By Founder & Chief Barber Mohawk Matt
Now 18 months into the successful launch of the Bolt Barbers Brand, I often reflect on what almost did not happen. True Bolt Barbers was a burning passion that lived inside of me for 10 years. In fact longer if you count how much I wanted to become a barber growing up in Bedford, NY. But the occupation was not “politically correct”. I was expected by school & peers to attend college, not pursue an occupational craft like barbering, which would have required me to attend an occupational high school. This was called “BOCES” and we all believed that idiots went there. How much I have learned since I thought that.
So instead, I practiced my entrepreneurial spirit in College (SUNY Plattsburgh) running a Charter Bus Service (Holiday Bus Service) which paid all my tuition and university schooling costs. After graduating college, I set out to work for one of two companies: IBM or Procter & Gamble, because I wanted the “White Shirt” disciplined approach to business management training that I felt only these two companies could offer. Practically speaking, I did not really have the qualifications to get into either company coming out of Plattsburgh with a BA…but I hunted and persisted and found a back door into P&G via the Field Advertising Program. I spent a few fun years managing Field marketing activities for P&G all over the USA (What has contributed to my Delta Million Miler Status) and thereafter landed an opportunity in P&G’s Brand Management Group, which was a big deal in terms of accomplishment, but set me on a path for many years that was not the right path for me.
The corporate world kept me “wanting more and more” but also achieving “more and more” as the years rolled by and the responsibility increased. I eventually sputtered at P&G, finding it difficult to keep enthusiastic about role and responsibility, but not realizing it was authenticity, authority & community that I craved…not bigger roles and more money. I should have listened to these instincts. But instead I ignored and dismissed them. I continued on the corporate band wagon. I jumped from job to job, country to country with some big name companies that did little to satisfy my sense of self fulfillment. After a series of four such “empty” experiences over a ten year period in the time since i left P&G, it began to dawn on me just how unhappy I was. I had not been listening to what makes me tick, what I needed in terms of role, and how to take advantage of the multitude of skill sets and experiences I had acquired. I was without courage. Without confidence. Without happiness. And so I looked deep inside myself and wondered how to turn this situation around. It seemed time for something dramatic. Not an incremental change. But a complete change. A greenfield approach where I could build my contribution to the world out of things that were important to me.
So I set about building Bolt Barbers. Literally from the ground up. I went back to school, acquired my barbers license, and then set about creating what had become a mission with incredible potency. I honestly believe the work I am doing in creating Bolt Barbers IS the reason I am on this planet. It takes on incredible importance, both because it contributes to salvaging an almost extinct craft which I am passionate about and reinvents it for revival, and also because it creates much needed community in a world where this is dwindling. Bolt’s uniqueness is in the sense of community we offer for wayward dudes, who are tired of the roles they “wear” at home and work/school. Bolt offers the kind of oasis away from defined roles at home and work and/or school that prevent us from being our true selves. My lifetime of experiences, both positive and negative, have gone into building a brand that provides more than just hairstyles, but instead reflects a lifestyle of camaraderie. Through Bolt Barbers “Hairy Beasts”, Bolt offers the social connectivity I longed for while I got distracted pursuing material things in life that failed to bring happiness. And if happiness is any measure of success, than Bolt Barbers LLC is a roaring success. Come on over and join us for a frosty mug of root beer, good conversation, and an old school taper or shave. Hope to see you soon.