Images of rock stars and cultural icons surrounded Crystal Knox as she sat in a salon chair at Floyd’s 99 Barbershop last week while a stylist trimmed her pixie cut.
“When I first walked in, it felt like I was in a concert atmosphere,” Knox said of the barbershop, which opened on January 25 at 449 W. 19th in the Heights Waterworks development.
And that’s the gist of Floyd’s 99: a barbershop with a rock ’n roll twist. The Heights shop, which joins more than 100 locations across the country (including in Dallas and Austin), is the chain’s first in Houston and 15th in Texas. Artists from Elvis to Eminem cover the walls from floor to ceiling as rock music pumps through the speakers.
“Sometimes people say the music is too loud,” said Brandon Rivers, a stylist who started working for Floyd’s 99 in 2007 at the original shop in Denver. “But then I ask them, ‘So why do you keep coming back year after year?’”
Co-founder Rob O’Brien has a simple answer to the question: quality. “If you don’t get a great haircut, what’s the point?” he said.
The three O’Brien brothers—Rob, Paul and Bill—opened the first Floyd’s 99 in Denver in 2001 after years of being unsatisfied with the industry, especially the price of haircuts. Paul—“the brother with the beautiful hair,” Rob said—was spending more than $50 on a cut while Rob waited in a long line at budget barbershops on the weekend.
Thus, Floyd’s 99 and its rocker aesthetic was the answer to the O’Briens' desire for an exciting middle-market barbershop.
“If you look at this wall, at this hair, this is where the fashion comes from,” Rob said, gesturing toward the decades of hairstyles represented on his shop's walls. “Years ago, if you couldn’t do a Justin Bieber cut, you weren’t in business.”
Floyd’s 99 offers advanced education and technical training for its employees, allowing them to move up through the company. Briana Andrews started working for Floyd’s 99 in Dallas as a receptionist; now, she's the manager of the Heights location. So far, she's hired 10 stylists—three men and and seven women—and encourages each to build relationships with clients.
“A lot of salons and barbershops want clients in and out,” Andrews said. “You get a different experience here.”
Floyd’s 99 is known for its classic straight-razor neck shave with hot lather and steamed towels. Each cut ends with a complimentary shoulder massage.
“The attention to detail is great,” said Justin Ray, who got a haircut at the Heights location's soft opening. “I love how anyone can walk in and get their hair done.”
The barbershop prides itself on offering services for women, too. While 92 percent of the clientele is male, 15 percent of revenue is generated by women through services like cuts, coloring, styling, and facial waxing.
“[The cut] feels great, looks great, and it’s up-to-date,” said Knox, who lives in Clear Lake. “I’ll be coming back to try something different next time.”
The Heights shop is 1,200 square feet and seats 10 clients at a time. Haircuts will cost $5 until February 3; after that, the first 2,000 clients will earn half off the price of their services. While appointments aren't required, they're recommended for shaves and color.