StyleSeat Success Stories highlights StyleSeat Pros who are soaring in their careers. We feature top beauty, grooming, and wellness professionals monthly and share what inspires them to grow their businesses and their secrets to success while using StyleSeat.
With his barbering skills, Waverly Willis doesn’t just make his community look good. He also encourages his clients to prioritize their health to feel just as good. Willis is the barber and owner of the three locations of Urban Kutz Barbershop in Cleveland, Ohio. As a community activist, he advocates healthy living by hosting health screenings and providing COVID-19 vaccinations at his barbershops. “When I found out that my clients were having problems with their blood pressure, for instance, that’s when I decided to reach out to Cleveland Clinic and bring in nurses to check our blood pressures on a regular basis. And some of my proudest moments are when I have a shop filled,” says Willis. Not only does Willis own and operate his barber shops, but he is also the founder of a non-profit organization, The Urban Barbershop Association, with the mission to ensure the community receives care, health education, and resources to thrive. His organization offers multiple programs, including The C.A.R.E Cuts program offering haircuts to underserved areas in the community.
By sharing his story and life experiences, he found his relationships with clients had grown and quickly learned that he could build trust within the community. “I found out that sharing the real me with my clients, letting them know what I was going through, whether it be family issues or health issues, it really strengthened the bond between my client and me,” says Willis. You may have even seen him sharing his story across multiple local news outlets and nationally with his feature on The Nick Cannon Show.
When visiting a barbershop, you are often greeted with smiles from the barbers, exciting conversations, and maybe even familiar faces of clients if you’re a regular client. Willis prides himself on building and strengthening relationships with his clients by showing them that he genuinely cares about what they are going through and providing a sense of community and comfort while being serviced. “You know your first service will be for someone that’s getting married the next day or that day, and then the next service would be for someone’s grandmother’s funeral,” says Willis. “So at the end of the day, you are emotionally exhausted, but that’s just the life of a hair or grooming industry professional,” he concludes.
With his extensive barber industry experience, he also shares his time by instructing at a barber shop academy to prepare barber school students for their state boards examination and offering his best business practices for successful careers. A key takeaway he expresses to his students often is the importance of time management and efficiency and how that will keep clients returning. “If your appointment is at 12:00 pm, 99.9% of the time, my chair will be open at 12:00 pm. My clients appreciate that they can’t book an appointment with me on their lunch break because they know they’re going to be back in time,” says Willis.
Furthermore, he also recommends providing a customer experience that will make them want to return. “Of course, you want to give them pristine and great service. But the experience you give the client makes them come back because when they get in their car, they’re passing ten other salons or barber shops. When they walk into your shop, they’re walking past at least a minimum of three other chairs or two other chairs to get in your chair. You have to keep that in mind that it’s a privilege to serve that person,” he explains.