Today we’d like to introduce you to Sergio Melgar.
Sergio, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started working in Downey for a friend that let me work while I went to school and got my license. I knew I was gonna end up cutting hair because my mom also cut hair in her own salon for many years. I didn’t want to settle for cutting hair without trying other jobs first. You know, just to see if I decided something else was my calling. I worked many different jobs (some good, some bad) but in the end, barbering called to me after watching the type of atmosphere a barbershop brought like the one my friend owned. After five years, I decided to go from walk-ins only to appointments because I had too many people waiting for me and I never ended up leaving at the time I wanted. In those five years, I learned how to cut every style and type of hair that sat in my chair. From curly to straight. Thickest to thinnest. From hairiest to baldest. I had to cut anyone from the oldest of seniors to the smallest of babies (I made it my own policy never to cut a baby under six months though) that walked through those doors. Cutting hair taught me so many things from patience to how to read a person before they even sat in the chair. After 14 years and many co-workers whom I grew to appreciate, respect and love as brothers, I decided that my best place was in my own place. I looked for six months until finally finding a place here in the city of Pico Rivera.
Not too far from my customers (many of whom after years of cutting their hair, I considered friends) so that I could stay connected to them. Luckily for me I was blessed with good skills. Not just cutting but being able to connect with people on more than just a basic barber level. I would say about 85% of my clientele followed me to my new shop. I started my business September 2019 and right as I felt my business starting to establish itself, the pandemic hit. Luckily I survived and my shop is starting to see greener pastures. We pass out flyers on cars every chance we get and more and more people are starting to notice we are here and open for business. There was a restaurant next to us (don’t know if you’ve heard of it) called culichitown that just relocated so now I have to deal with less walking traffic but if my shop managed to survive the pandemic, I’m sure we can manage without a restaurant next to us. I currently have three employees plus myself and am always looking for new barbers who can help me lead a new era here at Ares barbershop. BTW, the business is named after my son. Always said, if I got my own shop, I’d name it after him.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Once I opened, the pandemic hit not too long after. I’ve struggled to stay afloat, doing what I can and what I need to stay open and visible to the people here. Now that the pandemic is slowing down and things are starting to normalize, the major restaurant next to me has decided to relocate. Another obstacle in my way but just like the pandemic, nothing that will stop this shop from succeeding and becoming a staple of the city.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Unlike New age barbers, I and all my employees can use machines or scissors (specially scissors). I can cut any style and can do designs with ease. Hair salon styles are no problem here. We try to keep the atmosphere chill, Relaxed, and comfortable. Try to keep customers on a positive level so when they leave, they are satisfied with the work we’ve done for them. A lot of them are surprised we offer free water and alcohol if they desire (one free beer per customer). Between myself and the other employees, we provide over 75 years of experience.
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
Luck depends on how positive of an outlook you have on life and business. I can’t say I’ve always been lucky but to be perfectly honest, I consider myself very lucky to have been able to cut and keep cutting a lot of my customers hair, some of whom I’ve cut for over a dozen years and others who now bring me their kids as well. Customers who not only come by themselves but also bring their brothers, father and father in law together. Bad luck has never had a long stay in my professional life but it has shown up at my doorstep to remind me never to get past my own ego. I’m currently a single father and can actually say I’ve had some customers who have been coming to me longer than I had been with my son’s mom and we were together for seven years! Lol
- Walk ins $25
- Appointments $30
- Extra work (beards) depends on the work being done
- Full towel shave $25-30
- Designs depend on the design being done
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Instagram.com/ares_barbershop
- Facebook: Ares barbershop
- Yelp: Ares barbershop
- Other: Instagram.com/barber_serg
Boxes plus for the work on my images. Buckrepublic for the logos.