AT WORK with Ryan Graham


AT WORK IS A SERIES DOCUMENTING PITTSBURGH CREATIVES, MAKERS AND ENTREPRENEURS, THEIR WORK AND THEIR SPACES.

THIS WEEK WE'RE AT WORK WITH BARBER AND OWNER OF GRAHAM'S BARBER SHOP, RYAN GRAHAM.

Your craft has a rich heritage. Did you always want to be a barber, or did your path evolve along the way?

My to path becoming a barber was pretty natural. It was never something I really aspired to do. I just kind of fell into it.

At first I got into barbering because I needed a change from my previous career. I was a bartender in various establishments in Pittsburgh for about 15 years. As much as I loved being behind the bar, the late nights/long hours and working for someone else was getting to me. Plus, no matter how sweet of a gig you think you have or how good you think you are at making a mean cocktail, you have to realize that you are replaceable. Its just the nature of the bar industry. I wanted something I could take more ownership of. 

Becoming a barber and opening up my OWN shop was something that made sense. I still have great conversations with different types of people every day, listen to good music, discuss current events, make new relationships. The things that I enjoyed about bartending I took with me, but I'm not dealing with the hassles of bar life.

"I wanted it to be Graham's... because it portrays my family's values and the way we treat people with love and acceptance."

How did you decide what to name your shop?

When I had to choose a name for my barber shop it happened at the time right after my grandfather passed away. A lot of people were reminiscing about stories that involved my grandfather and the positive impact and influence he had on others. The shop isn't necessarily named after my grandfather, but it is meant to show pride in my family name. I wanted it to be Graham's and not Ryan's because it portrays my family's values and the way we treat people with love and acceptance.

Graham's has become a staple in the community. Do you meet a lot of cool people?

I meet cool people everyday. Our shop is a little different than most because our clientele is so diverse. We have young, old, men and women come into the barbershop because our doors are open to everyone. We do not cater to any specific type of person. 

We got to see some really detailed design work when we stopped by. Are you looking to do more work like that?

Design work is a nice change of pace. It allows me to express my artistic side and I get to collaborate with my clients on new ideas and inspirations for new designs.

Is there are particular style or type of haircut that you like more than others?

No. I like to do different haircuts because I don't like to be pigeon holed into one type of cut. I like to switch up my cuts and not be known for one thing, but rather be challenged.

How do you see Graham's evolving over the next few years?

In the next few years I would like to open up another location, either in Pittsburgh or in another state or even start a mobile grooming service. 

 What are three things you can't live without?

I can't live without Espresso A Mano and my friendly baristas making my Americanos in the morning. I can't live without my online booking service Booksy, because it makes my appointment setting so easy. And I definitely can't live without my girlfriend and our son - my family is my inspiration for continuing to want to make my business thrive.

"You just have to invest in yourself and others and everything will fall into place."

Do you have a mantra/quote/words/etc that you live by?

Normally I've never had a mantra, but I watched a documentary not too long ago and the quote, "starve the ego, feed the soul" was mentioned. The documentary was about DJ's so it described the feeling that some have that they have to be better than others to be successful when the reality is you just have to invest in yourself and others and everything will fall into place. 

What are you listening to right now?

DJ Selecta on Grand Groove radio.