We had the good fortune of connecting with Antonio Leon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Antonio, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My first thought was helping my family, then the goal was to create job opportunities for fellow barbers and surrounding barbershops. but most importantly my goal was to teach the art of barbering and show the ins and outs of the business as a whole.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My vision with opening up a Barber School was not only to provide local barbershops with talented barbers, but to develop future business owners. It was important to me that I create affordable education for the massive amount of talented artist out there. In Philly the barbershop culture is and always has stayed true to the old school culture which I want to share. I wanted to bring what I have experienced and grew such passion for to my teaching. With barbershops on every corner, I want to show my students the meaning of a barber, the meaning of being a Entrepeneur, by teaching them the importance of networking and building great relationships, not only within their community, but with other barbers. To teach the importance of building clientele not just through social media but by meeting new people everywhere you go. Also, how patience is key to becoming successful.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love what I do, but when I’m not working, I’m at my ranch surrounded by my loved ones, grilling up some fajita meat smoking a cigar and living life to the fullest. That makes me a millionaire, not the money! Everyone sees fortune in a different way.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I would like to thank my mentor and instructor Eddie “Champ” Hall owner and instructor at Champs Barber School in Lancaster, PA where I attended and graduated from. He taught me everything I need to know. The idea of naming my shop and school 717 is a dedication not only to where I started my career but to pay tribute to home.
Most importantly a dedication to my wife Veronica, she has been my backbone from the start. When I decided to expand my shop and start the process for a school, she quit her career in the medical field and we became a team, and we have been side by side running both businesses together ever since. Without her love and support and patience I wouldn’t be where I am at this moment.
Facebook: 717 Barber Academy
Yelp: 717 Barber Academy
Other: 717barberstudio.com (barber shop website) 717barberstudio (Instagram)