American Craftsmen Series :1 Little Tim's Classic Barbering
Since founding General Knot, we have been extremely lucky to meet and then get to know some very inspirational people who are pursuing their art and craft in America. In this blog series we will be interviewing some of these folks about their work, their life and just why they do what they do.
Tim Frederick, the owner of Little Tim's Classic Barbering in Georgetown Texas first came to our attention as a customer who had a love for bow ties that he would often showcase on his instagram feed. It was quickly evident from his posts that he had a loyal following at his shop as well as a terrific line of handmade products from soaps to shave brushes.
Tim was gracious enough to share some insight on what it is to be a small business owner, barber and craftsman.
Your shop has been open for business in Georgetown for a little over 2 years. What drew you to the Georgetown area?
Tim: I was drawn to Georgetown due to the small town feel, and desire to be in a small town. Having my own shop was really an accident after looking at the space. Originally I was hoping to find a barber chair to rent in a barbershop around Austin.
Little Tim’s seems to be a favorite amongst locals for many reasons; your fine cuts and shaves, the manly and relaxed atmosphere of your shop and your handmade artisanal soaps and shave brushes. Can you tell us a bit about your products and what sets them apart from the run of the mill soaps and tools?
Tim: In terms of my brushes I decided a shave brush formed from the shape of the wood would be the most genuine. The natural look of “nature” gave me another idea that may set my brushes off from others, as well as niche for like minded people. Sometimes I purposely leave cut marks, or nicks in the wood because i feel life, and nature are not perfect. It is also an intention to leave a handmade signature for the new owner, the brush they hold was made for them.
Tim: The shave soaps came about from the same desire to make, and provide handmade items, a personal brand. The second was to have an all natural product that did not dry my skin. There are a lot of great shave soaps out there from artisans with the same desire to provide 100% natural products. So I am tweaking my formula as I go (not a year yet in the making) to have a top notch slick creamy lather, that is not just another shave cream. It will be set apart in time as a shaving cream for the joy, and experience of shaving, not just another marketing scheme.
Your shop has a cool old school vibe and you offer a whiskey or beer to waiting customers. It seems like you go to great lengths to make people feel comfortable and at home in your space. How important do you think the overall experience is to your customers, especially your regulars?
Tim: The experience is what was most important to me when I started, and it is what customers say often, they want the old school barbershop experience, and feel. My personality is not really an outgoing type, I am reserved, but knowing the over all feel would help customers feel that they had indeed found the right place to go for a haircut. I do not give quick "in and out" haircuts, and I do not push products, I am about the service you get while in the barber chair. The beer, and whiskey are extra to show my appreciation to the customer. I am by appointment now, but prior, as a one man shop, it was to help with the wait. Now, it is to say welcome to my place, have drink, as I would if you visited my home.
How is barbering different now then say 20 or 30 years ago?
Tim: The experience compared to the past, as in traditional shops like mine, are in my opinion the same as it may have been 30 years ago. One major difference is that I now operate mainly with an online appointment calendar. The barber haircut for men, as in clipper cuts, shear and comb cuts, clipper and comb cuts, styling with a pomade, facial, and a hot towel shave are classic today as they were 50 years ago. In an established neighborhood barbershop, today as in the past, it is a place for a man to go to feel camaraderie, support, or even to feel safe from the stresses of life. The barbershop is for the man who is wanting to escape the noise of a TV, or the next item on the to-do-list, to have the silent comfort of fraternity.
As a small business owner, what motivates you to keep improving, growing or trying new things, be it introducing new items in your shop, offering a new service, etc.?
Tim: As a business man, I am adding new things that are not traditional to a barbershop simply to add a little more coolness to the experience. My goal is to be an forward thinking business man. However, I am first and last a Barber.
How do your customers make you better at what you do?
Tim: My customers make me better because I want them to leave happy, and motivated by feeling confident. I can only give this to them by a consistent service to them. The customer wants to be their best, so I need to give them my best every day.
After Little Tim’s closes in the evenings, what are some great places in the Georgetown area to grab a bite, hang out or listen to music?
Tim: I love to go to 600 Degrees for pizza, or Roots Bistro to hear a local, or a customer sing as I have a Texas craft beer. Georgetown is growing at an amazing pace, but I prefer going where the small town feel is still part of the atmosphere.
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