The Atlas Hair Company circa 1997 was the center of my little universe. It was an extension of my creative self and the place I felt most at home within my community. Every day I am grateful that these connections still remain. My gig as an American Crew platform artist offered me a balance between the ordinary and the extraordinary. After work on Saturday I would hop aboard a jet that would take me all over the country to teach barbering and the basic craft of cutting men’s hair. Sometimes I would even find myself in front of a thousand people talking about what I do. Being an American Crew All-Star gave me the courage to create whatever I wanted my life to be.
I loved that little one chair salon. It was ridiculously, blissfully simple and the beginning of everything. But nothing is ever enough for people like me. It must be something in the DNA. After years of working with American Crew, I expanded The Atlas Hair Company and then opened The Philadelphia Soap Company. Once I achieved that, I began to dream about having a dog, maybe two and deeper roots and possibly a full-time relationship. Then I wanted Duross & Langel, then the role as Creative Director for Joe Grooming, then the Salon at Duross & Langel, then Atlas again. All the while looking for externals to define me. To fill the void inside. I know that nothing I ever create will fill that void, yet I still wander from idea to idea. It’s what there is. After all is said and done, I wouldn’t trade a moment of the relationships I’ve built, lessons learned and the experiences themselves.
As I pare down my work life to just one thing (Duross & Langel), it helps for me to remember the joy I have found in simplicity. Ending ventures can be bruising, and in a world that defines how success should look, I will choose to leave those judgments to others. My ambitions are varied and limited and certainly not fixed, therefore my life reflects my unconventional choices. Duross & Langel is a constant source of inspiration and joy. Where we go from here is anybody’s guess and certainly nobody’s worry. It continues on into year 15 and beyond. I would not have achieved nor been able to maintain anything I’ve created without the multitude of people who have helped me every step along the way, especially my best friend and business partner Sarah. My north star, my compass, and the one who keeps me right sized.
I never set out to be an entrepreneur. It occurred by happenstance. In the quirky meter of my personal learning curve, I've come to understand profoundly that the journey is the thing. The people standing with me are all that matter. Everything else is an invention of perspective, and perspective is quite simply a matter of where one is standing at any given moment.
I will miss my Atlas family and all those who lifted us up for the last four years. Thank you cannot begin to express my gratitude.