Entrepreneur Josh Ward didn’t have to go looking for his next big idea. It found him.
Always artistic, Ward was a partner in a Pampa, Tex., shoe company, when he became immersed in rockabilly culture and style. “You know, pompadours and flat tops, stuff like that. But I couldn’t hardly find anybody who would do that,” he recalls. “So I started cutting my own hair and actually got kind of good at it. People would stop me and ask me where I got my hair cut. After hearing that so many times, I thought maybe there was something to it.”
Following barbering school in Oklahoma City, Ward was ready to launch his dream shop. “Enid, with its old town square, was a logical place for me to create something unique that had that old downtown barbershop feel,” he says.
BlueJay’s Barber Shop offers more than a service; it’s an experience. The retro décor includes antique 1920s barber chairs. The shop specializes in classics like traditional hot towel shaves, straight razor cutting, side parts and slick backs.
“Grandpas come in and bring their grandsons, and it’s the same tradition now as it was back then. It’s really important to me to keep that alive,” he says. “A lot of businesses have lost the community aspect. When you see old movies, the local downtown barbershop is always a staple. For me, it’s not just about cutting hair, it’s about being part of the community.”
Having Vance Air Force Base nearby brings in an international clientele, and, as a regional commercial hub, Enid has what Ward calls “gravitational pull.”
“Someone from North Enid, or even the surrounding towns, will come downtown to get a haircut, while in downtown Oklahoma City, you’d probably stay within a 15-mile radius just because with traffic it would take you 40 minutes to get there. We have great accessibility to everything.”
Ward even found he didn’t need an expensive marketing campaign to attract customers. “The local newspaper came in right before I opened and asked to do an article. That really was a slingshot from the beginning,” he says. “I’m pretty old-fashioned. I just went around and handed out 3,000 business cards. Now we’re busier than we can shake a stick at.”