We had the good fortune of connecting with Masani Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Masani, how do you think about risk?
I recently came across a quote on the internet that read, “No risk, no story”, and I believe that’s the simplest and truest way to describe the role risk has played in my life. Growing up, I often heard the saying, “No risk, no reward” and like most people, I always thought that success was the reward. However, it wasn’t until recently I realized that the real reward is in the journey it takes to get there. The first time I took a significant risk was when I moved away from family to attend college at Howard University. I never lived away from home, so I was excited but I still had an underlying fear that I wouldn’t be able to navigate on my own. Knowing that there was a possibility of failing made me uncomfortable, but it also brought a new feeling of determination out of me. After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree, I knew I was capable of doing almost anything I put my mind to. The next big risk I took after college was deciding not to pursue a career in corporate America, especially since that’s what most of my classmates with a Business degree were doing. So much time and money went into my schooling, just for me to tell my parents that I wanted to go in another direction. But I grew an unshakable fascination with the Barbering industry and decided I wanted to learn more about it. Can you imagine having to tell you parents that you want to be a Barber instead of an Investment Banker?! A female barber at that. I knew I wouldn’t get immediately get a smile and a pat on the back, but I had already made up my mind that I didn’t want to work for anybody but myself. Seeing other successful barbers making money on their own terms was all the motivation I needed to push forward. I can’t lie and say that being alone in my vision wasn’t discouraging at times. There were many moments when I thought I was completely out of my mind. However, as you grow in your career or just life in general, you learn that you’re actually never alone. God is always there to be that system of support you need. Once I realized this, there was really no stopping me. I paid for myself to go to barber school, received my Master Barber license, rented my first booth at a barbershop, and started building my own clientele. Many of the successful barbers I followed were in Atlanta, so in 2020 (in the middle of a pandemic), I took the most frightening risk thus far and moved to Georgia on my own. I worked a Sales job for a few months to get on my feet but soon again, I had that urge to work solely for myself. Eventually, I quit my job with no real plan so I could be a full-time entrepreneur. I adopted some of the principles and skills that I learned from that job and applied them to my own business. After purchasing business cards, creating an Instagram page to market myself, and finding a barbershop that was a good fit for me, things began to pick up for me in a major way. Now, only less than a year since my move, I’m working at my dream shop, doing things my own way and I couldn’t be happier. I’m certainly not where I want to be yet but looking back, I’ve come extremely far. If it wasn’t for the countless risks I’ve taken over the past few years, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t have the pleasure of sharing this story with you.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As a female barber, there are both advantages and disadvantages we all experience just because there aren’t many of us. In the beginning it was a challenge for me because most men were skeptical that my skills wouldn’t be up to par. However, that was just motivation for me to get better so I can prove that my gender has absolutely no correlation with talent. Now, people are super impressed my ability to cut just as good, if not better, than any male barber. So, I’d like to encourage all women to go after whatever it is you want to do, regardless of any stereotype society has placed on you.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite place that I’ve visited so far in Atlanta is Ponce City Market. You can go there several times and have a new experience. It’s got everything from restaurants, a vegan bar that plays great music, and even a cool rooftop with a beautiful view of the city. Outside of that, I like to go small events ran by young entrepreneurs (musicians, fashion designers, etc.) like myself. There are so many people here doing incredible things, you just have to find what fits your liking.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a shoutout to God for always having my back, my parents for loving me no matter what, and all of my friends and family for have supported me in any way thus far. I’d also like to give a shoutout to Tribeca Barber School (NYC) for teaching me the blueprint, as well as Scissors Barbershop for giving me my first chair in a real shop. Lastly, I’d like to shoutout Blessed Up Barbershop for giving me an opportunity to live my ATL barber dreams. I’m forever grateful!

Website: https://booksy.com/en-us/571462_the-femme-barber_barber-shop_16254_marietta?do=invite

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefemmebarber/?utm_medium=copy_link

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