From Just Starting to Booked-Solid: How This Entrepreneurial Barber Reached Success

A Chat with Alberto Padilla, Owner of Capital A Barber Studio

“As an entrepreneur, I have to learn new things, such as how to create my brand – because I never see myself working for someone.” - Alberto Padilla

Three years ago, Alberto was just starting out. Fast forward to now and he’s built a successful brand that has dream clientele continually coming back. How? He’s one of those people that can teach himself anything, and he saw opportunities to carefully build his brand and client experience. Alberto, the proud owner of Capital A Barber Studio, has sharpened his social media strategy and perfected the client experience at his barbershop in Eugene. Below, he shares the story of what it took to build his brand, what he used and how he pulled it off.

Grow Your Clientele With Social Media

“I found a way to attract dream clients through Instagram.”

When Alberto was starting out, he knew very little about social media. However, he knew that it was a powerful way to get clients. So he stayed up late every night learning how to succeed, and sure enough, he did.

What he learned was that every post on his barbershop’s Instagram profile had to have a clear strategy behind it. He took his love for photography (yes, he’s a camera and video junkie!) and found a way to make each post better than the last.

He started paying a lot of attention to lighting, angles, and background for each picture and quickly realized that was key to creating a consistent and quality portfolio. He would save photos every week and then upload them to Instagram while carefully thinking about targeted location tagging and hashtags.

He developed a framework to think about it. With each post, he asked himself:  

  • What do I want to show people on my profile? 
  • What kind of clients do I want to bring to my studio? 
  • How do I attract them?

The more he stuck to his framework, the more successful he was on social media in establishing a loyal client base that comes back. He reflects now and softly laughs that each new Instagram post brings him up to 5 clients every time, sharing that “it took hard work and dedication”. Along the way, Alberto started using GlossGenius’s Instagram booking feature, which fueled more bookings since it was so easy for clients that saw his Insta to book him without even leaving Insta. For Alberto, the Instagram booking feature from GlossGenius helped clients know what to expect when they walked into his barbershop. Alberto shared with us that “the easier you can make it for your clients, the better. And that’s why I liked GlossGenius”.

Curate a Great Client Experience

“I learned how to create a consistent and high-quality client experience.”

When Alberto was starting out, he had a vague idea of what would be a great experience but the most important thing was getting into a rhythm of consistently replicating that for every client. When he first started, he knew one of the best things he could do was stay up to date with the latest styles and that was key for helping him be in a position to recommend styles instead of asking his clients, “What are we doing today?” When Alberto started doing this more regularly, he started to feel more comfortable with his own wisdom and craft.

Alberto notes that “getting into a rhythm takes focus.” And now – he’s a pro. Before he starts, Alberto takes a ‘before picture every time. Then, he stores this in his GlossGenius client portfolio, which automatically gets stored in his GlossGenius software. He has a portfolio for each client, especially the new ones, right in the app which helps him stay on track with each of his clients and follow their journey with client note and pictures. One hour before each appointment, GlossGenius automatically sends him a text message with his client notes and portfolio. He reviews each one before a client comes in, helping him and his clients have a better experience. 

Find Your Niche

“I learned that focusing on styling would differentiate my services.”

Alberto knew when he was starting that there had to be something to set him apart. And he found that magic in styling.

“On all of my haircuts, I spend a lot of time styling,” Alberto explains. “On average, I spend 40 minutes on an appointment: 20 minutes on the haircut and 20 minutes styling.” Those extra 20 minutes of hair styling give Alberto the perfect opportunity to show his clients exactly what he’s doing and what products he’s using. This adds value to each service and boosts sales of his personal product line and private label, CA

Alberto has his own line of products that he uses at each step of the process: shampooing, heat protection for drying, gel, and more. When a client is in his seat, Alberto only uses his own products and lets the client experience them as he does. Naturally, the client will ask questions such as, “This smells great, what does it do?” giving Alberto the opportunity to be the expert. He gives each client a personalized recommendation based on their hair type, and explains exactly what it does. By having a client come to him and buy a product that only Capital A Barber Studio can provide, Alberto creates a closer connection with the client, contributing to the essence of his brand.

When he checkouts out his clients using GlossGenius, he can charge clients for services and products using cash or card. We learned from Alberto that he’s become a pro using all of the client service and purchase history that GlossGenius saves, and he uses that for the next conversation with clients. In his eyes, “Numbers are important for me to look at and that was why I liked GlossGenius.”

Take 'After' Pictures

“I started to understand why the ‘after’ picture is really important, and started taking the best 'after' pictures possible.”

As Alberto undertook consistently taking ‘before’ photos, he also made sure to take after photos. And he’s spent the last few years perfecting the art of the after photo.

Today, it is indispensable to take a good picture to do one’s marketing. “I learned this thanks to video and now I spend all day thinking about photography, videos, and haircuts, which has enabled me to develop both passions in parallel.”

“Mixing photography and video with barbering is like two peas in a pod," Alberto explains.

So what tips did he share after countless hours working on this? Here are Alberto’s tips for snapping the perfect ‘after’ photo:  

  • Great lighting: Lighting is the key to a great photo! Whether you are using a professional camera or a phone, lighting makes all the difference. There are a lot of inexpensive lights available for purchase that will get the job done. If not, outdoor lighting is free and always looks great!  
  • Backgrounds: Decide what kind of portfolio you want to build and the type of background you’ll need. While Alberto prefers a consistent background, other barbers have built stunning portfolios and Instagram pages with different backgrounds. At the end of the day, it comes down to consistency. 
  • Angles: When it comes to men’s haircuts, there are so many angles to capture. Make sure to capture all angles so you can showcase your work and let it shine through. 

He started saving the ‘after’ photo on his clients’ GlossGenius portfolio and for Alberto, this “is one of my barber superpowers”. He learned that he could track each of his clients’ journeys each step of the way, and his ‘after’ photos have also helped him build a library of photos for his Instagram. Each time he uploads an ‘after’ picture of a client, his client feels like a celebrity when he is featured on Capital A Barber Studio’s Instagram. 

Use a Booking Platform to Make Pre-Booking Easier

“Everyone talks about pre-booking but it takes effort. I just learned to do it and I liked that GlossGenius made it easier.”

His other fav features? One of Alberto’s favorite GlossGenius features is the calendar. When he wants to book a client, he just opens his calendar, goes to the day that he needs, and just presses and holds the time slot he wants. This automatically creates a slot and all Alberto has to do is pick the client, service, and tap book. With unlimited automated client confirmations and reminders on GlossGenius, Alberto’s clients never forget about their appointment.

Additionally, Alberto leverages GlossGenius’s customizable cancellation fee to make sure clients come in. “As the owner of a barber shop, one of the biggest headaches is when you have a week of work scheduled but people don’t show up or people can’t book a slot because they think it’s full,” explains Alberto. With GlossGenius’s customizable cancellation fee, Alberto barely has no-shows anymore, saving him $150 per no-show.

Keep Clients Coming Back

Key takeaway: Focus on the client experience across every touchpoint (whether that's on social, through the web, or in your chair!) to build a brand that keeps clients coming back.

Alberto Padilla is the founder and owner of Capital A Barber Studio in Eugene, Oregon. His massive booking success can be attributed to his amazing talent as a barber and his excitement for trying the best technology for barbers and barbershops. We’re so excited to watch Alberto continue growing his business and where he goes in the future! Want to try GlossGenius and build your brand as a barber? Check out GlossGenius and start your two-week free trial today!

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