We've started a new series featuring the good people of one of our favorite cities - Richmond, Virginia. In this series we're highlighting the stories of Richmond's movers and shakers and their trades.
Our first interview was with Hardywood Brewery. For our second interview, we have the privilege of talking with our buddies changing the Richmond grooming game at High Point Barber Shop. Call to book an appointment ahead of time, because not many Richmond boys would miss their session at High Point.
Meet David Foster - one of the master barbers behind the High Point magic.
- Tell us about how you got started with cutting hair - Where was your first gig? What prompted you to cut hair in the first place?
At age 25 I had a "come to Jesus” moment with cutting hair. I walked into a barbershop inquiring about an apprenticeship. I was drawn to the environment, the lifestyle, the interactions. I didn't necessarily care about hair as much, until I started cutting hair in my living room, where I’d listen to Minor Threat and sip coffee in between friends stopping by. I knew that this was my path, and I knew people needed a shop in Richmond because I couldn't find one myself.
- What do you want High Point to be for the city of Richmond? You could just cut hair, make some money, and call it a day. Do you care about more than that for HP? There seems to be a real sense of friendship and community at your shop. What’s that all about?
It's easy to say that High Point is a meeting place or a melting pot. That is certainly the barbershop cliche. But that's 100% the truth with us. Most of our clients watched us grow from cutting in our living rooms, corners of denim shops, and so on...
The relationships we've made in this shop—between barbers and clients, and sometimes clients with each other—are out of a storybook. Lifetime acquaintances, friends, and neighbors sharing stories and laughs. That’s High Point. One minute we can be congratulating someone for getting engaged, and the next minute be consoling someone because of a death of a loved one. We take a huge responsibility in being there for our community.
I would probably make more money if I had rented out a booth at some shop and just booked my own schedule. But that's not the vision I have for this shop, and it’s not the vision I have for my life. I want to surround myself with people I love while doing something I love.
High Point is a family. Hell, I spend as much time with these guys as I do with my wife. We're brothers and sisters without blood. It's special.
- What do some of your tattoos represent? What do they mean, and what do they mean to you?
I grew up involved in the skateboarding and punk/hardcore community. Everyone I looked up to was covered in tattoos so naturally I got started the day I turned 18. I've got plenty of tattoos that mean real, sincere things, and I’ve got plenty of tattoos that mean nothing. One of my favorites is a simple script above my collar that reads: "No Exceptions.” It’s a phrase I try to apply to every aspect of my life. At the same time I've got Snoopy in a throwback Philadelphia Eagles uniform that says: "there's always next year."
- What are some things you love about Richmond?
It's exciting to live in a city that’s exceptionally loyal to itself. We support each other. We embrace small businesses and shy away from the "big box" mentality. We've got a nationally renowned restaurant scene, a plethora of great breweries, amazing coffee shops, and several top quality clothiers & retailers flourishing here. On top of that we have the amazing James River flowing right through the heart of the city, which is a blast. Richmond really is a treasure.
- In the shop you have draw from a ton of different influences...skate, street style, tattoos, rough-around-the-edges, etc. Where does that come from? How does that play into the HP brand?
I think the vibe of the shop reflects who we are. It would have been easy for us to spend a weekend at an antique market buying every vintage piece we could to fill our shop and make it feel "old school". But that's not who we are. Jack and I grew up skateboarding with punk rock playing in our headphones. So much of the shop’s energy comes from music. Elliott got into surfing and fishing when he lived in Florida. The shop represents us and our tastes. We don't have to put on an act or wear any costumes. High Point is an outlet to express ourselves, and we hope that anyone who visits our shop grasps that and applies it to their personal vibe as well. We encourage people to be fully themselves.