More than a haircut: Willon Peters is about the business of barbering

The lone chair in the Crispy Clean Cuts Barber Salon is not just a symbol of the personal attention and exclusivity.

The chair is also a seat of transformation, where men can boost their self-esteem, get the courage to face the world and conduct their affairs, business and personal, with confidence.

For Willon Peters, being a barber is much more than a haircut.

Peters is the owner of Crispy Clean Cuts, a well-known barbering establishment located in Fiver Rivers, Arouca.

This is not your typical barbershop. There aren’t multiple stations, loud music and endless chatter. Instead, there is a quiet elegance to the space that features a seating area, tools, and products. Amidst everything, the chair stands out as a throne for the high-end clientele that prefers that ambiance.

Here, a haircut can cost between $300 to $350 and you can do more than just get a perfect mark.

Crispy Clean Cuts is the only barber salon in the country currently that offers enhancements such as the installation of hair units and scalp micro pigmentation, a hair tattoo method to address balding and thinning hair.

Peters, who is a walking ad for his skills with his beard and hair always on point, is constantly looking for ways to improve and diversify his business.

In addition to offering solutions for men with hair loss, he also runs a two-day course for barbers and is the only Caribbean brand ambassador for Cocco Hair Pro, a US-based company that sells barbering supplies.

Crispy Clean Cuts offers solutions for men with balding and thinning hair

While barbering started out as a hustle for Peters, who grew up in poverty, it became a business once he realised it was possible to earn a good living from his skill.

Growing in Carapo, Arima, Peters spent a lot of time living with his grandmother because he couldn’t get along with his stepfather. A scar over his left eyebrow from an object his stepfather hit him with is a constant reminder of that toxic relationship.

He lived with his grandmother and 11 other occupants in her two-bedroom home that didn’t have electricity. What they did have, however, was an abundance of fruit trees and vegetables so between the bounty from the land and his grandmother’s roti-making skills, they never went hungry.

He said his grandmother saw something in him from early.

“She used to say I was special because even though we didn’t have much I always kept myself looking a certain way. She would iron my clothes on a tawah and I would go back and iron it over because it had to look a certain way,” Peters recalled.

That pride in himself extended to his hair.

Peters learned to mark his own hair using a razor blade and a comb. When he had money he earned working part-time at a horse farm, he would go to the barber for a haircut and observe everything they did.

He told Loop News that he has the ability to replicate anything by just watching someone do it.

At Secondary school, his skills brought in some extra cash and he became the go-to person for marking hair.  A neighbour who saw him trimming hair with his razor blade bought him a machine, which helped him to work more efficiently.

At the age of 17, when his grandmother fell ill, Peters moved back home but was forced to leave when his stepfather demanded that his mother put him out.

Tears welled up in his eyes as he recalled sitting outside of Windsor Cinema in Arima with a bag of clothes wondering where to go. Luckily, a friend passing by offered him the opportunity to stay at a house he owned but was unoccupied.

It’s more than just a haircut at Crispy Clean Cuts

To support himself, Peters found a job working as a barber at a barbershop in Arouca owned by a security firm. He honed his skills cutting hair for security guards at $15 a head. From there he moved to another barbershop in Cane Farm, Trincity, and it was there he realised barbering could be a business.

“It was at that shop I took barbering seriously. The boss, Brent, had accomplished so much off barbering. He had a house, car and a food business. When I asked him if all that is from barbering he said yes and I realised this is a business. I was treating it as a hustle to pay rent and eat so I started to take it seriously and after the first year working there, I saved my money and bought a car,” he said.

He stayed at that salon for four years and over time, he kept looking for ways to elevate his craft. He introduced an appointment system for his clients, which the other barbers said wouldn’t work.

“Back then haircuts were $40 so I decide I am going to charge $60 and work by appointment. I told my clients, you see this set of waiting three/four hours, let us work by appointment,” he recalled.

With his reputation growing, Peters was given the opportunity to manage a barbershop for someone who lived abroad. He started to attract a lot of DJs, entertainers and other celebrities but over time, he realised he needed to open his own establishment.

Crispy Clean Cuts opened six years ago.

“I needed to grow; I wanted to do something different as a barber. That is why I introduced the hair units because I realised there was a need for it,” he explained.

Peters said in the future, he wants to focus more on teaching and training others as it is more lucrative.

“My mission is to show barbers in Trinidad that it is not just about standing up behind the chair. Good work never goes unrecognised and once you are putting out good work you will be recognised,” he said.

“I want to pave a way for barbers, for too long people see barbering as a hustle and people used to look down on barbers. Nobody looking down on me.”


This article was originally published on Loop News (

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