We recently caught up with Jeff Laub, a good friend of ours & co-owner of The Blind Barber: an East Village men’s barbershop that doubles as a speakeasy. A beauty school dropout whose past line of work was a 9-5 at a law firm, it is safe to say that Jeff made the right choice in pursuing his unique vision. Jeff relocated from NYC to Los Angeles last year to open the newest Blind Barber location in Culver City, which opened its doors to the public last month. We spent some time in their new space to delve deeper into what has defined his work ethic and business approach, as well as his personal ideals.
Photos by Julian Berman.
To many, barber shops are a place for more than just a hair cut. What makes the Blind Barber experience memorable?
The people, man. From the owners to the barbers to the bartenders and wait staff to the chef to the guests; everyone makes this place special. I know that sounds pretty cliche but it’s true for us. The services are top notch and the cocktails are amazing, but at the end of the day it is the feeling that is given off by the people that are in the shop. We are so fortunate to have such amazing people both working at the Blind Barber and people frequenting it; everyone has a story to tell and is very personable. I think it’s nice to walk into a place and feel like you are hanging with friends or family. They know us, we know them. And when friends get together in a barber shop where there is no filter and you add some beers to the equation you get a pretty amazing conversation and experience.
Share with us an important piece of advice you’ve received about your business.
Be there. I think one of the best things I have learned is be available to the staff and to the guests. Let them know that you are working for them just as much as they are working for you. It makes every day way more fun and productive when people know they can come to you with questions or concerns to make their working experience or general visit better. I would like to think the staff likes that we are present in the shop and our phones are always on so that for whatever reason, should they need to get ahold of us, they can. We are all in this to build something amazing together.
Can you tell us about a lesson learned from a past failure?
One of my biggest moments in failure was when I was at the law firm and I misplaced about 5 billion dollars worth of stocks. The lawyers were kind of upset. I had messed up pretty big, but after getting yelled at for a good few days and being in the dog house with all the big partners/lawyers etc., the whole issue was fixed with one piece of paper that explained we had lost the stocks and they needed to be reissued. One piece of paper saved 5 billion in stocks. Shit, if that can happen then anything can be fixed. So I guess I learned to go in with the best intentions and try to do everything as perfect as can be, but there are going to be mishaps and mistakes that happen. Don’t stress, don’t quit, you just need to figure out how to fix the problem and learn from it.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
My favorite thing about Blind Barber is the little bench outside of the NYC shop. While we were building and once we opened, I would sit out there on my computer, take appointments and get to know every person that would walk through the door. I like being a host, I like to make sure people have a good time and it goes back to what I was saying before, that I want everyone that comes to Blind Barber to feel like it is “their” spot and I can work towards that goal by being at the spot and meeting all the people and doing my best to make each experience and working day a good time for those around.
What do you want your legacy to be?
My legacy, shit I just want my family and friends (present and future) to think I was a good dude, a good person.
Special thanks to Jeff Laub, Julian Berman, Zach Solomon and The Blind Barber team.