The Baltimore Guide has a new neighbor. Uptown Cuts has moved in to 528 S. Conkling St., offering haircuts from the classic to the cutting edge. The Baltimore Guide spoke to Alex Simo, 26, who has been cutting hair since he was a teenager in the Dominican Republic.
How did you become a barber?
When I was a little kid, I was never able to find anybody that could cut my hair right, or at least the way I wanted it. So one day, when I was 13, I said to myself that I had to learn to cut hair. That’s when I bought my first set of clippers.
I went to the barbershop and explained how I wanted my hair cut. The barber was really surprised by the way I explained it to him. He asked if I was a barber. He said that the way I explained things made sense, and that I should be a barber. He did cut my hair right, too!
I asked him to show me how to cut hair; he showed me all the basic stuff. I messed up a lot of people’s hair, but I ended up learning. That’s what it takes.
What are your specialties as a barber?
I love doing designs [lines and shapes]. It’s all freestyle; everything comes out of my own mind. I don’t know what I’m doing until I’m done. I like it so much that people sometimes tell me, “Just a little line,” and I end up with a design on half their head! They love it.
There are also a lot of people who like to keep it classic—that’s why I called my first shop Klassico.
Describe your barbershop.
We see the barbershop as a place where the customer can come and relax, for example, after work. We give customers a head massage with a machine. A lot of customers see the barbershop as a “chill spot.” That’s what we do—try to make the customer as comfortable as we can.
What would you say to someone who wants to become a successful barber?
The first thing? Buy some clippers!
But, you can’t do it just because of the money. Everybody says that being a barber is good money—yes it is—but if you do it just because of the money, you’re not going to be a good barber. You have to like it. A lot of people do it just for the money, and spend months and months and never learn right.
Who are your customers?
We have every age, but most of them are young, between 18 and 30. I always try to give everybody good hair, no matter their age, country, color or whatever.
by Erik Zygmont