Interview by Amber Coleman
Cold Cutz owner John Jefferson has a philosophy that your business is only as good as your relationship with the community—Cold Cutz values this relationship.
Jefferson opened his first barbershop in downtown Riverside on University Avenue in 2001. In 2006, he relocated to his current location on Market Street. From the very beginning Jefferson was determined to create an environment reflective of the pivotal space barbershops hold in African American culture.
Historically, barbershops have served as meeting places as well as grooming places. Jefferson defined a true barbershop as an open forum for all people to debate, share and build relationships—a collective dynamic, focused on male-centric issues and grooming.
Jefferson was destined to be a barber. In 1986 he cut his first head, his own. “It was a terrible job,” he admitted. He tried again on his brother’s head and while he still didn’t do a great job, that attempt was much better. In 1988 he cut his first head in a make-shift barbershop in a garage. “A flat top,” he shared. “With the name “Jazzy” inscribed on the back, right above the fade.” From that day forward Jefferson was a hit in his community.
Jefferson’s mother encouraged him to open his first shop and yet, it was his reputation, talent, and professionalism that drew clients to his location.
“Barbering is a cultivated combination of leadership and insight,“ Jefferson confided. “You need to understand what type of hairstyle the client wants, and quickly. If you don’t,” he explained. “They’ll start to question their original vision, and that’s not good for business. The artistic challenge is to find a way to marry your artistry with the expectations of the client.”
Jefferson views his vocation as a combination of cutting, barbering, and artistry. “Cutting is a mixture of art and science,” he explained. “No head is perfectly round. You have straight lines and geometric lines—you have to take into consideration the shape of their head and their face, that’s where the art comes in. When you balance the art and the science together,” he concluded, “you get esthetically pleasing cuts that really look good. You don’t even know why it looks so good, you’re just drawn to it.”
Jefferson also offers a line of organic, apothecary products to nurture the scalps and hair of his clients. The product line, ColdLabel, uses ingredients that date back to ancient Egypt. A number of shops now carry it as their house brand and it has engaged buyers internationally.
Cold Cutz is honored to provide barbering services to the Inland Empire’s diverse community and to customers who come from as far away as Hollywood and Palm Springs.
Cold Cutz Barbershop
4029 Market Street