Established Since 2014
AWARD WINNING : Building a Barbersop
Building a Beloved Barbershop From The Ground-Up: How Marc A Rivera is Changing The Narrative Around Male Grooming
Nestled at the growing, thriving, retail, shopping, restaurant and living district of Sanford Florida, lies the Classic Barber & Beard Co. a gentlemen’s studio barber shop centered on masculine needs and taste. “The Classic Barber Experience begins the moment you step into our barbershop,” says, Marc A. Rivera; owner & artesian of the Classic Barber Experience who’s changing the narrative of “ Male Grooming”. “The smell - the decor ... will take you back to a time where caring about how your looks were part of being a man!”
When you first enter the Classic Barber & Beard Co , you’ll sense a place of familiarity with a chill & friendly vibe. A space where shave and cut clients queue for a reason. That is to receive a safe, one on one luxurious & pampered service of quality; centered on the values and needs of the client; “All of our services are tailored to provide a unique experience fit differently for each client. Just as no two clients are alike neither are our experiences (– meaning this experience truly is unique.)
As many shops do the bare minimum within a days’ work, we go the extra mile by including “The Classic’s:” a great haircut, a warm towel, straight razor neck shaves followed by a pampered in chair shoulder massage...Our reviews can’t even express enough how well our clients are treated!”—if that’s not an experience worth waiting for, then what is, you are tempted to ask yourself?
Marc A Rivera, the owner of this barbershop has things figured out for his business and an unmatched client experience is something that he’s proud of. It isn’t surprising to see his clients adore his services.
“I have a three R system that I use to make sure my clients have an amazing service. I ensure that they are RELAXED so that they can have a pampered experience unmatched within my local area. The feeling of quality attracts four of our senses and aids the client in experiencing what I call, “REFRESHED" emotions which lead to their “REJUVENATION.”
His hard work reflects in the time and effort he takes to ensure that his clients achieve the best in service and it isn’t surprising that he recently won the Excellence in Experience Award in the solo barber category by Genbook.
So what changed after winning the award? We asked Marc.
“Before winning the award we were striving to prove the validity of our shop, now that we have won the award; my business model now has the backing and support of both the company & the consumer. Having Genbook as an advocate for our business proves the validity of our shop; that we are providing a valuable & unmatched, remarkable experience! I’ve even noticed this has helped many new customers make an informed decision as to where they choose to be serviced. It’s not common that individual barbers or barbershops have an award winning experience & over 500 five star reviews...especially on our side of the state! Being able to openly promote that we are award winning because of the type of service that we deliver brings a great sense of pride in our work knowing that we are doing something right!
The Early Days...
But owning a successful barbershop wasn’t on the cards until late in his life. As he had a passion for music at a young age, Marc spent the earlier part of his life; trying his hand in the entertainment industry in which he was the founder of the first R&B Record Label in Deltona Florida as 8th Sound Entertainment which he produced music & managed a few local artists, “At that time the only way we could get exposure was to make noise about why we should be recognized. We attempted to pioneer what we see today on social media brand marketing toward our demographic or niche. As the internet was just a baby then and social media hadn’t taken off as it has now. I had to build the brand in order to establish ourselves: As locals in Florida showed very little love to local independent artists without a reputable name behind them. This kind of “grassroots marketing” was exhausting to say the least; while trying to juggle it all; and single handedly raising a family. That’s what led to my burnout in the industry.
Recalling a chat with a stranger at a park years ago and when asked randomly what he would want to do when he grows up, Marc had said that he would continue on with his music. But if one day the music career doesn't work out he will become a barber as he jokingly said,
“The barbers in my town; don't look like they're going hungry; as their bellies were full and I always found them sitting down for a meal! ”
“I remember sitting in the old Platinum Styles Barber Shop Deltona FL, as a lad, watching eight good barbers under one roof, doing all different types of haircuts & designs...I would go there just to be entertained! From the flick of the drape to the application of the talcum powder: brushed on like a painter: It just looked all like art to me.”
Call it a light bulb moment or destiny; Marc was offered a full ride scholarship & was the first graduate of the first Barbering Program from Daytona State College in New Smyrna Beach Florida.
“As it was a community college and not a private school. I received private training in a class size of seven people!” It wasn't easy making the decision for a career change especially as a single father! I had to attend night class for a year and half just to obtain my licensing hours, but I am grateful for having teachers in both cosmetology & barbering who can share & teach on their experiences with both sides of the industry, hands-on, majority of the time!”
It was a blessing in disguise but also an exercise in perseverance. Marc graduated in December of ‘2014—the worst season to graduate; in his own words.
“Knowing what I know now, the holiday season is the worst time for a new barber to look for work, as most shops already have their team set to handle the season rush. During this season, shop owners and colleagues are determined & focused on profiting through the holiday season. Capitalizing on their time to make the most out of the year end or quarter... technically speaking...they don’t need anyone new coming in there to mess up their grind or their work flow.”
Along the way, he learned a lot, gaining experience at some of the best local recognized shops in Central Florida.
“I was building on my craft & learning the business. Trying to wrap my mind around what it meant to be a professional while also finding my path both internally & spiritually. Contemplating the type of professional I would become and the path that was set before me. It was during this time of my life where I chose to seek a higher calling & surrender my life to Jesus because I didn't have all the answers & I had faith he could direct my steps. Once I did this; that's when I noticed a significant change in my life!
I was learning what it meant to be a professional while also being fruitful in the workplace. Having the courage to confront life head on through its many challenges & circumstances.
It was during this time that Marc was introduced to Genbook by a fellow barber & mentor in his community:
Elvis Vasquez @kingdom_barbers in Orange City FL
“Genbook really helped me with scheduling & creating a better online experience for my patrons. It was simple, legible & easy to navigate! My elder clientele found it easy to comprehend in comparison to other platforms that were very confusing & meant for the younger generation. All my clients would share comments on how much they appreciate online scheduling through Genbook, because it was simple: easy to use, easy to understand...You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out.”
Genbook is a platform that I can present publicly with assurance.
On Building a Business Experience Like None Other
Building a business experience and taking care of his clients is something that Marc is very passionate about, but we wanted to dig in deep with his method and what makes his experience so extraordinary…
“When a patron walks through my door, they receive the very best hospitality, a first class service that is tailored to their individual needs and the attention that makes them feel valued.
Whether they desire a chatty conversation or peace of mind; I take time to address their hair needs & conditions, while we mutually create a plan to achieve them. It’s not uncommon for clients to divulge their life stories with their barbers, (which in itself is its own experience,) but clients also appreciate the sage advice on home styling & maintenance to help aid them in achieving their hair goals.
He goes on to explain the FORM framework —an acronym that he learned from an online Social Media Content Course & Mentor @itsmarvymarv which he uses whenever he meets new clients, and it helps him to better engage and understand them:
F stands for the family—do you have any family around here?
O stands for occupation— what do you do for a living?
R stands for recreation—what do you do for recreation?
M stands motivation—what do you do to keep yourself motivated?
“Asking these four questions with every client has helped build lasting client relationships and provides the customer with a better interaction experience with their barber! So many clients have expressed dissatisfaction with barbers in our area: interacting with colleagues in the shop more than the person in their chair.”
You only have one chance to make a lasting first impression...the way you present yourself as a professional, your attention to their needs, and the details of their haircut, make all the difference to their experience, he quips.
As a barber who routinely services men from all walks of life, Marc feels passionate about male grooming and is trying to change the narrative in his own unique ways.
“Every state is different and comes with its own weather conditions that can affect the condition of our hair, skin or image. I inform customers on practical ways to enhance their image from brushing techniques to using our exclusive handmade beard products (@BornagainBeardco) to moisturize dry beard hair from humidity or weather conditions which plays many factors on achieving their “best look”.
Men who work outdoors in Florida are at risk to get what we call crows feet or alligator skin which are more susceptible to cancer melanoma. It's important to offer and describe the importance of facial care and how monthly maintenance can be a safe preventative by taking advantage of additional services like exfoliation treatments & masks which have had an uprise in our industry.
I’ve learned, That's what keeps them coming back...they feel the value of the service because I make them feel valued individually.”
“We all live such busy lives and for many of my clients, the only time they get to unwind is during their service! If I’m not going the extra mile, they won't go the distance with me. They need someone who cares about them and ensures that they feel like a $100 bucks at the end of their service
The future plan
Marc’s story is inspiring and he has some major plans for the future.
“I have several hopes but I’m taking them one at a time. Our barber culture could use more unity amongst colleagues and more local involvement; besides becoming a State Board Member, I hope to one day create a Central Florida’s Barber & Beard festival, which would have an array of different types of barber competitions and product & talent showcases within our area— just something to bring us all together and create a deeper culture within our small communities, but if it never happens I won't be disappointed as I’m still striving to provide the Best Solo Barber Experience in North America, while sowing fruitful seeds for the kingdom; one haircut at a time!”
What’s the best thing about being your own boss and running a successful barbershop that’s loved by so many people? We asked him when signing off and he said:
“Grateful that I have the opportunity to live a life where I help inspire change and confidence within each client I service! Grateful to be an inspiration to future studio or suite barbers who are just trying to find their own way in the industry. Grateful to be able to prosper providing a service that is enjoyed by many patrons & clients alike. Grateful to be able to wake up and create art! As creators we help people feel good about themselves! It's such a rewarding feeling to provide the clients God gave me; with a unique experience that can bring out the joy in their heart and the confidence in their image.
That's The Classic Barber | Experience
they're not going to find anywhere else as it’s uniquely our own
& that’s what it's all about!
The Classic’s Never Go Out of Style : Here @barberbeardco