In barbershop culture, where you go to get a haircut isn’t just about how good the barbers can make you look, or about the price. Barbershops are about, above all else, fostering the community.
“Every barbershop that I’ve ever worked in, has been a pillar in the community,” says Marques Blackmon, a barber with 27 years of experience. “And that’s what we want to do; we want to have the reputation of a church or a community center.”
Blackmon’s business partner is former Washington Redskins player DeAngelo Hall. Together they co-founded Parlor Twenty Three (Hall’s jersey number was 23), a barbershop opening its doors in Ashburn this month.
Hall, who grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, says that when he was growing up, his local barbershop was a place for men to congregate, and where young men could learn life lessons. “The barbershops that I went to when I was growing up, and not really having a father figure, really seeing how those guys were like dads to me … it was really just a safe place and a great atmosphere for a youth like myself,” says Hall.
Hall has been a client of Blackmon’s for more than five years. “Being his personal barber, and his kids’ personal barber, we developed a good working relationship,” says Blackmon on why the two decided to launch a business. “He told me he was retiring, and how he wanted to do a barbershop, and how I wanted to do a barbershop out here in Loudoun County, and that’s really where it all began.”
The two want Parlor Twenty Three not only to be a staple in young boys’ lives, but a barbershop where everyone feels welcome. “For me, I want this to be a place where a single mom can take her child and not feel uncomfortable,” says Hall. “I have a wife and six kids. Anytime I’m out of town, and she takes the boys to get their hair done … I want her to walk into a safe environment.”
Parlor Twenty Three will offer the typical services guests expect at any barbershop: haircuts, hot towel shaves, beard work and hair lineups. But Blackmon and Hall are also planning on offering classes, open to the public, to teach a variety of life skills to Northern Virginia’s youth.
“What makes Parlor Twenty Three different than other barbershops, is not only providing great haircuts and service, but also mentoring youth,” says Blackmon. “We’re planning on doing a class called ‘Boys to Men,’ where we’re going to teach young men how to properly groom themselves, how to tie a tie, things like that.”
The community mantra at Parlor Twenty Three also applies to its employees. “We want this to be a place that empowers barbers,” says Hall. “Marques taught me so much about the barber profession and I ultimately want to see this brand grow and to continue to be associated with good things in the community.” // Parlor Twenty Three: 44921 George Washington Blvd., Suite 115, Ashburn
This originally appeared in our June 2019 issue. Want more style content? Subscribe to our weekly shopping newsletter.