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Art Williams

The Influential Grooming Lounge

Art Williams

Gabriel Flores  0:01  

Art the dope influencer Williams Thank you so much for joining the shades of entrepreneurship. Now first let's let's uh let's introduce art to the world please tell me who is art the dope influencer Williams Oh man.

Art Williams  0:14  

What who is art the dope influencer Williams. Well, I'm a husband, a father of two. In in, I guess I'm in the hunt or I guess the hunt is the bad is a bad word to use. But I'm in the mix for a puppy right now my family is wooing me trying their best to woo me to get a puppy. So I'm kind of in that phase right now. So I will soon probably be a pet owner as well. Barbershop owner barber by profession. Basically, Man, I'm really just all around friend to everybody. I think

Gabriel Flores  0:59  

I like it. So what what kind of dog?

Art Williams  1:04  

Well, right now they are looking at a chihuahua Blue Heeler mix. So it's not something too big. I actually wanted a big dog. But you know, they they want a little dog and I will probably will probably get a little dog. Yeah, little people that I live with.

Gabriel Flores  1:26  

Yeah, yeah. But hey, who's gonna make the decision though?

Art Williams  1:30  

I'm just gonna.

Gabriel Flores  1:34  

So let's talk a little bit about the barbershop. Tell me Tell me How did that start limp? I would love to kind of hear a little bit of background about you your kind of upbringing, then how did that kind of turn into becoming a barber?

Art Williams  1:45  

Yeah, well, I grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida, okay. Many years ago, I guess. And I used to work in a barber shop, just sweeping the floor when I was probably from the ages of 12 to 1818 When I finally left, but I worked in a barber shop man just basically sweeping the floor. And I used to see, first what turned me on to being a barber was the exchange of cash from from clients.

Gabriel Flores  2:13  

Because it's cash, it's Kansas Cash

Art Williams  2:15  

used to be now. And he and a friend of mine, one of my best well, my best friends since the third grade, his cousin owned the barbershop. And me, me and his guy, we went. I mean, we did everything together football basketball track. He was like he was really my best friend. Nice. And when we got into 10th grade, sophomore year in high school, his cousin talked him into going to barber school. And so while we were both in school, and I was playing sports, he he quit sports. And then he went into barber school. So he became a barber before we even graduated high school. Nice. And so that was the barbershop that I would go to every weekend. And I'd work sweeping that barber shop from a low, like I said, from 12 years old until 18. And just seeing that exchange and how the conversations that used to happen in the barber shop, the people that used to come through it. I mean, for the lack of a better term, you know, the boosters with the hot, hot merchandise. I mean, you can probably get anything in a barber shop. But that was that's what really drew me to the barbershop and I knew when I was 15 by the time I was 15, I knew I wanted to be a barber. I knew that's what I wanted to do with my life. My mom didn't want me to do that though. She had other plans for me going to college, but but after college man I couldn't wait to college was done. I cut hair all through college. Back then, you know, haircuts was, I mean, haircuts in a dorm room you cut in like $5 ahead. Football players is coming through at 10 o'clock at night and on their way to a party. Can I get lined up real quick? Yeah, that's

Gabriel Flores  4:06  

funny. So So where do you play? You played at Portland State University? Yeah, I played

Art Williams  4:10  

football at Portland State University. I went to school in Santa Barbara, California first. Okay. So I went from Daytona Beach to Santa Barbara, California. And in Santa Barbara. I ended up playing football at the junior college or community college in Santa Barbara, with some friends from Florida, and just ended up I mean, I guess I did pretty good for myself. I got a scholarship to Portland State. Other schools that offered me some scholarships too. But I knew I wanted to work for Nike. Hmm. I found out Nike was in Portland. Okay. I was like, Yeah, I'm going yeah, that's where I want to go. Yeah, it makes sense. You know, so regardless of, of football, or what college it was, I was going to work at Nike. So yeah, and I want it to be close.

Gabriel Flores  4:56  

Did that. Did you make it happen? Absolutely. That's what I'm Absolutely. And so now, how did the transition go from working to Nike? Do you still work at Nike? Or do you own the barbershop outright by yourself? How does that work?

Art Williams  5:09  

No, I'm a co owner of of the barbershop. I have two business partners that are clients of mine. Gotcha. So they're not barbers. They're, they're just silent business partners. They really handle a lot of the logistical stuff behind the scenes. And I handle the day to day operations. But I'm Nike. I stopped working. I worked at Nike while I was in college as a state. Gotcha. And once I graduated from Portland State, I moved back to California. Okay, so I quit Nike, moved back to California. And then I ended up coming back to Portland about two and a half years after that, okay. And so instead of going to work at Nike, I just went to barber school instead. I mean, and even that story is pretty, pretty. When I think about it, and I think of like, I look back and I think about where I've come from, or all of the things that have happened before I was actually able to become a professional barber. Yeah. It's, I'm kind of in amazement at the road sometimes. The courage that it took to even death.

Gabriel Flores  6:16  

Yeah, so Yeah, cuz you essentially went from, you know, C Corp. To a sole proprietorship, LLC, right? Independent contractor, right? Entrepreneur. Yeah, call it what you want, but you're working for yourself and everything you do you kind of eat what you kill. Yeah, absolutely. You know, how was that transition? was? Was it a difficult transition?

Art Williams  6:39  

It was it was a scary transition for me. Even in that process. I was working. I love watches. And even though I don't have watch, all right, I love watches and, and I ended up getting when I came back from Santa Barbara. In 2002, I think it was, when I landed back here in Portland in 2002. I couldn't find a job anywhere. So I went to barber school and going to barber school. While I was in barber school, I eventually got a job at a watch store selling watches. And I was just a sales associate for about three months. And then they made me store manager at another store. And so I'm working for this company. And I think I may have worked there. I know I worked there the whole time. I was in barber school. Okay. And that was at least nine months, maybe a year. And I worked there about two or three months after I finished barber school and got my barber license and everything. But I was afraid to quit that job because it was a consistent, yeah. consistent stream of income benefits. Retirement. And I was getting a paycheck every two weeks. Like no matter what, I get a paycheck every

Gabriel Flores  7:56  

two weeks, right. Same time vacation to holiday. Yeah. Yeah.

Art Williams  8:00  

I don't miss the meetings though.

Gabriel Flores  8:02  

This could have been another email.

Art Williams  8:05  

I do not. Yeah. The Monday meeting the ups and conference calls every single Monday. But I bought this book called The Dream Giver. I'm Bruce Wilkinson. Probably a year before I even before I read it, I didn't even read it. But people don't buy watches everyday like they buy shoes. Yeah. So the one store was really slow. So I just took this book to work one day. And I just started reading this book, man. And it was all about just just going from familiar what was familiar to you to taking a chance and just stepping outside of that comfort zone, right? Yeah, definitely. And so when I got to the last page of that book, I closed that book, and I said, You know what, I'm just gonna be a barber. Put my two week notice, like the very next day. And, and you know how corporate America is, like you put a two week notice in there, like, you could just leave now. Yeah, you don't have to stay you know. They're all

Gabriel Flores  9:06  

it seems like they bitter, sometimes bitter sometimes when somebody leaves me. What did I do?

Art Williams  9:13  

Ya so, you know, they asked me to leave. And I was I mean, I was ready. But I was afraid I was so afraid to go from the consistent paycheck and benefits to no benefits and an inconsistent pay. And so I just but I took the plunge man. I was like, man, since you were 15 years old. You wanted to do this by this time. I was 27 Maybe. Okay, and so, between 15 and 20, that's 12 years. So it took me 12 years before I became a professional barber, and by that time, I was just like, You know what? It was only me. I didn't have a girlfriend. I didn't have a wife. I didn't have kids. What do I got to lose? I'm poor before Yeah, like, if I'm poor I just I gotta find a way to make that.

Gabriel Flores  10:03  

So did you did you start out right away owning the owning your own shop or did you work for somebody else? Just yeah,

Art Williams  10:08  

I work for somebody else. Okay. And I don't know if you probably remember Reggie's barbershop was a big barber shop. It wasn't a big barbershop, but it was well known. Yeah. Yeah, it was. I think it was six of us in that shop, including Reggie. And he gave me my first job out of barber school. And I remember him he has Reggie. Reggie used to smoke cigars. And so his voice was very raspy. And I remember Reggie going in and talk to Reggie and Reggie was like yeah, you got to work here you got to you got to have to work you have full time I came out to you know part time barbers. Yeah. And I was like, shoot man because I wanted to try to keep my

Gabriel Flores  10:51  

your side yeah, job. Like barbers can be a side hustle. Yeah.

Art Williams  10:55  

It's so once he said that to me, and then I got to the last page of that book, I just quit. I was like, okay, cool. I'm gonna go be a bar. And then I could hear the echoes of all of the instructors and barber schools and, like, trying to talk me into being like a cosmetologist, like cosmetologist, because you're not going to make you're not even going to make $30,000 your first year out of barber school, and all of that stuff. So I heard the stirrup echoes from their voices, even during that time. So it made it even made me more fearful to do it, but I just felt like it was it just needed to be done. And if it I remember thinking, I'm tired of making somebody else rich. Yeah, you know, and I'm not rich at all, but I'm just like, Man, I'm done making this other company Rich, who just asked me to go anyways. Yeah,

Gabriel Flores  11:46  

totally makes sense. They didn't even really need me. Yeah. So how did how did that transition? So progress from you know, working, working in the shop there to owning your own shop? Or did there was there a step in between?

Art Williams  11:59  

No, it actually happened that way. So I actually worked for Reggie worked at Reggie's, we didn't I didn't work for ages. I was still an independent contractor, a gotcha. Barber Shop. He just put He provided the space for us. Gotcha. Another Barber, me and another barber who I went to barber school with that worked in the same shop. We decided that it would be dope if we open up our own barber shop together. So technically the influential Grooming Lounge that exists today is the second barber shop that I co owned. Okay, the first barber shop that I caught one was called champions barbershop. And so me and that guy, we just decided that we wanted we worked for we worked at Reggie's for probably almost six years, I believe. Okay. And so it was just time for us to move on. You kind of stay in a place for too long you kind of outgrow it. My my my clientele had gotten bigger. Reggie's was still a pop in place. We had visions of making the place more poppin you know, gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. So we like literally moved six blocks down the street. Okay. And started champions barbershop and champions barbershop was phenomenal. Like it was. It was a dope is one of the dopest barbershops in Portland. I mean, Northeast Portland is known for their barbershops and you have Knievel's always give respect to Mr. Paul gnaws at Geneva. And then you have to rail brand is originally up. So when we when we came on the scene, it was like Geneva's Terrell Brandon's and then champions. Yeah. And then you know, and so we've we built champions up to what it was always been community oriented. And then that's kind of about nine years, I guess it was we opened champions in 2008. So it was five years I worked at Reggie's, I became a barber in 2003 2008, we opened our own barber shop. And here we are now. Nine years later, it was nine years later. So it was 2008. We opened it, nine years 2017 I decided that I'm gonna sell my interest, and then just open my own shop. Okay. So that's kind of how to influential became the influential Well, that's when the influential started to come into fruition. Gotcha. And that actually happened for me, because I've been a football coach for a long time, too. I had a friend that coached me and at PSU, who was the wide receiver coach at Boise State. Okay. And he would invite me to Boise State every summer to coach coach their football camp. So it mean like 300 kids? Yeah. So that was kind of like my first little bit of coaching. was being at Boise State but coaching those kids throughout the summer it was like two weeks or something like that it was two different sessions. And I would spend that time with him just kind of learning stuff and learning coaching styles. And it was a group of kids that I had to coach. And in this group of kids that I coach for four days, I think it was, they came to me and they're like, man, you're the best coach we ever had. As not to kind of like, pat myself on the back, because I didn't know what the heck I was doing.

Gabriel Flores  15:24  

I know what you're thinking, you know, this x, this x and this? Oh,

Art Williams  15:27  

yeah. And so they were like, man, you're the best coach I've ever had, you know, and things started to just it. I just remember when it was time to say goodbye to them kids. I was sad. And I was like, in four days, I got attached to a group of kids that I probably never see again. Yeah. And, and then I remember driving home from Boise back to Portland. At this point, I was married me and my wife driving home and I was like, Man, the influence that I got, those kid has had just as much of an influence in my life. In the four days that I did it nares Gotcha. And then the word influence just kept floating around in my memory, like, kept going, influential, influential, influential. And, and I think in 2010, is when I discovered that, like art, may you actually have strong influence in life in the lives of young people. And you need to find a way to harness that. And so hence, the influential Grooming Lounge is the longest name for a business that you have. Sinbad came in one time. I was like, bro, when you told me you worked at the influential, I thought it was a strip club. I was like, Yeah, man. Is this a barbershop?

Gabriel Flores  16:47  

Let's let's talk about that a little bit, too. So one of the things that, you know, you've you've actually brought in a lot of celebrities to cut their hair, Odell Beckham, Sinbad. How did that connection kind of? Like how did that all happen?

Art Williams  17:03  

Man, most of it just kind of happened through word of mouth. But I made more money working for Nike. On a photoshoot than I made working for Nike and teens.

Gabriel Flores  17:17  

Just faded them up. I like

Art Williams  17:19  

so so a friend of mine, a client of mine friend, a friend of mine, he he worked at Nike, he wasn't an art director at Nike. He worked in the NFL division. And so he always kind of anytime an NFL player came to town I was the person he would call anytime they would have a photo shoot because he was always the art director creative director on a photo shoot us something I will be the barber he would call and then I just started to formulate relationships with these guys or friendships I don't know what you want to call it but and we started exchanging phone numbers which I thought was kind of weird. Like what my number Adrian Peterson wants to change I'm like name dropping on his pocket. You know, really stage a phone. I'm like, bro, what? Like, I don't have nothing to offer you but hair clippers. Shave? Hey, no, but But um, that's kind of how that that part happened like Nike, Nike, probably I would say introduce me to the to professional athletes. You know, working in a barbershop here in Portland, you get introduced professional athletes just based on trailblaze. Yep, yep. And so and, and at this point in my career, I am actually the personal Barbara of an actor, which I actually met through an old Trailblazer. I'm gonna say his name because he still lives here Martell Webster. So I met Aldous Hodge through Martell Webster, or vice versa. How just met me because I was the more famous person and so we met each other and, and that relationship just grew, you know, we're 12 years. We've been friends now for 12 years. And now we get to we've been working together pretty consistent for the last four years. That's

Gabriel Flores  19:07  

awesome. That's awesome. So let's take it to the business perspective. Since you've you've done this twice now, what would you say was the hardest part about opening up your own shop,

Art Williams  19:18  

the fear of failing the fear of being a shop that nobody wants to come to? You know? And just knowing that just just feeling that like, even though you have a clientele, like I have a clientele I'm about to open the shop and give at this point like and at the new add the influential we have nine barbers total that's including myself so eight barbers including myself, okay. Well, let me let me rephrase that we have seven barbers and two hair stylists

Gabriel Flores  19:57  

gotcha. Gotcha and I'm

Art Williams  20:02  

opening the shop, I know I'm gonna survive based on the clientele that I have, I can survive. Gotcha. But knowing that I'm gonna open a barber shop with eight more stations, they're given eight more people a job. I have to be able to provide a momentum or bring in people for them to be able to be successful as well. You're feeling the leadership now? Yeah. So the responsibility of like, making everybody accessible, not just focusing on yourself is was Yeah, big for me. That was nerve racking.

Gabriel Flores  20:37  

How has that transition gone pretty well?

Art Williams  20:40  

It has. It is going really well. I mean, I think everybody in our shop right now is is pretty busy. Some of them already. Some of them have some clients especially to hairstylist that weren't there. They they only do natural hair. So they do like locks and braids and stuff. So they all they had already and then there's another guy, Terrance that works with us. He had been he's been a barber and here in Portland for 26 years. And he I met him when he worked at a brand is barbers. Oh, yeah. Okay. So he already had a clientele but it was helping other people build their clientele. Yeah. And knowing that that was going to part of that would rest on my shoulders. That was a little nerve wracking at first, but But it's been good so far. Yeah. And, and then even in that process, you're still I realized that I'm still, I'm also an example for some of those guys. Ya know, like, they're looking at my clientele. They're looking at me. Yeah. And

Gabriel Flores  21:44  

I'm gonna, I'm gonna try to get that level. Yeah. So what do you enjoy most about the owning a shop?

Art Williams  21:50  

The people, the people, the people I work with, it's a really good job. It's, it's, it's amazing. When you get to choose the people you work with, though. Like, no matter. It's not corporate America, where you just, you take the most qualified person, even though that's what you really you still want that industry. But you know, that you can see a person as might not have the total skill it takes, and then say, okay, I can work with this guy, and him helped develop him into this barber that he wants to be man. So for me, it's that's what it's been. And it's, I haven't had to hire too many people. I mean, you know, I got seven, seven other people. But it was, it's been, it's not been easy. I mean, I'm not gonna fake the funk out. Like, it's so easy task. But it's, it's been the best part about it is really those people and then the people, when you're hiring somebody, when I get to hire somebody, I tell them my vision for the shop, this is what we want. We're going to be a community shop, no matter when the community is going to come first. We're in the service industry. So our job is to serve, serve them. Not always take from them take from the community. Yeah, community them come to the shop, you're gonna pay money to get a haircut. What are we going to do to give back? Sometimes it's free haircuts, sometimes it's, it's free is backpacks, school supplies, toys, or whatever. But the fact of the matter is, like if you want to work here in this barbershop, the name alone, the influential name alone means like,

Gabriel Flores  23:35  

right, more than just the name. Yeah, you signed up for something more than just a haircut. Right? Yeah. And I think I think you mentioned something that's really important to highlight in for those listening at home is culture eats strategy for breakfast. You know, if you're not if you're not hiring folks that align with your culture, and I think it's really important, what you're doing is, is putting your culture out front, hey, this is what we believe in. And if you don't believe in this, that's okay. You're just not for us. And that's okay. We can you can find a different shot and by all means, but this is who we are. And I think that's so so important. In and one of the things you've also been talking about is your community to work. I would love to kind of hear let's get in to that a little bit. So you're out in northeast what all have you you also, you're the coach at the Westland, I believe less than high school football. So let's talk about that. How did all sudden start?

Art Williams  24:24  

I mean, every everything for me pretty much for the most part started in the barbershop. You know, it in I mean, godly men, the barbershops probably didn't, the foundation of my life, to some degree. But even football coaches started in the barber shop, my client came in already. He took a job somewhere else. They offered him the job, he took a job somewhere else. And then he said art would be a good fit for this. I interview for the job and they gave me the job and even in football like I love football. Oh, it's what I bought what I did for a long time. But I also understand that football is just secondary being in life as well. And so even when we're coaching, and I told this story to somebody the other day, like on Mondays, we have film Mondays, I coached the wide receivers. So we have filmed Mondays as a group as a wide receiver group. And in and instead of watching film, on Mondays, we always told the head coach that we watched film, it was like our little secret that Ottawa receivers in his room for on Monday for hour and 15 minutes all we talking about his life. Like, no, we don't have we don't discuss football. But when we leave this room, coach, Coach thinks the head coach thinks we just talked, we just,

Gabriel Flores  25:47  

you know, bad coach, and listen. No, that's important, though. I think it's important for these individuals, especially the younger generation, you know, when I was growing up playing football, one of our coaches had this thing called a virtual Foundation. And it really was talking about us being okay saying, Hey, I love you, I care for you, I want to hear about your emotions, you know, and talking about your emotions and being able to do that freely with with one of your comrades, you know, right there in pads. That wasn't true, you know, 2030 years ago, you know, and now, it seems to be, we're making it okay. It's so important. You know, it's so important. Now, when you're thinking about that, how do you how do you build the team? How to bolt not only in your barbershop, right, how did you create your team? Right, but how do you envision like your players? Like, how do you build them up?

Art Williams  26:40  

Um, well, once I develop that personal once they've allowed me in, personally, and normally what we do, we always keep everything that happens in that room stays in that room. Yes, you know, trust is important. We don't talk about it. Outside of the room, we don't talk about each other's business, all that kind of stuff. Everything is shared here. So we built that trust with each other. And so now once I get on a football field, because what I was taught as a coach, the first day he told me is if a kid cares for you, if a kid knows you care for them, they'll do anything for you. They'll they'll run through a brick wall for you. And it's so in some ways, it sounds like manipulation. But kids can see through BS, so they know if you really care for them. Yeah. Or if you don't care for that. And so for me, I've always taken that approach because it was because I grew up with a single mom. And, you know, me and my sister. We it was just me and her. And then eventually my mom got married. And we had a stepdad and a brother, another brother, but for a long, long time on my morals and values was instilled in me by a single woman, single a single mom. And so there was coaches that stepped up as a father figure for me. They didn't you know, they weren't my dad. Yeah, they they stepped in that place. Yep. You know, that my uncle's couldn't feel that right. That can feel and so I wanted I knew as a coach, because that's what I experienced. That's what I wanted to be able to give to other kids as well, even kids to have two parent homes. Right. Right. You know, they don't always that's true. Two parent homes, you know, this, especially, you know, in, I'm gonna say in the West Linn area, you can have an affluent area. And some of those kids would have two parents at home, but have never gotten a hug from a dad. Or never gotten a hug from another man. Yeah, that didn't have any intentions. But to love them. Right. And so that's kind of where I came into play. For a lot of those kids who have unlimited resources Yeah, but the ultimate resource they ever really want it was love from Yeah, yeah.

Gabriel Flores  28:57  

And I'm sure grew and grew you know, you growing up you know, building the barber shop, you probably felt some adversity and some doubt yourself, how did you kind of handle those situations?

Art Williams  29:08  

You know, man, my wife was big. Believe it or not, like there was times where I would come home and and I would just be like, I don't know if this is the right thing to do. Or if I want to do this anymore. Yeah, you know, and I can easily I got a college degree I could easily go probably work somewhere else. I mean, I'm sure I could go back to Nike and sell shoes if I want it to. And it was heard that always kept saying to me is gonna be okay, like, you just got to weathers, she was the first person because I used to stress a lot. Okay, something brings me anxiety or makes it easy for me uncomfortable for me. I used to like go bananas. Yes, trying to and I remember one day, I was worried about something. And we were standing in line at Subway and She said, suck it up. We were probably only married for like two years. She was like, suck it up art is not that bad. Like, you will get through it. Yeah. And so ever since that day, it's always been anytime I come to her not anytime now. But when I was in the process of opening a barber shop or running a barber shop or trying to build a team, or whatever I was doing, she was always that person. She's that cheerleader. She was also that coach that will be like, you'll get through this. Yeah, it's not that hard. Yeah, you know, so I would definitely give give the credit to her for helping me stay the course. Because there's been plenty times in his business, or just being an entrepreneur that I've been like, man, it's so much easier for me to just go work for somebody else. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I get benefits working for somebody else. Yeah. Retirement working for somebody else. Like, I could just do that. Yeah, not have to worry about managing seven other people or eight other people not have to manage not have to worry about supplying a barbershop. Yeah. Or, or creating a space, a safe space for everybody. You know what I mean? Like just that pressure or trying to entertain? Community. Right, right. You know, I could just go work at Starbucks and then tuck Starbucks into serving the community. Yeah. But she was like, Nah, that's not true. That's not

Gabriel Flores  31:20  

true. She knew. Yeah. So what? Looking back on some of this, what what do you what do you kind of wish you would have avoided? What are some like mistakes you may have made that you wish you'd avoided?

Art Williams  31:31  

Probably moving too fast sometimes. Okay. I used to be very calculated in the things I wanted to do. And so I'll see this big, like, I could see the end row. But then I missed the little steps it takes to get today. Yeah, that attention to detail. Yeah. And, and sometimes I'm just like, Man, how come? Like why can't we just do this? Yeah, yeah. It's usually my wife that was saying, well, these are the things that it'll take to get to that point. So like, when you asked me about this podcast, and so I'll use it probably just email.

Gabriel Flores  32:10  

She'll, she'll make sure I'm there. Yeah. So what keeps you motivated?

Art Williams  32:15  

Man, the fact that I look at every day, I look at six sets of or three sets of eyes that believe in me more than anybody in the world does. And it, it just kind of it just energizes me those days where I don't feel like getting out of bed. And you know, and also, I think that the athletic part of me, the athlete part, also feeds into that because I'm like, Man, I remember these days, I remember, there's not a day, there's not many days that I have, that's not similar to workouts or, or those days, those mornings when we had offseason workouts, and you got to get up at five o'clock in the morning to be to be at the gym at 530 or something like that. So but my family definitely motivates me in in, in in the fact that I see those eyes because those eyes are in my house. Right? Right. Know what I mean? But, but then the moment I step outside, I see millions and 1000s 1000s of other eyes. Yeah, that I'm like, Man, I work this job. This is not even really a job, but I work this job for them to, for each person that sits in my chair, I'm like, man, we get an opportunity to I get an opportunity to learn from them an opportunity to maybe learn from me. And then on top of that, I get to help them with their own self esteem. You know what I mean? And I don't know what it is, you know, I've heard stories. i There's a story of a kid who disappeared when I worked in my first ever barber shop when I worked at Reggie's, he came in and and I didn't even remember this until he reminded me. But he said, I see. He disappeared for like four years, right? And I didn't think anything of it. I was just like, then he shows up in Champions barbershop when I was working at champion, my bro, what do you bear? And he goes, Man, I went to college. And I said, What I went to Clark, Atlanta. And I was like, That's dope, man. He was like, well, you, you were sitting, you were sitting in your chair. I was getting a haircut. Somebody else was cutting his hair. He was like, and you kept saying, you said to me to get my education, like that's going to be important for you in the long run like for us in the long run. And granted, I could have been a barber without going to I didn't need to go to college. I could have just went straight in barber school and become a barber. But that's not what happened for me. Yeah. And so I went to college and got an education and he said to me, it was a conversation we had in a barbershop four years ago. That made me go you know what, I'm gonna go to college.

Gabriel Flores  35:00  

You know, it's it's incredible how we as people don't understand sometimes how much we influence somebody else based on our words. And that's true, even our hateful speech. So individuals that I'm listening, you know, it's important to lift each other up, manage each other up, you know, but in this instance, you know, Maya Angelou once said, they may not remember what you said, or did, but they will always remember the way you made them feel. Yeah, you know, and I think this is one of those moments, right? Where you really just changed individual's life now. What What influence or advice would you give the younger generation, you know, now that you're in your position, you've owned two companies. You worked at Nike, you've gone to college, right? You played football? You've, you've been, you know, hanging out with celebrities, you've done a lot of different things in your life, what influence would you give them not only about their career, but about how important it is to network with other people.

Art Williams  35:50  

I would just tell them to always be yourself, but understand being yourself. In order for you to be yourself, you got to know yourself. And so we hear people say all the time, I'm not just gonna be me, you know, but to everybody in this room, you are rude. So is that really being you? Like is, is do you know who you are? Yeah. Because if you knew who you are, you know, you'd be able to decipher or figure out if what you were doing or what you were saying is rude or not, like there's some people that just completely are like, I'm always 100. Yeah, and sometimes 100 is real stupid, huh? You know what I mean? And so and so for me, I would I would always get the advice I would give anybody, especially young people, man, because if young people can get this early, I think it might save them a lot. Yeah. And there's two things in his world. You can never get back the time you waste. And and the words you say. So make sure that the time you have you do everything you can to make that time count. And then the words don't waste words. Don't wait two hours tearing people down. Yeah, job is to build people up. Yes. Because at the at the beginning of the day, when you look in the mirror, and you're brushing your teeth, if you actually speak to yourself, whether you speak to yourself out loud, or you speak to yourself inwardly, and you tell yourself good things about yourself. It Good things will manifest. So I just let everything so and then everything happens organically. You don't always have to have an intent for relationship or for something. And I mean, everything doesn't have to have a goal attached to it.

Gabriel Flores  37:34  

Yes, yes. That's very true. It just,

Art Williams  37:37  

it can just happen. You know, and, and, I mean, that's the very definition of organic, organic, it just it just kind of just happened. Yes. Yeah. You know, and I mean, maybe you're intentional about planting the seeds you plant like the words you speak you intentional about the words you speak and in the time you you give or the time you you give Serbian and things like that you're intentional about that, but, but your only goal is to enhance the life of another person, man. Yeah, you know, so.

Gabriel Flores  38:10  

So now, now we're here. Let's think about let's think about art. Looking back. What advice would you give yourself your younger self?

Art Williams  38:17  

Man, that same advice? That's the easy answer. I would definitely I would tell myself, man, just go. You know what I mean? Just go like, it's a long road. It's a long road and it's okay if you slow down. But don't stop. Don't stop man. It's a long road, bro. Like it's, it's there's no shortcuts. You know what I mean? That's, there's, there's not going to be anything easy. If it's if it's worth it is not going to be easy, right? And so if you just keep walking if you just keep moving. Slow down all you want to but just keep moving. Yeah, you're gonna be alright. Yeah.

Gabriel Flores  38:58  

Nice. Now tell the people at home how they can find you. Where's your shop at social media handles?

Art Williams  39:04  

Yeah, all that huh? Well, I'm at the influential Grooming Lounge. I'm 3262 northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard in Portland, Oregon. Man come through. You could check us out. You can go you can google us. You can look us up on the web, the influential grooming or the influential You can book an appointment that way with all eight barbers and hairstylist that we have. You can you can find us there. My Instagram handle my personal Instagram handle is the dope influencer. My my barber Instagram handle is influential barber and then the barbershop is also at the influential geo man.

Gabriel Flores  39:51  

Art. Thank you so much for coming on the show this age of entrepreneurship tonight. It was a great, great talk. For those at home please visit me at thank you and good night

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