Barber Brown cuts fast with few frills—just the way her customers like it
© Culpeper TimesBarber Pam Brown turned a childhood passion into a paying career.
“I wanted to do hair ever since I was a little girl,” she said sitting in a barber's chair one recent afternoon. “I always wanted dolls with long hair that I could play with. And in the '80s I loved the big hair phase.”
Flash forward to 2000 when Brown, now a trained and licensed barber, was living in Remington.
“I was commuting to Centreville and somebody told me that Earl Wharton had a shop in Culpeper and needed a barber.”
Brown made an appointment for 3 p.m. to talk to Earl.
“When I walked in there were 10 men waiting,” she recalled. “He said 'do you have your tools' and I said 'yes.' He said 'there's your chair.' That was my interview. I went to work, cut hair for three hours and made $80.
“I had done women's hair for 20 years before barbering, but I realized there was good money to be made in doing men's hair.”
Since that day in 2000, Brown estimates she has given 90,000 men's haircuts
“I stayed with Earl for about a year and a half and then I had the opportunity to open my own shop in the little stone house at 704 N. Main St.,” Brown said. “I was there about a year and a half, but it was a difficult place to get into and park and I heard that the whole block was going to be sold. I decided it was time to find a new location.”
Brown moved in August 2005 to a shop at 300 S. East St., right on the corner across from Calhoun's Country Hams. Her business continued to grow, but the parking presented a problem for a lot of her older customers.
“Men would tell me that they drove around for a long time looking for a place to park,” Brown said. “Sometimes they had to park so far away it was difficult for them to walk to the shop.”
Brown decided she needed to move even though she had enjoyed her seven years there
“In September of this year I moved briefly to Logan's Salon” she said. “I cut mostly men's hair. Everyone was really nice to me, but a lot of my male customers didn't feel comfortable coming into a beauty salon.”
Brown heard about Leticia's, at 415 S. Main St.,which had been a successful Hispanic barber shop and salon for years. The shop was located in part of what had been the old Clore Funeral Home.
“The shop was sold in February and within six months two Hispanic brothers who had been doing the barbering had left,” Brown said. “I saw an ad for a barber, thought that it had great parking and knew it would be a place where my customers could find me. I moved here Oct. 1.”
Brown said that barbering is challenging to learn.
“It looks easy, but there are a lot of things that go into it,” she said. “When you first start out you make mistakes and people get mad. Men and women are equally fussy, and they have every right to be.
“The way a person's hair looks is very important to them and they are not happy if you mess it up. But you can't get good unless you dive right in and do it.”
Brown said she decided to focus on cutting men's hair because she did the math.
“If you're good and fast you can do a man's haircut every 10 minutes,” Brown said. There's also a higher commission for the barber in cutting men's hair because the overhead of the shop is lower for men than it is for women. Most of my customers don't want a lot of frills like the salons offer. They just want a good, fast haircut.”
Even though Brown loves what she does, it's still a job.
“It can be very monotonous,” she said. “But Culpeper has been really good to me for the past 10-plus years. I have hundreds of customers and my customers are great.”
Contact Brown at: 718-6315 or 229-7781.
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