One late afternoon recently, a few men settled into their chairs at Mojo Barbershop, chatting as their barbers clipped away at their hair and Justin Timberlake blared over the speakers. Mojo is markedly more casual than your typical salon — here, you could even crack a beer if you wanted to — and it’s that type of relaxed atmosphere that the Chinatown shop seeks to create.
“Barbershops back in the 1940s and 1950s were known as sort of the social network of that time, where guys went to hang out and talk story and read the newspaper,” explains Marian Lee, who co-owns Mojo with husband Matt Leo.
Mojo Barbershop opened in November 2011, and it’s already earning accolades for its performance — it recently was recognized as this year’s Outstanding Minority-Owned Small Business by SCORE, a national nonprofit that focuses on small business development.
“It feels great that our hard work is being recognized,” Lee says. “It really took a huge team effort … The barbers do an excellent job — their customer service is phenomenal. And I also have people who help me with branding and PR. It wouldn’t be possible without everybody.”
Lee and Leo, along with Mojo’s SCORE-appointed mentor, local businessman Vince Dydasco, will accept their award in Washington, D.C., next month. (Lee credits their mentor with helping Mojo to establish a business plan and offering advice.)