Today we’d like to introduce you to Hillary Romeo.
Hi Hillary, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I have been a barber for 13 years, about four years ago I decided to go all in and work for myself. HillRomeo LLC was born in September 2017, since then I have been working on my brand and creating the best possible experience for everyone that sits in my chair. While I was working on creating my business, I found myself in a downward spiral mentally and physically. I was in an abusive relationship and lost focus on anything that really mattered to me, my business suffered as well as my relationships with family and friends. I came across this mental toughness program on Instagram that I knew would help me get out of the spiral I found myself in. I started the #75HARD program in Jan 2020. With this program, I was able to get my confidence back and then some. I stopped lying to myself and my loved ones. It gave me the courage to leave my toxic relationship and start focusing on my career and personal life.
The physical change was great, I lost 25 lbs, built muscle and my energy went through the roof. What was better than the physical aspect were the mental changes. I was sad, angry, and negative. Before I took control, I was floating through life…. Feeling disconnected and numb. I found myself overmedicating to not be fully aware of my emotions and feelings. With the help of my doctor, I went from 200MG of antidepressants to only 15MG. Fueling my body with what it really needs along with physical activity helped me to take back control of my life.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Starting a Barbering career takes patience, you don’t learn much in school as far as haircutting goes. When you start your first job and get your hands in some hair is when you really begin to learn the career. I didn’t make much my first five years of cutting. I started at a brand new Barber Shop in Downtown St. Louis that had zero clientele. I was a commission-based barber, I remember having paychecks as low at $86 for the entire week. I waited tables and bartended to make ends meet. Fast forward a few years, I end up managing multiple shops and decided to go out on my own, Best decision I have ever made. Yes, it’s harder but so worth it. Since going out on my own, I have been able to spend more time with my daughter and nothing beats that.
When it came to the 75 Hard programs, there were MANY challenges. One of the most difficult challenges was the requirement of two workouts a day, you can imagine the blisters on my feet after a few weeks. Another requirement of the program was to do one of your workouts outside, no matter the conditions. This was TOUGH. I walked outside in everything from 3 degree snowstorms to pouring down rain with no umbrella. This part of the program was probably the most beneficial for me, it made me realize that I can do anything. Mind over matter was nothing I had ever practiced before and it is a game-changer, it has helped me so much in every aspect of my life since completing 75 Hard. The overall soreness was unreal, but once I completed each day I felt empowered to keep going. Learning how to manage my time to make sure I was able to fit everything into my day was a different challenge for me. I learned that I was wasting a lot of my time on insignificant activities and now respect it more than ever.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Barbering is for creative people, it is an extremely social career and has the potential to be very lucrative. I started from the bottom, I specifically remember being asked at my very first job to taper the neckline to skin and it sounded like a foreign language. I told the guy I couldn’t do it and he left with a terrible haircut. I’ve worked hard to grow as a barber and have continued to educate myself on new trends and techniques. A few years ago, I found myself enjoying beard trimming more than ever. The first 10ish years of my career, I was terrified to touch a beard. I have since started to specialize in beard trimming with a straight razor edge. It is my most popular service that provides the most customer retention.
What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I have learned so much with my fitness journey. One important thing I learned that I wish every single person out there could understand is that it’s ok to prioritize yourself. Throughout my journey, I have had some negative feedback that I prioritize so much time out of my day to focus on me. What these individuals don’t understand is that taking care of myself first makes me stronger and healthier – in turn, I am overall a better mother for my daughter, a better friend and family member and a better business owner. It puts me in the right mindset to be the best version of myself and that benefits everyone around me.
Along this journey, I have become more aware of how my actions affect my daughter. Kids are sponges, everything they see they do, if you eat unhealthy they most likely will eat unhealthy. If you lead an active lifestyle, they will lead an active lifestyle. My daughter picked up most of the habits I did along with me on my journey and I could not be more proud of her.
As far as my career goes, I am learning every single day. I am nowhere near the finish line, there is so much out there to see and learn and I can’t wait to continue to grow everyday for the rest of my life.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: HillRomeo.com
- Instagram: hillromeo.barber
Sydney Kell @chosenphotographyphotos