Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Heintz.
Hi Joe, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
In 2015, I graduated from Missouri State University-Springfield with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business (emphasis on entertainment & sports). Upon graduation, I job searched for a while. With most of the jobs in my degree area being lower-paying entry-level jobs with long hours, I didn’t really have a direction I wanted to go. Feeling frustrated, I knew I needed a job to atleast bring some kind of money in. I was hired by Aldi as an in-store shift manager and turned out to be pretty decent at it. Even though I was making good money right out of school, with great benefits, I knew there was more I needed to be doing with my career. I wanted a job where I could make great money and hang out with my friends all day. I always had a passion for cutting my own hair (there’s a few current videos on my Instagram) so I figured why couldn’t I do it on others for a living.
The problem was all the research I did said barbers don’t make a lot of money. Crazy thing was every barber I knew said, don’t be fooled by numbers. Was I about to gamble my future on other barber’s testimonies over Google research? I figured what did I have to lose, as I still had my Aldi gig. Now that I knew the direction I wanted to go with my career, albeit not a popular choice amongst peers, I knew I had a big problem. Tuition! Most barber colleges are cash only, so I somehow had to come up with $10k within a year In order to make this happen. For the next year, I worked 70 hour weeks, every week, between 2 jobs until I had Tuition in full.
Because I wanted to be the most diverse barber I could, I enrolled at Eclips Barber College in Overland, Missouri. It was a predominantly black barber college and it specialized in fading techniques. I already knew how to cut white people, but I wanted to be accepted and trusted by EVERYONE, no matter the color. For 11 months, I was one of a handful of white barber students. Some people from my background (predominantly white private schools) may have been intimidated in my situation, but not me. Some see color, but I simply saw some talented prospective barbers; I felt right at home the whole time I was there. Every student made me feel right at home and they even gave me the nickname “Professor.” My fellow students claimed I resembled The Professor from the old And1 Mix Tape Tours. I think they figured I would get mad, but I took it and ran with it. This is where my whole brand started. By the time I graduated, I was cutting a lot of my fellow students hair along with about 8-10 requests on a good day on the floor,
Upon graduation and passing state board, I took a job at a Barber Shop on South Grand. It was an old-school barbershop but lacked diversity greatly. I learned a few things for sure but After spending a year here, I felt like my career was kind of stagnant before it even really blossomed; after a year here, I only had about 30 regular clients. Luckily this was a commission-based shop so if I didn’t make anything, I didn’t have to pay for my space, Commission-based shops are fantastic for when you are getting out of school but are terrible for barbers with established clientele. Deep down, I knew this shop really wasn’t my vibe and I needed to spread my wings. I knew my talents weren’t being tapped all the way yet.
My next and current stop is/was Sonny’s Barber Shop in Affton, Missouri. If you’ve ever been through Affton chances are you’ve passed it. Now, Sonny’s Barber Shop was considered the big time for me. I knew they put out some elite work and I also knew my skills were not up to par. With this shop being a booth rental structure, I knew I needed clients of my own. In a booth rent shop, if you don’t have your own clients, you don’t eat. Sonny wasn’t going to set me up for failure, however. He consistently helped me hone my skills, along with the other barbers in the shop. All 3 of them got me up to speed skillwise as quickly as they felt I could handle.
While all of my hands-on skills were being crafted, Sonny was also teaching me how to truly build my Brand. Even though I worked in his shop and his name was on the line, he also wanted me to have my own brand. “I’m not your boss. I’m your shop owner. You’re your own boss, your just on my team.” Those words have stuck with me like glue. Once I had enough of my own clients, I formed my own entity, Professor Cutz LLC. Since I am an independent contractor, I am able to form my own business while working at Sonny’s. It’s Professor Cutz @ Sonnys Barber Shop. I say that because The Shop needs its recognition and also I want to be a draw. I want people to say “let’s go to Sonny’s to see the Professor!”
Fast forward to today. I currently work at Sonny’s Tuesday through Saturday and couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living. I went from only having regular clients to having a pretty deep clientele. I used to want to open my own shop immediately, but I have way too much fun at work to even consider it anytime soon. It helps that the money is pretty lucrative also. Like anything else, you get what you put in. If you hustle, market, do whatever you can to get your work and name out there, you can make a lot of money. I no longer rely on a company to hand me a biweekly paycheck and stress over bills. If I want to make money, I work for it. I have to create it, essentially. But by doing this, the possibly for income has no ceiling. I repeat, no ceiling. Let’s just say all the worrying my parents and family did while I was going through this three-year process can be put to rest. I will never let them know how much I make; it shouldn’t matter. I didn’t get in this game for the money. But it does help to finally be paid what I’m worth. Who determines what you should be paid? I had to get out of the rat race and figure it out, Why should a boss or company that barely knows my name determine what my work is worth? It shouldn’t and I can gratefully say that it no longer does.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all. After taking out 25k in student loans for my business degree, I then had to pay 7k cash to get my Barber license. I had to deal with a family that thought I was stupid or crazy for giving up my benefits at Aldi to pursue my own business/brand as a barber. Had to work 70+hours between 2 jobs to afford barber school.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a full-time barber at Sonny’s Barber Shop. Being an independent contracter, this allows me to run my Brand/LLC out of the shop. I cut men’s hair for a living. I specialize in all hair textures. Having a background in white and black barbershops, I’d say I’m as diverse as they come.
I would say I’m known for my clean fades. Fading is truly an art that must be polished over time. Nobody is going to give a perfect haircut in 15 minutes. I take appointments every 30 min-45 min depending if the client wants any bears work done. I want my clients to feel like that are getting the most detailed haircut they’ve ever received. Some people want to get in and get out and that is completely fine. There are plenty of chain places for them that will fill their need. For me, I want clients that truly appreciate my passion and only trust me to cut their hair. I want clients that don’t mind sitting for 30 min in my chair because they trust that it’s going to be well worth their money. I want my clients to feel a sense of confidence when leaving the shop. There is no better feeling than hearing my clients tell me how many compliments they’ve received on their new cut. I want to be the guy people say, “you wanna good fade, then go see the Professor @ Sonnys.”
I take pride in my work. It’s not simply a haircut for me. It’s an experience for my clients. They get to come hang out in a fun and diverse shop and receive a fresh haircut. I love hearing about what my clients have done during the time in between cuts. I love the hustle of marketing. The name of the game is client retention. Why do they want to keep coming back to Me Over the guy next store? Patience in this industry is critical. Gaining trust between barber and client takes months, even years in some cases.
I want readers to know that Professor Cutz is out here grinding and ready to transform you into your desired look. Take a look at my website, Professorcutz.com, see if my style is for you, and then book an appointment so I can do my thing. I am by appointment only, so I do suggest booking a week in advance atleast.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I have a few people that deserve credit. My first shop owner that gave me my start, which allowed me to get much-needed reps. A few certain family members, especially my mom, really supported me even if she wasn’t sure about the money. 90% of my family thought I was completely nuts for giving up a good-paying job, with great benefits, to go “cut hair.” Let’s just say, after seeing what I’m bringing in financially, they’re all starting to “believe” in my vision.
My coworkers at Sonny’s Barber Shop have helped me take my skills to the next level. Aimee Carter (Instagram: thehairytopiary) has helped me elevate my skills in a lot of areas; if you think you can be average and cut next to her, you have another thing coming. You either elevate your game or your potential clients will be in her chair next week so to speak. Joe krabbe (Instagram: krabbebarber) has helped me elevate my shear skills incredibly. The guy can add texture and flow like nobodies business.
Lastly, Leo “Sonny” Liston deserves the most credit in my eyes. Not only is he my shop owner but he is also my true mentor. I could cut before I worked for Sonny, but until I met him, I didn’t really know what a “polished” haircut looked like. He’s taken me under his wing and taught me the ins and outs of cutting every type of hairstyle/texture. Even with my College degree, this guy has taught me more about running a business and building a legit brand than anyone I know, besides my older brother. Even though me and my brother don’t always get along, that man has built an incredibly successful landscaping company and taught me many things about being an entrepreneur.
I can honestly say that if I had never started working at Sonny’s Barber Shop, my career would have never really took off. I would be simply cutting walk-ins and the occasional regular. For me, that’s like waiting on people to pay me. Instead, I realized I have to go out and build my own clientele and in order to do this, I have to really put myself and my Brand out there. If you can create your own income, you will be successful in any endeavor.
- Haircut: $30
- Haircut & Beard Trim: $40
- Kids haircut(must be 5 years old): $25
- Beard trim or Line Up: $20
- Straight Razor Shave: $40
- Email: Heintzjj@gmail.com
- Website: Professorcutz.com
- Instagram: @professorcutz