It doesn’t matter who you are when you walk into Daggers Barbershop. Barber, owner and former musician Sam Ingram is just as curious about meeting new people as he is about how they’d like their cut. How do you become the go-to for new school men’s barbering? Create a relaxed atmosphere, celebrate creativity and make your clients central to the experience, from start to finish.

– I moved to Nijmegen in the Netherlands six years ago, and my love for business made me stay. I’m originally from the UK and growing up, I wanted to become a rock star. I went to music college, played in bands and even did a few tours. But a different passion came along with age. The moment I opened my eyes to the creativity of hairdressing, I slowly made the switch from music to hair, full time. Even though cutting off my rock ’n roll hair was emotional, I don’t regret it at all. I opened Daggers three years ago. The opportunity to meet people from all walks of life on a daily basis – being able to spend hours bonding with clients in my shop – what an honour.

What made you decide to run your own business?

– My passion for people and barbering. I love to meet new people and having this business means I’m able to meet all types of individuals. One moment I’ll be cutting an 18-year-old student, who’s telling me stories of wild nights out and all their new friends. The next I’ll be trimming a retired accountant who’s building his dream home in the south of France. In addition to all that, you have a lot of freedom as a business owner. I can choose when to work and it allows me to be flexible with my time. That’s really important to me as I have family living across the globe.

“I love to meet new people and having this business means I’m able to meet all types of individuals”

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as an entrepreneur?

– I tried to do everything myself in the beginning. Starting a business felt overwhelming to me, and it probably does for a lot of other entrepreneurs starting up their businesses too. Learn to take action, to delegate some tasks, and remember that it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed.

What are your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur?

– I would say one of my greatest strengths as an entrepreneur is that I understand ‘value’ in the context of society. Word-of-mouth is one of the most successful forms of marketing for our business and the hair industry, so it’s definitely important to know and understand your customers. My weakness? I’m not the most punctual person in the world.

Why are small businesses important to society?

– Small businesses can provide employment opportunities for people who may not otherwise be employable by larger corporations. I’ve seen many small businesses contribute to their local economies by adding growth and innovation to the communities in which they are established. A great example is my tattoo artist Thomas Brouwer – he spends time visiting his local hospital, drawing designs for kids with casts for broken arms and legs. The kids loved being “tattooed” and it brought some joy to their traumatic experiences. He also recently collaborated with the Van Gogh Museum and Amnesty International, which is pretty cool.

What do you find inspiring?

– The Belarusian-American entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, makes me feel empowered in a way no one else can with his perspective and knowledge of business. And my mum and dad inspire me! They have achieved more than most people despite a difficult upbringing.

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