Despite only being in the Houston area for four years, Vida Humphries, a barber and the owner of A Shaving Grace Barber Shop, has opened multiple branches of his shop all over the Greater Houston area.
What brought him to open a shop in The Woodlands Mall in June 2018 was the need for trained and professional barbers in the area, something he noticed was lacking, he said.
“There was a need for a real barbershop in The Woodlands,” Humphries said. “The Woodlands is an older area, but it really doesn’t have the amount of barbershops like the city of Houston has.”
An early fascination
Humphries said he found his interest in cutting hair when he was 11 years old after his aunt took him to his cousin’s barbershop.
“He was cutting my hair with me facing the mirror, and I was fascinated,” he said. “That’s what put the passion in me.”
Humphries’ early years in Chicago also had an influence on the business he owns today. He recalled a time as a teenager seeing a large crowd outside of his local mall where people were lined up and waiting to get a haircut.
“It was genius,” he said. “There’s just so many people in there. … It’s a place where people come to look good and change their appearance with clothing, so why not go ahead and finish it off with a good haircut?”
All four of Humphries’ shops are located within malls, with the first opening in Greenspoint Mall in 2015. Humphries ran the first shop by himself before he was able to get help hired.
Sticking to values
Humphries said he came to Houston after forming a close bond with his pastor while living in Oklahoma City. Humphries said he wanted to keep his values apparent in his shop.
The name, he said, can be seen as a play on the phrases “Amazing Grace” and “A Saving Grace.” He said the store tries to reflect the values through its staff, choice of music and treatment of customers.
“I tied the music with Christian-based, uptempo music for the first three or four hours, then it’s regular music for the rest of the day with no profanity,” he said.
Along with clean music, Humphries said his employees do not wear earrings or shorts and are prohibited from swearing. The result is a family-friendly and welcoming environment,
“People love that atmosphere; that’s what makes us different,” Humphries said. “We’re a family-friendly barbershop that is open seven days a week.”
Looking to the future, Humphries said he wants to have a store in every mall across the country, but he is focusing on expanding his presence throughout the Greater Houston area in the meantime. The biggest issue he faces at the moment, he said, is finding licensed barbers. Barbers are trained primarily with clippers for a smoother cut that can get closer to the skin, whereas cosmetologists are trained with shears, he said. Barbers are also trained to use a straight razor.
Humphries said he is considering opening a school for barbers to share his passion for the profession.
A Shaving Grace
1201 Lake Woodlands Drive, The Woodlands
Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8:15 p.m., Sun. noon-5:15 p.m.