From newcomer to sought-after stylist, barbershop owner Nick Ossais hones his craft in one of Calgary’s most vibrant communities.
In four years, entrepreneur Nick Ossais has gone from just learning how to cut hair to owning his own barbershop in the trendy Marda Loop neighbourhood.
Ossais, 23, took over the Marda Loop Barbershop in February of 2014, and has since made a name for himself by providing unique hair designs to men of all ages. From NFL team logos and Transformers characters to Gucci symbols, Ossais sculpts images into the hair, even adding colourful dye when appropriate.
“Some people say ‘Do whatever you want,’ but others come in with specific designs in mind. I really enjoy getting creative with them,” says Ossais.
Hair styling is in his blood. His father owned a barbershop for most of Ossais’ life, so he grew up in the world of buzz cuts and straight razor shaves. Despite being surrounded by scissors, razors and hair, Ossais contends he didn’t want to be a barber as a child.
“Originally, I wanted to be a dentist. I went to Mount Royal for medical sciences, then decided it wasn’t for me,” Ossais says. “My father wanted more help at his shop, wanted some people he could trust, so I went to hair school to start training so I could join him at his shop.”
He got his start in his father’s Spruce Grove barbershop, and watched a fellow employee craft designs in men’s hair. Ossais saw men lineup who wanted these designs, and that’s when he decided to focus on this creative side of barbering.
He says from day one, making customers happy has been his number one priority. When he first took over the Marda Loop Barbershop, he says it had a bad reputation and very few customers came in. He relied on friends and family to spread the word, and business took off.
Photo provided by Nick OssaisAndrew Brieger from Chestermere has been going to Ossais for years to have his hair done, sometimes traveling hours up to Spruce Grove for a haircut before Ossais took over the shop in Calgary.
“I wouldn’t go to anyone else for this,” Brieger says over the buzz of the electric clippers. “Nick has a really personal approach with his customers. He treats them like friends instead of just a number.”
Mike Kobrosly is another long-time customer. He comes to the barbershop two or three times a month to have his hair done and beard cleaned up.
“Nick is family,” Kobrosly says. “He’s the only one I trust to fix me up. That’s why I’m here so often.”
The Marda Loop Barbershop is located 2009 33 Ave S.W., and is open Monday through Saturday.