Despite being a rapidly growing city, Austin’s tight-knit communities give it a small town feel. Ok, so a lot of it has to do with running into people continuously because you have the same favorite haunts, but there’s a lot to be said about the familiarity and closeness that can be found throughout the city and the businesses in it. (The Cheers theme song knew what it was talking about.)
Situated next to Fair Bean Coffee on South 1st St., SHED Barbershop is a perfect example of a local community. One that happens to be able to make you look good while you shoot the breeze with each other. But it’s not your typical barbershop and there’s much more behind it than great haircuts, razor shaves or beard trims. They have”Old-Fashioned Fridays” parties with local food, a DJ and, of course, Old Fashioneds. They also have showcases during SXSW and anniversary parties to celebrate their success with the community, not just with the staff.
Events are important in making you feel like part of a business as a customer, but a huge part of that feeling is the staff and whether or not you feel they genuinely care about your choice to come there over other shops. HELM headed over one morning before SHED opened to meet the owners, Michael Regino and Chris Applegate, so we could snap some photos of them and pick the brains of fellow local business owners. Right away they made us feel like home, joking around and acting like we had met them multiple times before. Their conversation with each other was casual and playful, making it easy to see that they had known each other for years. (They used to be in a band together; understandable why music is such a prominent element in the shop.) What would have normally been a quick in-and-out photoshoot, ended up running until just about opening time, as staff started arriving for the day, each one joking around with Michael and Chris as they walked by. It was easy to be distracted by the conversation and the witty banter, losing track of time in the eclectic and comfortable environment with its wall-mounted scythes and artfully decorated stations.
We eventually had to let them start their day, so we headed out, but not before we asked them a few questions about going from band to business, and what sets them apart from other barbershops.
For someone who may not know about SHED, how would you describe the business and how it is run differently from other shops?
M: SHED is the barbershop for the guy looking for a relaxed and low stress environment where he can BS with the barber cutting his hair and step out of the everyday grind that is life.
C: We look at the shop as a community in and of itself that represents where we want to see the larger community heading. Service is absolutely the most important aspect, not just in words, but in actions. Our barbers and staff are a part of the shop community as equals with our customers, so they interact within that community with love and respect.
What aspects of being in a band have carried over into being a business owner?
M: The biggest one was being able to take criticism on a creative idea and not being stubborn if the idea can be improved. Chris and I have no problem telling each other that our ideas aren’t good. But we respect each other enough to offer a solution that will be better. Most people can’t get over the fact that their idea, good or bad, isn’t always the best one. Once you overcome that you can create something great. Also, it’s worth pouring a lot of time, effort, money and sacrifice into something that you love it even if it doesn’t work out.
C: Playing music with other people teaches you to never hold back your ideas. They may not work in this moment, in this situation, but the act of sharing spurs conversation, builds trust, and creates an environment where problems are solved creatively.
What has been one of your favorite events that you have had there and why?
M: We’ve had many! But if I had to choose one it would be our anniversary parties! Every year is different and we celebrate each one like it’s our last! (Thankfully it never is.)
C: Our Service Industry nights are great because they take the focus off of us and put it on the amazing people who make a huge part of this city run. We get to partner with likeminded businesses that just want to say thank you. We also threw a huge holiday party last year and collected a entire carload of blankets, jackets, socks, etc. and also cash donations for Front Steps. The support from our community was incredible.
What do you hope people are saying when they leave SHED/What is the biggest compliment the business could receive?
M: “Dude, I forgot to talk about this with my barber! I’ll just have to wait till next time” “I’m bringing this record next time.” Biggest compliment we receive? “I seriously look forward to my haircut.”
C: For me personally, I want people to leave and tell people, “this is MY barbershop.” Because it belongs to them as much as it does to us. Walking into a buzzing shop where everyone is talking between chairs and having lively conversations with each other is the best feeling for me.
As you head towards your third year in business (and if you could go back in time) what is some advice that you would tell yourself when you were first starting?
M: Third year?! Crazy! Only advice would be to cheer ourselves on even more. Chris and I can be hard on ourselves so we reassure each other that, while it will get dark and gloomy at times, it’s only a storm. If you check your iPhone weather app you will see the sun soon. Take care of everyone around you!
C: “Just fucking quit your day job already!”
What does the future hold for SHED?
M: Right now, we are growing to better serve our growing family of friends and homies that call our shop home. We have been boosting our retail end to offer a small selection of clothing and accessories. The idea is haircuts, music, clothing, accessories – from head to toe.
C: For the immediate future, we’re opening a second shop on E. Cesar Chavez at Pedernales. We’re going to put a stronger emphasis on men’s retail and also host more events at the second one. Beyond that, we take it a day at a time. We’d love to continue growing here in Austin and beyond, but we just keep our fingers on the pulse, trust our gut, and let it take us where it takes us.
What is one item that you cannot live without?
M: Water. I believe without water you cannot live.
C: In the real world, sadly, it’s an internet connected device of any kind, ha. But in the poetic sense, it would be Christine, my bass guitar.
What is your favorite pair of shoes and what is something fun/crazy/exciting you have done while wearing them?
M: I have a pair of white New Balance court shoes that I like to wear all the time. I enjoy seeing them the day after a night out when I’ve gone to see my boy FONZ at Cheer Up Charlie’s (chirps) or my homie ULoveI spin at Barbarella.
C: I had a pair of white Chucks that I wore for years. I played tons of shows and traveled all over the country with them, had them on when I adopted my dog (/first child…) Lola, and mowed the yard at our first house in them. They finally fell apart and I tossed them. How very unceremonious of me.
Very random but something our owner asks everyone…what is your astrological sign?
M: I am a Virgo. I like it because it’s like a weird looking M, and M is the first letter of my name.
C: Hermes? I think it’s Hermes. Whichever one is the matador.…jk it’s Aries.
2210 South 1st St.
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