PS: How long have you been in the hair/grooming industry?
Lee Bladez: I’ve been Licensed for 11 years as a Master Hair Care Specialist and an instructor in South Carolina for 6 years. I am also the owner of Undisputed Barbershop located at 270 Broad Street, Sumter S.C 21950 and Ladies First Hair Salon also in Sumter.
PS: With your many years of experience, what have been some hardships or difficulties that you have experienced?
Lee Bladez: Being the owner of a shop is not easy. I have dealt with individuals who have been less than honest and loyal. This industry is a daily struggle because you have to constantly “put your shoulder to the wheel” as my grandparents would say. Finding those who can be entrusted with helping you make your dream come true can be difficult, and trying to get people to believe in your dream is an entirely different struggle in itself. Dealing with the doubters and naysayers can get heavy and you have to remember your passion for the business. You have to block out those who say ‘you can’t do this’ or ‘you can’t do that,’ and instead use that as motivation to prove them wrong.
PS: If you were to meet someone that came to you and said “I want to be just like you,” what would be your advice to them?
Lee Bladez: Find a mentor. Whether it’s a previous instructor or an industry professional, having that go-to person who you can look to for guidance is really important.
PS: What are some of the good things that you have experienced?
Lee Bladez: I would have never thought that somebody would pay me the kind of money that I am getting paid. I would have never thought that I would be afforded the opportunity to live the life I live. I’ve met some real men that I have gotten close with and just being able to have that brotherhood is awesome. The older you get the more you realize the importance of relationships, morals, and standards and knowing that your word is all you have. I pride myself on being a man of my word that tries to leave a good impression.
PS: Can you speak on the nature of the industry and the importance of connections?
Lee Bladez: You have to understand that there is the industry inside the industry. There is the meeting before the big meeting to determine the outcome of the BIG MEETING. Then there is the power of networking, [and]once you get intertwined in a circle that’s when you really learn its not just about cutting hair; its worldwide but the circle is tight.