Rich Mendoza started cutting hair with a pair of clippers at the age of 15 in his kitchen. “I became a barber because I needed to survive. Growing up my mom was a beautician and a single mom raising three kids,” he says. “I dropped out of school and started working at a salon. That experience helped me learn scissoring techniques they don’t teach in barbering school.”
Photographer Credit: Petro Onysko
He opened his flagship Filthy Rich Barbershop in 2006 in the “Manila Town” of Queens and the second location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Both shops embody the New York City urban hustle and make sure everyone feels his trademark Walk in Filthy, Come Out Rich vibe.
At Filthy Rich, the clients come from everywhere in the tri-state area and beyond–a lot of tourists from around the world visit to experience services in the NY barbershop. They have a diverse team of 13, including his mother. “My mom actually works in my barbershop now with my older sister. It’s a family affair and I get along great with my mom so it’s nice to have her around and everyone loves her. She has her own private room in the back so she can come and go as she pleases.”
Barbering has afforded Mendoza and his family many opportunities, he says, “I never thought being a barber would take me down so many different paths. I’ve taught classes, mentored so many barbers and traveled to great places. It’s a long way from where I started.” His A-list clientele includes Drake, BD Wong, Big Sean and Kevin Miles better known as Jake from Statefarm. “I’ve partnered with a financial bank for a national commercial and most recently with Art of Shaving, where my family was included too.”
Mendoza is a busy barber who is very hands on, “I do everything myself, I manage my shop, I do payroll, I'm cutting hair 5 days a week, and I still have to keep up with my social, so I always want to partner with brands that make sense and that I respect and would actually use. It also has to be beneficial for both parties.”
‘A Portrait of Perfection’ from The Art of Shaving features Mendoza, his wife Naomi, their son, his sister Cassandra, her fiancé Dana, and Cassandra’s daughter. From Queens, New York, Rich and Cassandra were inspired to become barbers by their beautician mother. Each own successful businesses located beneath the 7 train, Filthy Rich Barbershop and Ztylez Studio, respectively.
Photographer Credit: Aaron Richter
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