We sat down with Michael Portman of Birds Barbershop to talk about how the experience of a haircut could transform his business model and disrupt the industry.
Full transcript below:
[Portman:] I like to think our quality is the best in Austin, maybe Texas, and the reason that is, is because Jason and I don't cut hair.
I'm Michael Portman, co-founder of Bird's Barbershop. Founded right here in Austin, Texas, we're a barbershop for everyone. Jason and I started Bird's, we considered, and all of our friends considered a haircut a complete chore. For something so important to how you look and how you present yourself to the world it seemed like that was kind of ridiculous.
You had this high affluent option or this kinda low-end option that we felt like we had grown out of. We kinda made it a place that we would want to go to. Part of building Bird's was taking away a lot of what we didn't like about other places. How they smelled like some sort of chemical, the music was awful, the pictures on the wall were terrible, the magazines were curled up. Everyone knows that place that they went with their mom when they were a kid.
I have this whole thing, from building through every day of just going through the five senses. What does it look like, what does it feel like, what does it smell like? What are the tunes you're hearing? All that kind of thing. I'm one of those people when I go to a restaurant and there's 250 things on the menu, they don't do anything well, right? If you do six things and practice those things over and over again chances are you're doing a pretty good job of them.
While we say we're for everyone, we're really for everyone of a certain mindset. We know that we're not for my dad, who, no matter what, it's gonna be all about how little he spends on his haircut or someone else who just wants to get in and out and doesn't care about anything, and it's just a checkmark off of a list. They'll get a haircut with us just because they are "in the neighborhood" people, but they're never gonna be loyal customers. We really focus on who our loyal people are, cater to them to the Nth degree and then we broaden our base by getting that really down and we'll find more of those people along the way.