From poster plastered walls to blaring tunes, the branding is clear. Floyd’s is a modern-day rock shrine that happens to provide affordable, kick-ass haircuts. Okay, okay. I know that a barbershop seems furthest from the music industry. But bear with me as the business, aside from being successful, is actually helping promote music and sell rock and roll as a brand. Offering the haircut seems like an added bonus. As a Berklee student, I witnessed the installation of Floyd’s Mass Ave location in 2007, one of their many locations sprawling eleven states, three of which are located in Massachusetts: Cambridge, Back Bay, and Woburn.
During my shampooing this afternoon, Jimi Hendrix’s mug was glaring at me. At my mom’s salon the only one staring at me is the Mrs. Blue Hair perched under the dryer. But this ain’t your mom’s salon. The experience is all centered on the music. Instead of asking the usual “what do you do?” or “where are you from,” I get “what music do you listen to?” and “wasn’t that STP album great?” What’s even better is that they’ve created their own radio station playing a range of music from hip-hop to rock. You can even make requests if it’s not too crowded. What’s even better is that no one will try to talk you into or out of anything. I’ve had numerous color requests poo-pooed by stuck up stylists that knew what was best for me. At Floyd’s, I know best. They just make it happen. Blue highlights? No problem. Just a trim? Sounds good. Can your barber switch gears that easily?
Almost everyone I knew at Berklee had been to Floyd’s at least once, men especially (for the cute girls and complimentary massages, I’m guessing) and there’s certainly no shortage of college kids near the place. In recent years, I’ve been noticing more confident, older clientele ready to give it a go. There’s something appealing about getting your haircut by punk rockers. There’s an element of irresponsible thrill that’s irrationally fabricated by the Floyd’s image. It’s almost as if you’re one bad decision away from leaving with a Mohawk and abandoning pre-med for electric guitar. It’s almost too bad you leave with what you ask for—every time.
Though it’s technically a barbershop, I’ve had numerous haircuts and colors done, each wildly different from the next one. Randy is my go-to guy in the Back Bay, but I’ve also had the pleasure of having my ears lowered by Nikki. It’s a toss up—they’re both great stylists. Amongst the sea of colored hair, piercings, and vibrant tattoos there’s a wildly successful business model that really speaks to a younger generation of music enthusiasts, myself included. Every time I think I need a trim, I make the trip into the city. I just can’t possibly get my haircut anywhere else.