Steve Marks, owner of the popular barber shop in Carroll Gardens, Persons of Interest recently opened his second location in Williamsburg. All the standards of POI are intact, a good soundtrack, a cold beverage, and most of all friendly service and a great haircut. We caught up with Marks over email to discuss his new shop.
Can you give us all the details on the new shop?
The new shop is at 84 Havemeyer right at Metropolitan. It’s a great area. We’re neighbors with Fette Sau and Saltie and Spuyten Duyvil. We’ve only been open a few weeks and already I can tell the shop is starting to build. The feedback we’ve gotten has been great! Everyone loves the space. Guys are really glad to have a barbershop in the area. Meaning a place for guys to get their haircut. Williamsburg is awash in salons but no dude wants to get their hair cut in one.
What are the similarities and differences between this shop and the Carroll Gardens shop, in terms of service and aesthetic?
The new shop has some aesthetic similarities to Smith Street (the luan paneling) but it is by no means a carbon copy, which was intentional. Most notably, the space was not previously a barbershop. We used images of the UN Secretariat as our guide in designing the space. I really wanted it to feel like your dad’s office. I was also very conscious of creating a space that was not too done. That isn’t the spirit of Persons of Interest or the spirit of Williamsburg (or Brooklyn for that matter). I found a 1950 door frame with transom which we installed in the back with glass surrounds. At night we leave the light on in the back so that it glows from the street – I guess you could say this is our mural.
In terms of services, just like Smith Street, Persons of Interest Williamsburg is all about providing the best barber services and the best customer service. I want everyone to walk out of here with the best haircut as well as a good feeling – wow, those are some really nice people AND they know what they’re doing.
Great services, good music, no attitude. Those things do not change.
What did you want to do with this space?
As I said, we used images of the UN a design guides. In fact, the UN has/has an in-house barbershop. I also wanted the shop to be slightly more subdued. I didn’t think the red barber chairs worked in Williamsburg (the chairs I inherited on Smith were covered with red vinyl so I stayed with it). Again, with the father’s office vibe.
There’s also an element of making up as we go along. For instance, we were going to conceal a door that leads to nowhere and at the last minute, we took the sheetrock off and exposed it.
As with Smith Street, we’ll add barber chairs as demand increases. We’ll eventually have 6 chairs. I have 3 in storage.
What was the space before?
Previously the space was a shared office space/incubator of apps and occupying and freeganism and harbor-er of German backpackers.
What’s the difference between your shop and other barber shops that have opened up in the last several years?
Persons of Interest stands apart because we don’t really go in for the “ye old barbershop” vibe. Yes, there are certain historical qualities to any barbershop, ours included, but the shop tries not live in the past or feel contrived. We also take appointments. No one wants to spend hours sitting around just to get a haircut. Nor should they. It is just a haircut after all.
Thanks Steve. Persons of Interest is open six days a week. Check their website for hours and price.