Dante Brown had to get creative when the 2020 pandemic forced him to leave his rental booth at a local barbershop, where he had worked for years. The 46-year-old entrepreneur established Platinum Barber Services in March 2021 in an effort to stay afloat.
He transformed a cargo trailer into a state-of-the-art, one-seat barbershop that is fully operational with heat, air conditioning, and plumbing.
“It was like almost reviving life like they gave us life, it gave us hope, inspiration through all the pandemic,” Brown told DC News Now in an interview.
The DC native shared that his innovative idea keeps customers coming: “I can’t stop cutting. I’m on the clock constantly. I’m constantly busy. My book is extremely full. I’m booked up for the rest of this week, mostly all next week, and people book me out throughout the rest of the year, almost.”
Even in the trailer parked on John McCormack Road in Northeast, on the border of Catholic University, Brown’s clients are glad he’s open.
“That was one of my concerns. Losing him as a barber. Then, when he told me he was back in business, I was like, ‘I’m coming because he’ll have you looking like a king,’” Dorante Samuels, one of Brown’s faithful customers, remarked.
The proud barber boasted that his new business allowed him to attract more customers. “[It’s] just me anchoring it down. I can just catch so much more fish this way. I can literally just set up a net catch.”
He expressed that when his customers try to find him, they always ask if he’s the one “in a black trailer.” Still surprised that his ingenuity has yielded this much result, Brown commented, “I’m still in disbelief. I still think it’s a dream. I still think I need to be woken up.”
Black-owned small businesses were hit harder by the pandemic than White-owned businesses. In September 2021, an H&R Block survey of almost 3,000 small businesses found that 53% of Black business owners saw their revenue drop by half, compared to 37% of White owners since the pandemic started.