TRADITIONAL BARBERSHOP + GROOMING SUPPLY
story by Jordan Pupa | photography provided by The Mailroom Barber Co.
It is no question that men’s grooming continues to witness phenomenal market growth across the United States. Additionally, millennials are emerging as the next generation of business owners. Some of the most profitable businesses today are run by those under the age of thirty-five. Robert Watkins of The Mailroom Barber Co is no exception. Focused around providing a positive experience for customers, community feel, inclusivity, natural products, and giving back, The Mailroom Barber Co exists for people who refuse to settle for bad haircuts or color, or mass-produced products that just simply don’t work.
Robert started cutting his own hair in 2012 and later started cutting his friends’ hair too. “I was in school at FMU studying photography and graphic design, but it wasn’t leading me in the career direction I had hoped,” explains Robert. “As I was learning more about cutting hair, I started looking into the barber industry and fell in love. The image of the classic barbershop and the idea of being a Barber struck a chord with me.” Robert left school and started an apprenticeship at Trendsetters Barber Lounge on Pamplico Hwy. He was there for two and a half years. In 2016, at the young age of 21, he opened The Mailroom Barber & Studio with Molly Norton. A few months into business, Robert purchased the Studio from Molly to make it a more unified shop and cohesive brand. Molly Norton is currently the Studio Manager. The studio side of the Florence location specializes in Balayage, vivids, and other coloring services.
Robert had two focuses when starting The Mailroom Barber Co. First, he was fed up with cheap, mass-produced hair and beard products surrounding the barbering industry. Second, he knew that by consuming products with corrupt supply chains, that we are actually contributing to the problem of underpaid children and slave laborers. In order to make a change, The Mailroom Barber Co makes pomade and other products in-house by hand, strictly using 100% ethically sources ingredients and packaging. Using ethically sourced products is one of the easiest ways to be involved in stopping the abuse of human life because it puts a dent in the market of unethical production and forced or slave labor.
The full line of high-quality masculine-scented products produced includes a variety of hair pomades, beard products, lip balms, and more, all of which can be purchased online. One of their most popular items is the Pipe Tobacco scented Beard Oil. “That scent, in particular, is the most popular one we make,” shares Robert. “It’s so popular because the scent is made from essential oils which means it isn’t an overpowering fragrance. It’s floral, spicy, and nostalgic. For Father’s Day, I would suggest a Beard Kit with the Pipe Tobacco scent.”
Robert is excited to be a part of helping Florence grow, specifically by being a part of the revitalized Downtown district. His connection with Florence runs deep, as he was born there and grew up there. The Mailroom Barber & Studio has been so successful that a second location was opened in Greenville, SC. Robert explains that Greenville has been on the horizon for quite some time now. “I happened to meet John Redgrave, the Greenville shop owner, at a perfect time when we were looking heavily into which city to expand to. John and I hit it off immediately and after forming a relationship, I offered him a brand licensing deal. Greenville is one of my favorite cities in South Carolina, so I had no doubts that it would be a great first city to expand to.” Both shops are doing remarkably well. The Florence location has a waiting list of about a month and the shop in West Greenville books about a week out!
It is clear that Millennials have proven to have the drive and the entrepreneurial spirit needed to run a successful business. Robert would like to expand to a few other cities in South Carolina, but he will need to find the right people first. His current team of master barbers and experienced cosmetologists have come together to do things the right way by creating a neutral space that fosters community and meets their clients’ needs. Visiting this unique and hip barber shop is something you won’t regret.
BEFORE + AFTER WITH KRIS CURTIS
After taming Kris’s unruly facial hair and providing a hair trim that renewed his confidence, Robert used the Matte Clay Pomade, which has no shine, to complete the look.
“A straight razor shave is something too few people get to experience. We use two hot steam towels and top-shelf shave soap to create an experience that feels more like therapy than grooming. Do future you a favor and put a hot towel shave on the books today.”
THE MAILROOM BARBER & STUDIO
116-B S IRBY ST, FLORENCE, SC
FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM:
Book your appointment today online. themailroombarberco.com