by David Travis Bland
Charleston has always been known as one of the classiest cities in the South, setting the styles that define the region. Jen Sample is creating that style for the gentlemen of the Holy City.
Sample’s Holy City Barber Shop is one of the latest old world barber shops popping up around the South. As a barber shop it caters to men looking for a classy cut or straight razor shave.
“I just like working with the guys. I like their styles and I like their conversation,” Sample says.
Expect more than a nice look though. Sample is also serving up some old school cocktails while you wait. You could get yourself a classic G&T, a Manhattan, or a drink simply known as the Hangover Remedy. Its recipe will stay a mystery but it promises to deliver. Her barber shop is all about atmosphere, but in more than just your literal sense. Sample is creating a space where men can be men and come out with a stylish look.
“There are plenty of places with great stylist but they’re targeted at the ladies. Guys don’t go in them, not around here, and the fellows haven’t had an option to get a real man’s cut where they were comfortable and that wasn’t ridiculously exclusive…I’m here for the normal guys that want to look extraordinary.”
Sample talks like one of the guys telling me about the first SEC football game she recently attended; the Gamecocks facing off against Kentucky. She’s casual around the boys in her shop but always suave, never abrasive. And that’s reflected in the styles that she puts out.
“Guys hair cuts are about casual style. You see a lot of shaved or shorter sides which makes your hair easy to work with and gives a masculine look. But I’ll keep the top long enough to comb so you can have a nice groomed look too.”
The retro-fitted barber shop is a place you can see popping up in many major cities throughout the South, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Charlotte all claiming their own unique brand of the business. Charleston is a distinct place for style and the South. Sample is giving a distinct spin on the barber shop by also providing other male-centric items such as locally hand-crafted bow ties and leather goods along with aftershaves, and “Bear Grease,” the nicest grooming aid you can get I’m assured.
“I grew up here in the South and Charleston is one of the greatest cities, its history and culture. I glad to be adding to that culture and in a way helping to make the South what it is.”
She goes on to tell me about her clients, her friends she calls them, that she sees out on the town. They always have the girls she says. And who wouldn’t want that.