A London Barber Shop Lands in Williamsburg

A new cutting crew brings hair product and community vibes

barbershop chairs

With a hair product line expanding in the U.S., London-based brand, Johnny’s Chop Shop settled on Williamsburg for its first American location. To start, Steven Ross decided to revamp a spot that was in complete disrepair and found Sweeten, a free service to match him with a vetted general contractor. And to maintain a consistent message on brand, materials, and design, the majority of millwork and finishes, similar to those in the other locations, were fabricated in the U.K. and shipped stateside. The result: A barber shop that introduces the art of grooming to a new generation. 

PROJECT: Build a presence in the U.S. with the first brick-and-mortar shop in NYC

LOCATION: 154 Grand Street, Brooklyn, New York

RENOVATION TEAM: Sweeten general contractor

INTERVIEW WITH: Johnny’s Chop Shop president, Steven Ross

barbershop exteriorSweeten: What is Johnny’s Chop Shop?

Steven: Johnny’s Chop Shop is a London-based barber brand that has its own range of product and is sold in over 20 countries. As of this year, they are in 3,500 Walmart stores. We felt it was important to have a barber shop in the U.S. to strengthen the authenticity of the brand. Our first shop opened in London five years ago and we now have five locations.

Then we asked what was the coolest neighborhood in the city, and of course, we came up with Williamsburg.

barbershop before renovationbarbershop during renovationbarbershop

Sweeten: Where did the idea for the business come from?

Steven: Barbering has been growing in popularity with the Millennials not only in visiting barber shops but in using products in their hair. I wanted to be part of that journey and create a brand that resonated with our target audience.

Sweeten: What led to the opening of this new location?

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Steven: We thought, “Where is the coolest city in the U.S.A.?” New York City was the answer. Then we asked what was the coolest neighborhood in the city, and of course, we came up with Williamsburg.

barbershopportrait(Above) Resident U.K. barber Toastie Styles

Sweeten: How does your new shop design represent your brand?

Steven: I am passionate about design, and the influence for this new location is Americana with a modern twist and quite a few nods to England. The tiger neon sign was brought in from the U.K. It has a very high wattage and needed a special transformer. 

Sweeten: How was your vision executed by working with your Sweeten general contractor? 

Steven: Working in NYC is a far cry from working in the U.K. There are many more hurdles to get over in New York and is more expensive. I was lucky to stumble across the Sweeten site and find a contractor who has proven to be reliable, honest, and helpful.  

barbershop entrybarbershop chairSweeten: Did your contractor help you solve any unexpected discoveries or make helpful suggestions during the process?

Steven: When a corroded main support beam was exposed, they helped shore it up and work with a structural engineer to find the best long-term solution. 

Sweeten: How do you think Sweeten can help entrepreneurial business owners like yourself?

Steven: Sweeten gave me the confidence to pick a contractor especially since I had to do it from across the pond. It is really a useful and helpful tool. 

bathroom before renovation

barbershop bathroomSweeten: Can you describe the “before” space? 

Steven: A wreck!

Sweeten: What’s next for the brand?

Steven: I guess we will have to sit back and wait and see how the store goes. If it resonates and is successful, then perhaps, L.A. or Miami. 

Check out Johnny’s Chop Shop for cool cuts and cold beer!

Renovating a business space? Take a look at other commercial projects completed by Sweeten general contractors.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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