By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — When he was 13 years old, Luis Camacho showed up to school one day with a bad haircut.
While fellow students warned him to never return to the barber who had done such an awful job, Camacho harbored a secret: he had done his hair himself, with a pair of clippers from Wal-Mart that he had purchased with his first paycheck.
“They were all wondering where I got my haircut from, but it wasn’t because it was nice,” Camacho said. “My haircut was messed up. They told me to never go back there again.”
Cutting his own hair had not been a random endeavor for Camacho. When he was a child, his mother brought him to the barbershop every two weeks, and those trips eventually stirred in him the desire to open up his own shop, a place where people could chat, relax, and leave the store feeling a bit better about themselves than they did when they arrived.
After a decade of practicing his craft and a few months of unraveling the red tape of starting a business, Camacho, now 28, finally opened his own store a few weeks ago.
Located on Route 146 in Clifton Park, Camacho’s Barbershop has become a shop that sells itself, Camacho said. Though the outside of the store is simple, the inside successfully walks a thin line of being a small “mom and pop” shop, as Camacho calls it, and something hipper and edgier, the direct result of the young owner’s eye for decorating and style.
Camacho said the design of his new shops draws upon aspects of other stores he has seen and liked, but also reflects his personal tastes.
With a color scheme of red and white walls, his shop boasts multiple flat screen televisions and five black styling chairs, topped off by shining chrome ceiling lights and chrome framed mirrors. The 1,200-square-foot store also features a waiting area with leather seats, a beverage table which contains complimentary beer, water, and coffee, and a pool table smack in middle of it all. While Camacho admitted that the pool table might be a bit extra, it adds an element of fun to the haircut experience.
But the thing that takes priority for Camacho, more so than the cool decorations, is the client-barber relationship.
“My goal is to have the best client relationship I can have, with my customers,” he said. “I like to make everything personal. When I’m cutting your hair, it’s about you.” He also said, if the client doesn’t want to talk, he has no problem cutting hair in silence.
Business has been steady so far. Camacho said that he went through many applications and subsequent rejections while looking for a space to rent before he finally found his current spot, and then had some issues getting the floor of his shop ready. But he wasn’t discouraged by the ups and downs because of his support system, he said.
“As long as you have a great support system behind you, there’s really not much you can’t do, and I’m so thankful for the people around me,” he said.
Camacho, who mainly cuts men’s hair, is preparing to bring a few more barbers on board. People stop into the shop to check it out as they drive by, Camacho said, and as long as he’s able to provide a great haircut, a great environment, and great time with no judging or rushing, he’ll see himself as a success.
“I like making people feel good. I always went to the barbershop, and I always felt good every time I left. That’s my goal, is to make people feel good about themselves,” Camacho said. “A simple haircut can do a lot things.”