The making of Legends Barbershop

1st June 2019

Sheldon Tatchell of Legends Barbershop.

Start with what you've got.

What Sheldon Tatchell, owner of Legends Barbershop, has is a passion – a passion for cutting hair. He recalls being the youngster hanging around the barbershop watching others cut hair and then trying to recreate the same cuts at home. His parents had other ideas, but for as long as he can remember cutting hair was the thing that excited him.

Cutting hair doesn't feel like work to me and once something doesn't feel like work you know you're doing the right things.

In 2011, he decided to see where he could take his passion and started cutting hair at the local supermarket with a friend. Not the grand beginning you’d expect from a brand with ten branches across the country, but it speaks to the mantra of starting where you are with what you have. At the time Sheldon did not see it as a business, but just as a way of making some money from something he loved.

But when the passion is there, the buzz follows and it soon became clear that this was something that was taking off. Word of mouth spread among his network of clients such that even when his friend dropped out of the venture he was able to keep things going. During that difficult time he had to close the formal business to find work to keep himself afloat. For two years Legends Barbers was a side hustle, but working with his loyal clients he could keep his business dream alive.

People would still call me and book for haircuts. Eventually I bought a scooter and I drove out to people, wherever they are...Everyone has to go through failures, you just take it as a learning curve.

Once he was back in business with a proper shop the next step was to apply what he learned in that difficult time. His top clients really enjoyed the experience of getting a haircut at home or on the road, so why not create a mobile barbershop? If the scooter worked, why not a van? And so an idea born in adversity took on a life of its own. The mobile barbershop goes wherever the client needs and has travelled around the country, to Botswana and Lesotho delivering fresh cuts everywhere it goes. The key for Sheldon has been sticking to his passion.

His advice: “Stick to your passion, don’t be contaminated by the world telling you…that you could not make a career of being a barber. It doesn’t come easy. Once people see you in the limelight, they think this guy made it overnight. You must just put in the hard work.”

In June 2019, Legends will open their 11th shop and the business continues to grow.

The question is not what you don’t have – it may be funding or experience – but rather build on what you do. Every empire starts somewhere, where will yours start?

Sheldon Tatchell, CEO of Legend's Barbershop.
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Gugulethu is a writer, was a copywriter and has always been a reader. Previously he has worked in advertising, corporate communications & PR and as an editor of an online magazine.