam machine blasts on you and the barber prepares his blades, you almost fall asleep. He removes the towel and adds the warm shaving cream and the barber begins to carefully shave and massage your neck and face. After that he wipes you clean and adds a subtle after-shave cream; you feel like a new man. Which is why we like to call it The Royal Shave at our shops.

Joseph DeAcetis: If you could choose one celebrity to style and groom, which would be and why?

Mike Risco:I asked Freddy about this one… His instant response was George Clooney. Because George has probably had the best grooming experiences around the world and we are up for that challenge! He looks like he would appreciate a great Royal Shave from The Spot!

Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about how technology aided you in the development of your brand both product make-up and e-commerce?  Details please. 

Mike Risco:Technology has really changed from when The Spot first opened in 2001. Back then it was word of mouth and the quality of the cuts that would drive people to our location. The scissors and machines have obviously improved but what has changed our business for the better is computers and social media. Our app really separates us now from the competition. The booking and paying procedures makes it so much more convenient to our customers and barbers rather than the old school calling the shop or texting your barbers… now you know who’s available and when, plus you can book and pay without bothering anyone. Then there is social media. Our Instagram page now has almost 30,000 followers from all over the world. People come into our shop when they are on vacation in Miami because they have seen our locations and haircuts online and they want to experience it for themselves. We also use a lot of paid Ads on Facebook and IG, which drives new customers to our shops but also gets our brand name out there to new areas where we plan to expand to in the future.

Joseph DeAcetis: What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

Mike Risco:As C.O.O. of The Spot Classic Barbershop I oversee day to day operations of the company and deal with current and new investors. I also communicate with the corporate partners and board on the status of each location, total sales and any issues that may arise. All of our locations are corporately owned and operated. Some have different investors that we operate as joint ventures, so I communicate directly with each investor about their respected location. We currently have 12 shops, each with a manager, which handles the daily responsibilities, such as ordering supplies and also overseeing the other barbers and handling customers. We then have our district and area managers, which oversee all the locations from an operational standpoint and make sure the location managers, are doing their jobs accordingly. Also on the Corporate team is Diana Hernandez, our CMO for Marketing and Yaddiel Marin, our CEO who oversees the company as a whole and our future expansion.

 Joseph DeAcetis: Why is it important to keep hair and beard in style with respect to work and dressing for success?

Mike Risco:It’s amazing how often a man is judged by his appearance. A scruffy beard and bad haircut could be the difference in a man getting a job or a lesser qualified, but better groomed candidate getting hired. It’s just a way society perceives a well-groomed gentleman versus a “slob”. It’s not always accurate or fair, but making the simple effort of getting a shave and a haircut could change a person’s life. We have seen it happen.

Joseph DeAcetis: You have the floor: Talk to my viewers about why they should make an appointment now

Mike Risco:You owe it to yourself to experience The Spot. You work hard. You deserve to take an hour to yourself and make sure you look and feel your best when you start the day, every day. Whether its just a quick haircut or you want the works like the Royal Shave or a manly manicure and pedicure, The Spot is where you will find the what you never knew you needed.

Joseph DeAcetis: What are you future projections and growth strategy for the next few years?

Mike Risco:The Spot plans to have 20 corporate locations within the next year. We have been approached to expand outside of Florida several times but want our growth to be strategic and organic. We are currently working on our franchise documents and plan to begin the process to be all over the US in the coming years. So far all of our moves have panned out well and we plan to stick to our ways of growing internally as well as branching outside of our territories soon. We know that The Spot will be well received anywhere we go and plan to spread our positive ways and expertise in men’s grooming for many years to come. God Is Good!!