Women-owned barbershop captures Park City audience
Barbarian Barbering Company open, serving both men and women
October 21, 2017
When Jenna Elise and Chelsey Rose met each other five years ago, it did not take long for them to decide to one day open their own barbershop. Last month, they did.
Rose and Elise, who first worked together in barbershops in Salt Lake City, recently opened Barbarian Barbering Company after coming to Park City in 2015 to work at the Electric Chair Barbershop on Main Street. When the owner closed the shop, the pair decided to stay put. After years in the business, it was time to realize their dream and open their own shop in Park City.
"We're pretty proud that we are women-owned and women-operated, which is kind of hard and almost looked down on in the barbering world," Elise said. "We decided to emphasize it and make that part of our brand. We cater to men, but we are women."
The branding shift proved successful. This time last year, Rose said, it was a ghost town at the shop. Now, they are seeing several customers a day. Part of that is because of the time they invested in marketing and branding themselves to strong men that want a hair and/or beard trim and nothing more.
"It's a little bit rough around the edges, but we still like to keep things clean and straight forward," Rose said.
Elise also attributes it to the clientele that they have built in the last year. Rose caters to the businessmen and Elise said she tends to get the more "local bar tenders that want to stay a little grizzly but be groomed."
Recommended Stories For You
"We've gained a lot of community support just being here for as long as we have," Rose said. "They've kind of seen our journey through all of this."
Elise and Rose also have support within the barbering community. They know that not every client is the same, so if some prefer Billy's Barbershop around the corner, they tell their guests to go for it.
"There's no reason to compete," Rose said. "Everyone needs a haircut. There is plenty of clientele out there that there is no reason to get snarky."
Both Elise and Rose have a passion for what they do. They started their careers working in salons doing make-up, stage work and fashion, but quickly discovered that their appointment books were usually filled with men, and that is what they preferred.
"The barbering industry feels less like a peacock industry, where you have to be bright and shiny and (have) the biggest presentation," Rose said. "You can just be yourself."
Embracing themselves is partly how they decided on their name as well. While working at a barbershop in the past, they were joking around with some clients who called them "barbaric." Rose looked at Elise and decided that it fit. They saved the name for a few years until they finally could put it on the outside of their business.
"When we had renovated everything, Chelsey and I stood out there on the road and looked at our sign," Elise said. "I broke down bawling. I was like, 'Oh my God. We're finally here. I can't believe it.'"
Business is doing better than expected too, they said. Plus, they have been surprised to see more and more women who do not want an extravagant salon treatment coming through their doors.
With their entrepreneurial mindset, Elise and Rose hope to open another location in the future and start doing education programs and apprenticeships. They also plan to create their own product line.
For now, they are happy and excited to be where they are and doing what they love.
"We want everybody to be able to come here and feel comfortable and also be able to laugh at themselves a little bit," Rose said.