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Meet Keilani Hontucan of Keilani the Barber in Del Mar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keilani Hontucan.

Keilani, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all started when I used to watch my grandmother cut her friends’ hair and do her own perms in the kitchen. I was curious and thought it was really cool that my grandmother could cut and style hair. When I was in high school, all the other kids knew what prestigious college they wanted to go to and I knew that I wanted to do hair. It wasn’t the ideal route for my parents so I agreed to try a year of college first to see if I would change my mind.

In 2009, I enrolled myself in Marinello Schools of Beauty off of Miramar Road. I knew instantly that I was heading down the path that I enjoyed. Once I graduated and passed my license test, I bounced around from job to job to gain as much experience and knowledge necessary.

In 2011, I happened to come across a Craigslist ad for a new barbershop opening in Del Mar called V’s Barbershop. I applied and was hired. I spent a good 4 1/2 years there and for the first time, I felt that I had found a place where I could truly grow as a stylist (and eventually a barber).

Once 2015 came around, I was starting to become exhausted. I was working 50+ hour work weeks and felt like I had nothing to show for it. There was also a lot going on in my personal life (like planning a wedding) and I felt that I needed to find another way to grow. So I ended up leaving the barbershop and just freelanced out of another salon. Becoming a freelancer was terrifying but ultimately the best decision I had ever made for my career. It was scary at first but becoming independent was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

In October 2016, I had heard that a new salon with private studios was opening in the Del Mar Plaza. I inquired and checked out space. Days later, I sent in my deposit and moved in a few months later. Keilani the Barber studio has been open ever since March 2017!

Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road and for that, I am extremely grateful. When I originally went to freelance, I was terrified. I had a couple of clients who didn’t want to follow me. I was saddened at first – because I became so close to my clients that they truly become friends or even considered family to me. I was so worried that I would lose too many clients and wouldn’t be successful. In hindsight, I was definitely overthinking but it drove me to rebuild my clientele.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m a barber! I specialize in men’s haircuts, straight razor shaves & grey blending hair color. My clients would tell you that they know me for giving really great haircuts that last & grow out nicely.

As a barber, I’m proud to say that I pay attention to every little detail & I obsess over making each haircut perfect. I won’t let someone walk out of my studio unless I feel that I’ve given them my best. I also feel that this quality sets me apart from others. I take pride in my work & it shows.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think the barber business has been on the rise for the last couple of years. I feel like in my industry, haircuts will always be needed so you can start anywhere – which is awesome. However, I don’t recommend going into freelancing or opening your own studio without having a preexisting clientele.

Pricing:

  • Haircuts – $30
  • Straight Razor Shaves – $35
  • Hair Color – $35
  • Beard Trims – $10

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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