Some people take the Myers- Briggs test and read What Color Is Your Parachute to determine their life’s occupation. Others seek the advice of a guidance counselor or spend hundreds of dollars on career counseling in search of the perfect job. For an unfortunate few, they toil unhappily in a mundane desk job for years on end, until their dream diminishes like Jon Secada from the Top 40 list.
Boswell Scot took an easier and much more practical approach. At the age of 23, after being laid off from his office job, he sat down with a piece of paper and made a list of all the people he knew and their vocation. “I decided that my barber had the most fun job,” he said. “Think about it. You get to stand around, talking to people all day, and get paid for it!” Shortly thereafter, he enrolled in barber school in his home state of Florida.
In 2007, with 5 years of hair-cutting under his belt, the savvy St. Petersburg native packed his shears and barbicide and moved to New York City, where he worked at upscale salons downtown. “It was always a dream to open my own shop,” the ebullient thirty-something remarked. Eight years later, his dream is fully realized. At the beginning of February 2015, Scot opened Best Barber, an upscale, yet approachable and unpretentious full service grooming shop in Manhattan’s trendy Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The space, located between 48th and 49th street on 10th avenue, offers a clean straightforward approach and look. Beautiful wood floors and bare white walls envelop the space with a simple neon light near the front announcing its’ name.
While the neighborhood’s demographic is predominantly gay, Scott eschews the title of “gay barber shop” and instead promotes himself as the “every-man” of barbering. “My clientele ranges. I have both gay and straight men who stop by. My female clients also make appointments. Basically, anyone who wants to be treated well and receive a great cut is welcome here.” His hospitable attitude speaks for itself. Nearly all of his former downtown clients have followed Scot to the new midtown spot . The difference is in the customer service. “Most shops in this area aren’t as personable,” he observed. “They just point to a waiting chair when you go in, and have very little interaction once you’re seated in the barber chair. You’re really more like a number than a person.” At Best Barber, his welcoming staff offers you coffee or water while you wait, and make an effort to get to know you. Plus, they use square software to create appointments, which is seamless for both his staff and his clients.
In his thirteen years of hair trimming, Scot has become a default therapist. “I’ve heard an earful from some clients,” he smiles. “People tend to reveal very personal information with me. I once had a lady, on her first visit, admit to having an affair.” Clearly, Scot’s natural charisma and cheery charm lend themselves to confessionals.
In preparing for his own business-and even now, the entrepreneur actually visits other shops to get his own haircut and encourages his staff to do the same. “I think it’s important to gain an understanding of how it feels to be a client.” Since opening his doors in February, Scot’s staff continues to grow and he has recently added a fourth barber to his roster.
The Williamsburg resident travels each day to his midtown shop, where, in addition to barber services, he carries a complete line of Malin and Goetz products. “I have always been a huge fan of their line,” he said. “Not only do they make fine quality products, but the look of their packaging fits in nicely with the aesthetic of my shop.”
On a personal note, this journalist was treated to the full “Best Barber” experience. My hair is thinning and there seems to be little hope. Scot put my fears at rest, assuring me that it is “confidence that makes the man and not a receding hairline.” Consequently, I have rarely received so many compliments on a haircut in the days following. In bold, white letters on the shop’s front window is a quote (printed in all capital letters): “HANDSOME MADE SIMPLE.” With a master like Boswell Scot at the helm, who am I to argue?
Best Barber is located at 694 Tenth Avenue between 48th and 49th streets.
Phone: 646.791.0560 http://www.bestbarber.nyc twitter: @bestbarbernyc
Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Saturday, 11-8pm and Sunday 11-6