"Our specialty is men’s hair and we are damn good at it. We realize barbering is a labor of love, not a get rich quick scheme."
-excerpt of an interview with Mark Lapham
The Chop Shoppe has been open for 13 years as of this May. I opened my shop because I can honestly say I was being ill-treated at the barbershop I had formerly worked at for 5 years. I helped build its name and reputation. I gave everything I had to this shop, and the owner ended up with 3 shops because of me and a few others. In the end, the shop owner decided she didn't need us anymore. She changed our percentages and basically forced me in to opening my own shop. I pleaded with her to stop messing with our pay, but she told me "if you don't like it leave", so I did. The rest is history I suppose. Her shops are gone and I'm still here.
For me, the best part about being a barber is that I get to be an artist for a living. When I was young I wanted to make money by drawing pictures. I'd say being a barber is pretty close to my childhood vision. Being a barber hasn’t made me rich, but I've always had enough to make sure my family is cared for. At the end of the day, only a handful of people can say that their art pays their bills. The guys at the Chop Shoppe have been cutting hair for upwards of 2 decades. Cutting hair is what we do and we don’t know anything else. We are dedicated to the art of barbering and do not limit ourselves by specializing in one style or trend. Our specialty is men’s hair and we are damn good at it. We realize barbering is a labor of love and not just a get rich quick scheme.
I have been fortunate enough to have been cutting hair for nearly 20 years now, and in the beginning of my career I had the privilege of working in all sorts of different shops. I worked in predominantly black shops where I became good with fades and line ups, in old man shops where I learned traditional cuts, and even in an upscale salon where I learned shear work and texture techniques. Not much has surprised me in today’s barbering industry, and for the most part I am watching history repeat itself. My shop is well versed in many different styles, and the one thing I consider myself only "ok" at is hair design work and things like that. I don't really consider that barbering though, it is a talent of its own and I think it's cool, but I don't feel like I need it in my arsenal to make it as a barber.
Having had an Instagram now for almost two years I have come to realize that experience and work doesn't always garnish what I call #instapopularity. I see things like people who paint heads and do nothing but simple tapers and line ups, yet they get a lot of followers and flash pictures of shoe boxes filled with money. If you dance and wear creepers, walk with a cane, call yourself a pomade god, or tattoo your whole face, it seems as if you can do mediocre work and still gain popularity through social media. It is unfortunate that singing a song and doing a dance yields more popularity than putting out a variety of quality work.
On the other side of the coin, I do have a lot of love and regard for a great deal of the barbers out there using social media to promote themselves and shops. I am very excited to see a breath of fresh air being blown into what I have loved for a great many years. Social media has helped traditional cuts get popular again, and it has introduced barbering to those who would have otherwise never stepped out of the salon and into a barbershop. Barbering is cool again and I’m grateful for it.
I choose Suavecito because it works great and smells like a million bucks instead of like an old pipe, but beyond that my number one reason for choosing it is because the people who make it have always been tremendous. Nice people with no us vs. them attitude, no bullshit, just good people and a great product. I find that to be what will always keep me coming back.
The Chop Shoppe
43923 N. Sierra Hwy.
Lancaster, CA 93534