Cornwall Ontario – On August 1st Kings and Little Ones will celebrate their first anniversary, and for barbershop owner Josh Casselman the milestone is surreal. This manly man’s barbershop has had a successful first year, and the owner is very grateful.
“One year in business. It’s all a bit surreal. To me, the milestone is a time to reflect and be thankful. I am thankful for every customer and their support as we have continually tweaked our operations to serve them better. I am thankful for the guidance received from Cornwall Economic Development. I am thankful for the businesses available locally to deliver on our needs during start-up. I am thankful to have found a talented, friendly and dedicated staff. I am thankful for the support from family and friends, and especially the love and support from my wife and children who have seen me through this venture.
Being awarded Cornwall & Area’s Favourite Barber Shop in our first year of operation is a goal I am very proud to have achieved so quickly. Before opening, I actually cutout and taped the picture of the previous year’s winner in the back of our shop. It was a visual reminder that Cornwall needed our barber shop. A barber shop that focuses on men,” said Josh Casselman.
The decor at King and Little Ones, located at 231 Pitt Street, is a mix of rustic and modern. From old school barber chairs to flat screen TVs, it’s a visually interesting place. It will make any man, young or old, feel at home.
“Kings and Little Ones was inspired by a realization that somewhere over time providing hair services to men in Cornwall was no longer priority. What existing hair service businesses were doing made sense — focus on women, they spend more. But every major player was using the same model. Focusing on men is what makes Kings and Little Ones different and our rustic man cave decor reflects this. With antiques on display from a time gone by our shop honours things historic. Being located in a historic downtown Cornwall is a perfect fit. Given the choice again, I would still choose a central downtown location” Josh Casselman explains.
A hair cut and beer? Cold suds add to the ambiance of this barber shop. Customers can now enjoy a craft beer at Kings and Little Ones.
“I wanted local craft beer available from the onset. It’s a perfect fit, affirming the relaxed atmosphere that we promote. Barriers existed in obtaining a liquor license, so focus remained on first providing great hair services. In time solutions revealed themselves in how to obtain the liquor license. Customers love it. “You mean I can have a beer while waiting for my haircut.” Absolutely,” Josh Casselman explained with a smile.
The decor and beer are wonderful, but when it comes to getting a haircut the most important tool at this manly man’s barbershop are the clippers.
“Because we focus on men, clippers are a main tool and our barbers are very good with them. This is not the case with every hairstylist. Clippers, like most tools, require a lot of experience to master and if you don’t use it you lose it. A resurgence of classic men’s cuts involving fades and parts — think Mad Men series — is very popular. Definitely my recommendation, especially on the little guys. These cuts will quickly identify those who are not good with clippers. Edges should be smooth and transition in length seamlessly. Once paying attention you realize how difficult quality clipper work is an can appreciate why barbering is considered a form of art,” said Josh Casselman.
Although there is a focus on men, some women do seek out barbershops for specific types of hair cuts.
“Under cuts and hair tattoos for women is a newer trend and requires clippers. For this work women seek out our barbers. Nothing fancy though. We provide basic services — no blowouts, colouring, or up-dos. Our focus remains on being a comfortable place for guys,” Josh Casselman added.
In addition to great hair cuts, Kings and Little Ones focuses on customer service. Josh Casselman’s experience as a Certified Financial Planner gave him valueable experience and insight in the field of customer service.
“Not many know I am a former Certified Financial Planner and worked several years on the front line of customer service for one of Canada’s largest retail banks. During my time there I learned much about working with the public and what it meant to deliver great customer service. Just this week I received encouraging feedback from a Kings and Little Ones customer, saying “All the girls know their stuff and I have no complaints. … What set her (the last barber at your shop) apart, was the details, the small stuff. The little things that make a really good visit even better. … spectacular is in the details!” This basically summarizes my philosophy on customer service — knowing your “stuff” and doing it well is expected, but doing the extra little things without being asked is what can make a good customer experience great,” said Josh Casselman.
One way that Kings and Little One’s has built a rapport with customers and the community is through events and fundraising. Since opening last summer, the Barbershop has been involved with raising money for SASS and Movember.
“Our Daddy Daughter Hair Survival Class held in January was a big hit and a lot of laughs. The pictures of father-daughter moments captured by Moment.Us Photography spread across Facebook like wildfire. We still get clients asking when the next session will be. Another session in January is very likely. This event raised one-thousand dollars in support of Sexual Assault Support Services for Women of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry & Akwesasne who is committed to the support of victims/survivors who have experienced sexual violence,” Josh Casselman reminisced.
“Movember was another big event for our shop. Partnered with our friends Dan & Bill of the Boom Breakfast 101.9 FM, Movember contests were held throughout the month, raising awareness and money to support the fight against prostate cancer. It’s a scary stat that 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime,” Josh Casselman added.
Going forward Josh Casselman is still focused on customer service and community involvement. He has worked to create an innovative business model for a barber shop – a business model that has been very successful to date.
“When we first opened some asked if Kings and Little Ones was a franchise. I took it as a complement, reflecting a job well done on branding and decor. I assured them that Kings and Little Ones is a local business founded by a Cornwall area resident of over 35 years. One year down the road, being focused on the local community is still top of mind. In the first year we added barber stations, expanded our staff, launched an 11th cut free loyalty program, changed my office into a kids room featuring tablets and an eight foot Thomas The Train play table, introduced online booking, and we have become a place where people can enjoy local craft beer. Continuing to execute on who we are is the work going forward — a barber shop that aims to restore pride in male grooming. Where quality haircuts and hot shaves are provided in an environment where men feel comfortable,” Josh Casselman concluded.
For more information on Kings and Little Ones visit their website.