Olde World Barber Shoppe Is Rewriting the Rules of Building a Barbershop Business
Summary: In four years, Olde World Barber Shoppe has expanded from one location to three locations and their busiest shop surpassed $1.2M annually thanks to an attention to detail–and data.
—Warner Robins, GA
When you talk to Steven Putman, the owner of Olde World Barber Shoppe, it’s obvious how much he loves his craft. What’s also apparent when you talk to Putman is how determined he is to make his business, and those around him, successful.
As a kid, he enjoyed cutting his friends’ hair. Life led him down other paths in his 20s, but when he needed to hit reset on his career, he came back to his love of barbering.
In his early 30s, he went back to school to attend the Central Georgia Technical College Barbering Program. After graduation, he spent time scraping by renting a booth at other shops. But he knew there had to be a better way to run a barbershop business.
Putman opened Olde World Barber Shoppe in 2014 in Warner Robins, GA, a town of 80,000 that’s 100 miles south of Atlanta. It was his chance to give back to the community where he spent his entire life while also building a better model for running a barbershop business than what he had experienced himself.
How grit becomes greatness at Olde World Barber Shoppe
Most business owners know that, when it’s your money and livelihood on the line, you’ll hustle day and night to keep things going. When Olde World opened its doors, Putman did anything and everything to help it succeed, from cutting hair and ordering supplies to scrubbing the floors and keeping the bathrooms clean.
Hard work alone wasn’t going to propel the shop past a million dollars in revenue, though. To succeed, Olde World needed to stand out from the other shops in town. And Putman needed to solve what he saw as some of the biggest challenges facing barbershop business owners, including:
- Creating an atmosphere where everyone was welcome
- Getting (and keeping) the best and friendliest barbers in the area
- Delivering a standout client experience
- Having the data to understand the performance of the shop and the barbers
One of the main steps Putman took to address these challenges was to position Olde World as a hub for training and development. In a diverse region, where barbershops were historically segregated establishments, Putman hired people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets and trained them to cut every type of hair and hairstyle. By training in-house, Putman could hire great people who would provide the brand’s trademark care for clients–even when they had no barbering experience.
Putman’s commitment to the success of the barbers went beyond honing their crafts. Rather than renting out booths to barbers, Olde World operates on a hybrid model. While Putman has a few chairs available for rent, he prefers to bring barbers in on a tiered commission system.
That means Olde World’s barbers get steady paychecks every month. As they move from rookies to more veteran barbers and stylists, their pay increases. The top barbers make six figures today.
Olde World shop, new world solutions
With Olde World, Putman was determined to do things differently. But the software he relied on to help run the business was holding him back.
With other barbershop software, he lacked insights into his business and day-to-day support for running it efficiently. After four years in business, he turned to SQUIRE to help him unlock a whole new world for Olde World.
“I chose SQUIRE because I’m not an IT guy," said Putman. "I wanted a system that was designed for barbers and provided a higher level of support when we needed help. I appreciate how personal it feels working with SQUIRE.”
Olde World Barber Shoppe started using SQUIRE at the end of 2018, when there was only one location. It was a game changer for owners and barbers alike. For Putman, it helped him stay connected to the performance of his business; for the barbers, it helped them stay connected to their clients.
Here’s some of the ways the Olde World team is using SQUIRE to up their games:
Keeping booked up
You can get a walk-in at Olde World, but Putman prefers barbers keep their schedules full of appointments. With SQUIRE, Olde World’s clients can book online or in their app easily, including managing recurring appointments.
Next-level customer experience
Olde World’s barbers can manage the entire customer relationship within the SQUIRE app using the built-in email reminders, text/push notifications, and marketing directly with Customer Engage™. Many barbers also use the in-app notes for each client to help them remember important preferences and details as they build a loyal client base.
Managing a hybrid shop model
Shop owners spend a lot of time every day managing the business. With barbers working on commission and renting chairs, Putman is able to manage it all faster than ever before within SQUIRE thanks to automated booth rental payments and commission management.
Faster insights into the business
With SQUIRE’s helpful built-in reporting on everything from real-time revenue projections to inventory management, Putman is always on-top of what’s going on at the shop and knows how to plan for the future.
SQUIRE helped the Olde World team take what they were already doing to the next level by making the business of barbering easier for everyone–owners, barbers, and customers alike.
Building a barbering empire with details and data
With SQUIRE added to their formula for success, the Olde World Barber Shoppe has become the Olde World Barber Shoppes.
By keeping a close eye on how busy his 16 or so barbers are and how many barbers he has waiting for work, Putman was able to plan an expansion of the Olde World brand while giving his longtime partners in the business a chance to strike out on their own.
In 2021, Jason Patridge opened a location in Macon, GA, after working for six years at the original location as an award-winning barber and artistic director. The location has a more modern vibe and a different price point for services tailored to the community.
A year later, Kevin Battle opened the third location in Perry, GA, after years of working with Putman at the Warner Robins location.
Putman owns 100% of the original shop, but is a minority partner in each new location. Helping barbers he’s worked with for years transition into barbershop owners is one of the best parts of the job, according to him.
The original Warner Robins location continues to thrive with 3500+ appointments each month and over $1.2M revenue per year.
Thanks to his attention to detail and a willingness to trust data, Putman’s savvy business moves are rewriting what it means to run a barbershop in central Georgia. By building a shop that prioritizes training, stellar customer service, and provides barbers with the tools they need to manage the client experience, Olde World will continue to grow its brand and reputation. By choosing SQUIRE, Putman and the other Olde World owners have the tools and insights they need to efficiently manage their businesses and monitor the performance of their shops.
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