VOL. 124 | NO. 31 | Monday, February 16, 2009
Barber Realizes Dream of Having Own Shop
By Tom Wilemon
COWBOYS FAN: Manuel Malone, the owner of Stylez 4 Starz, gives his son, DeVonte Malone, a trim. The theme of the barbershop is a tribute to Malone’s favorite NFL team. -- PHOTO BY TOM WILEMON
A mother has to trust a barber to let him put a razor next to the scalp of a 1-year-old child.
But Laquita Gardner wasn’t worried when she brought her son, Josiah, into Stylez 4 Starz for that close of a cut. The toddler had his first visit at the Frayser barbershop five months earlier. So last week, he sat patiently as the barber gently, but firmly held his head and applied the razor.
“This barbershop is great,” Gardner said. “The service is good. The barbers are the best.”
Stylez 4 starz
Owner: Manuel Malone
Address: 3659 N. Watkins St.
Shop hours: Tuesdays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If she keeps taking Josiah into Stylez 4 Starz, he’s likely to grow up to be a Dallas Cowboys fan. The football team’s star logo appears throughout the shop, even on the capes for customers.
“I am a die-hard Cowboys fan,” said owner Manuel Malone. “I bleed blue and gray, blue and silver, whatever color you want to call it, through my veins. I’ve been a fan of Dallas since ’76 when Roger Staubach was quarterback.”
Malone achieved a goal of owning his own barbershop when he opened the business at 3659 N. Watkins St. in 2005. With five barbers and one beautician, the shop is a hub of activity. Malone has used special promotions to grow the business, such as hosting musicians for autograph signings.
T-Pain, Gucci Mane and Luke Skywalker have all made appearances at Stylez 4 Starz, he said. Another barber at the business, Jason Young, who works in music promotions on the side, booked the recording artists.
But Malone realizes that the people who come into his business are there to get a haircut, not buy music.
“It’s not as hard as people think to open your own business, especially once you put your mind to it and it’s something you want to do.”
– Manuel Malone
Owner, Stylez 4 Starz
“You may not feel like anybody when you come in here at Stylez 4 Starz, but when you leave, you are going to feel like somebody,” he said.
That’s why the barbers stay current with traditional styles like the fade and trendy ones such as the Mohawk.
“Mr. T wore the Mohawk years ago,” Malone said. “Now it has come back in place. We do the design on the side of the Mohawk, both sides, which is very popular, fashion wise, making more of a fashion statement to the younger culture people. Those are the ones who usually wear that style, maybe middle school, high school football players, some of the wrestlers.”
The cut entails drawing off the design then shaving it out with a razor.
“You’ve got to be pretty steady with your hand to use that razor,” Malone said.
With 15 years experience, Malone has reason to have a steady hand. He credits Adrian Moore, the owner of Black’s Exclusive Cuts and Design, for being a mentor.
“I had been in the barber field probably about five or six years before I actually decided to start cutting hair as a full-time job,” Malone said. “I ran into Adrian Moore at Raleigh Springs Mall. He asked me if I was still cutting hair. He suggested that I come down to his shop and check his shop out and come in on a day or two.”
Malone took a two-week vacation and spent that time cutting hair.
“It turned out to be pretty good for me,” he said. “I made double what I made on my job in one week.”
Malone turned in his notice and began barbering full time. He worked at Black’s Exclusive Cuts and Design for about 10 years, he said, and saved money for his goal of opening his own shop.
“Believe it or not, I didn’t even have to go to the bank and get a loan,” Malone said. “I kind of saved and put back. I was able to open up my business, just out of pocket.”
He said it cost about $25,000 to $30,000 to get started, along with the help of plumber and electrician friends who gave him a break on costs.
“It wasn’t an easy task,” he said. “I’m not saying that. It’s not as hard as people think to open your own business, especially once you put your mind to it and it’s something you want to do.”
Besides being his business, the barbershop is also his place for kicking back.
“We have football Sundays when the shop is closed,” he said. “We watch football until you can’t watch football any more.”