Capital Barbershop - Ankur

Capital Barbershop - Ankur

Capital Barbershop

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Interview: Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio


Tell us about yourself and how you got started.

I started cutting hair out of my parents’ garage when I was 14 years old in Scarborough, Ontario. I soon realized that I had quite the knack for it, and my friends would regularly ask me to cut their hair. This is when I started to build my craft.

After high school, I moved to Ottawa to attend Algonquin College for their Business/ Marketing program. I continued to cut my friends' hair, especially the new friends I had made while living in residence. I got my first job in a barber shop when I was 20 years old and the rest was history. I found my calling and loved the atmosphere of barbershops. I had found my home!

"What were you doing before deciding to open your own barbershop?"

Before Capital Barbershop, I was renting a room in a Tattoo shop called Planet Ink. I was the only barber there. I loved the cool and relaxed environment; it had a really similar vibe to that of a barbershop.


What inspired you to break out on your own and take-on the additional work of running a business?

Ever since I've started learning how to cut hair, I’ve wanted a barbershop of my own.

The shop keeps me really busy. There is always something to do, whether it's small tasks like cleaning the shop, or more time-consuming ones, such as accounting, budgeting and marketing. We have a simple philosophy at the shop- we strive to give great haircuts and even better service.


Your clients are the ‘elite group of gentlemen who strive for
excellence’ – why did you decide to focus on this group of men?

We always strive to maintain consistency with regards to service and haircuts. We attract clients who have a great fashion sense, and who value their appearance. We want every customer who leaves the shop to instantly feel better about themselves. I’ve even had clients tell me that their haircut gave them the confidence to strike up a conversation with that pretty girl they’ve always wanted to talk to… and this can sometimes lead to a relationship! I feel so proud that we can influence the way that people perceive themselves in such a positive way.


Dogs are allowed in your shop – which is pretty unique! What made you decide to let clients bring in their pups?

I have two large fur-babies: Maggie the Chocolate Lab and Bella the Boxer. Our shop is located in the Glebe, which is a very pet-friendly community. We have both a pet store and a dog park right down the street, so we often see owners walking their dogs outside of the shop. I wanted to allow customers to bring their dogs in to create a comfortable and friendly environment. The clients (and barbers) love interacting with peoples' pets.


What's something you've learned since opening your own business that surprised you?

Something I learned when I opened Capital Barbershop is that there is always something to be done. Whether it's ordering stock, to scheduling or just cutting hair, the grind doesn't stop. I love that I have the opportunity to continue building my craft. Even though I’ve been in the business for over 15 years, I’m always learning!

What's it like being part of the Ottawa entrepreneurial scene?

I love being a part of the growing entrepreneurial scene in Ottawa and meeting fellow business-owners. We even have some amazing entrepreneurs that are not only clients but great friends of the shop. We strongly believe in cross-branding and growing together as a community. 


What's your favourite part about your job?

My favourite part of owning Capital Barbershop is the actual barbering. It helps me stay grounded, knowing that I am doing something I love and sharing this passion with fellow barbers and clients alike. I love the vibe that we have created at the shop, and I especially appreciate the social aspect! 


Who cuts YOUR hair?

When I need a haircut (and can find the time in my busy schedule), I trust any barber at Capital Barbershop to cut my hair. I have very high standards for my own hair, but I know that whoever I ask will do a great job. The barbers never fail to amaze me with their skills and abilities in the craft- and they’re only getting better. I am beyond proud of my team and how much they have improved. We really are a great team, and we always try to help each other reach our full potentials.

When you're not cutting hair, what's your favourite thing to do in Ottawa?

When I’m not at the shop, I love trying out new restaurants with my beautiful Fiancé. Ottawa has an amazing food scene . I also really enjoy spending time with family and taking my dogs for walks in the forest nearby.

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