Oct. 5, 2005 A little encouragement was all it took for Eric Williams to take a hobby and turn it into a successful business.
Cutting hair became more than just a pastime for Williams, 37, after a friend and former co-worker encouraged him to pursue his passion as a full-time career.
"My friend introduced me to Ariel Brathwaite, owner of House of Class, and I began working with him," Williams said, explaining how he made the transition from cutting his homeboys' hair at his house to becoming a professional barber.
After working for others for eight years and earning his license as a barber, the young entrepreneur opened his own barbershop, Supreme Cuts, in January 2000.
The shop, located in the Smith Bay Shopping Center, not only offers hair styling for men, but is also a full-fledged salon, offering services including relaxers, braiding and nail treatments for women.
"Beautifying someone is an art," Williams said, adding that from a youngster going to school he was always interested in art. "For me, cutting hair is along the same lines."
In a town crowded with barbershops and beauty shop, Supreme Cuts has made a name for itself. Williams said the service his business provides is what makes it stand out among the rest. He said his service is "supreme."
"Our service here is not just about a haircut," Williams said. "It goes beyond that, to the clients themselves."
Williams said one time a lady came and asked for a haircut, and he advised her to not cut her hair.
"She came in here thinking she wanted a haircut, but her hair was healthy and not really in need of a cut," Williams said, adding it's not just about making money.
Williams said he gives advice on what haircuts will best suit an individual, tells his clients what products they should use, and has on occasion referred individuals to a dermatologist when they come with bumps that cannot be treated with over-the-counter creams.
Owning a business has not always proved easy for Williams, however.
"Challenges are something that I face everyday," Williams, who recently became a father, said. His daughter Sierra is 10 months old.
Besides balancing family and work, dealing with individuals from different nationalities and differing personalities has also been challenging for Williams.
"People come in here trying to get haircuts for free," Williams said.
But despite the challenges, Williams is determined to continue to provide the services that has made Supreme Cuts a favorite grooming ground for his clients.
"Just knowing that I can come in here and make someone's day by giving them the cut they needed motivates me," Williams said. "A haircut does a lot for someone."
Williams said although running a business is not easy, he would encourage other young men to do so.
"As a young man in business for myself, I believe that anyone who wants to be in business should follow their dreams," Williams said. "You just have to have a positive mind set, lots of patience and focus."
Supreme Cuts is opened from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. Williams can be reached at 776-4102.
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