When I met Danny Amorim at the International Beauty Show in New York, I was overwhelmed by his electrifying energy. Danny is the kind of man that speaks, and everyone in the room takes note; his wisdom and charisma are the perfect match to motivate anyone feeling a little slack. In fact, Danny’s resume is packed with job titles such as owner of multiple barber shops, international educator, Gibs Grooming ambassador, and, of course, motivational speaker. So when I sat down with Danny for our interview, I took notes; who wouldn’t when they’re in the company of someone so successful?
But more importantly, I wanted to know how Danny built his empire, and how his journey in this industry began. When I asked Danny how he got into this business, he said, “Picked up my first pair of clippers at 14-years-old… The craft just turned into something I loved.”
When Danny graduated from high school, he knew that college wasn’t the right path for him, so he went to work at a barbershop. “I took it seriously, and I built a strong clientele,” Danny said.
There’s no doubt that Danny took the job seriously, and I loved hearing his story about how he opened his first shop. “I asked the owner of the shop how much it would cost for me to have my own landline in his shop. He looked at me like I had three heads,” Danny said. “I wanted my own line because I was tired of the customer service his clients or his barbers were giving to my clients. I had my own shop in his shop at 20-years-old.”
I find it motivating – and humorous – that Danny was able to open up a shop within a shop, but it shows that Danny was always going above and beyond for his clients, even during the beginning of his career.
It’s that same work-ethic that allowed Danny to open up his own shop, Klippers Barber Shop, within a year of obtaining his own landline (for all of you Gen Y kids, that’s a home phone). Today, that same phone number still works at his original shop, but Danny has gone on to open up three more barber salons.
Barber battles and the value of networking
“Right now, our craft in our industry has risen at an all-time high,” Danny said. He’s seen the rise of the barber industry, and how the profession is becoming more valued.
“It’s become cool to be a barber now. When I was a kid, I never had that barber I looked up to, that I want to be him when I grew up,” Danny said. “I walked into a barber shop, they’re charging seven dollars, and everyone’s smoking cigarettes in there – that wasn’t something I really wanted to do all of my life.”
Now that the industry is booming, Danny knows young kids (his son, included) that want to be a barber when they grow up. One of the reasons that the barber industry is seeing more of a “cool factor” is because of barber battles. When barber battles were just beginning to become popular, Danny was one of the competitors.
“I started competing in barber battles back in 2002, 2003 – when they were way smaller scale than here. They would happen maybe, once a year if you were lucky. Now barber battles are popping up every corner you can think of. If you go on social media, sometimes there’s two, three barber battles going on the same weekend,” Danny said. “It’s become a little saturated, you could say. When I used to go, It was more than winning those trophies. I remember going to these battles, and meeting and networking with people. I am where I am today because of my network.”
Personally, I think Danny is right. While it’s great to win trophies and new titles (who doesn’t like a resume booster?) – it’s more important to build up a strong network with people in your industry. You never know when an opportunity is going to arise, and knowing the right person can open many doors.
Motivational words for those trying to make it
On that positive note, I’d like to note that Danny is, in my opinion, one of the best motivational speakers in the business. Danny isn’t going to tell you what you want to hear, but he will say what you need to hear; and really, that’s the kind of inspiration that we all need.
“My speeches will touch you way more, and change your mindset way more, and make you want to grab a pair of clippers,” Danny said. The man knows that he’s good, and he wants you to know that you can succeed as well. But he’s going to be honest with his intended audience.
“Some guys, they have the gift. But they don’t have the responsibility, the reliability, customer service, or respect for this industry. They act like people owe them something – no, you owe them something. They’re paying for a service,” Danny said, serving up some realness.
I’ve gotta say – Danny is absolutely right. It’s not enough to cut hair well; you’ve got to make your clients want to come back, and to feel comfortable recommending you to their friends. This industry is about the people, and you’ve always got to treat others with respect.
While Danny was upbeat and positive during our interview, I was still dying to know what he dislikes about the barber industry. He told me, “What I can say hating is.. the unprofessionalism,” Danny said. “Certain people go to a certain barbershop, and feel like we all run our business like that. No, they run their business like that. I run my business as a business; he runs his business as a playground. There’s a difference there. It’s customer service.”
I can understand where Danny is coming from since he wants everyone who visits one of his shops to be comfortable – from the alternative-looking kid to a suburban mom. There’s an atmosphere that he likes to create where everyone is welcome. He even said, “I don’t care if you’re purple, yellow, or green – I want to cut your hair and service you.”
But before I let Danny go, I needed to ask what he would tell a barber that is down on their luck. He said, “Just hang in there. We all have rough days… Whatever you do, just go hard at it.” While the advice is simple, it’s also something that we all need to hear occasionally. You don’t become successful without a struggle, so just keep hanging in there. And don’t forget to work hard for what you want.
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