Episode 98: Chasing Greatness with Antonio Willis
Posted on February 9, 2022
Our guest on this episode is a barber extraordinaire who is innovative and talented, yet humle and grounded. Joining us from his barbershop, The Coil, in Chicago, Antionio is here to share his journey to salon ownership - and what lead him to become the successful barber he is today. You might know him as @barbergawd on Insagram, or as one of the 2021 Faces of Sola, but we know him as one of the most genuine and inspirational people we’ve crossed paths with.
In this episode, Antonio opens up about his experience moving to the south side of Chicago at 14 years old and how there was a lack of positive mentorship. But despite the challenges he faced, Antonio used his experiences to fuel his passions and purpose.
Through his work behind the chair and a drive to make a difference in the lives of others in the next generation, Antonio has created a community of empowered people who not only look good, but feel good.
Press play on this episode to get the inspiration and motivation you didn’t know you needed.
In This Episode
[2:10] - Antonio has made such an impact on the Sola community and we knew his story needed to be shared.
[3:42] - Growing up, Antonio admired his uncle and aspired to follow in his footsteps.
[6:26] - By spending time with clients every couple of weeks, Antonio has made connections with young people in his community as a mentor.
[8:00] - The experience he provides in the chair gives his clients confidence.
[9:40] - Antonio offers a subscription-based VIP list that locks in appointments.
[11:20] - Because he sees 14 to 18 people a day, Antonio delegates tasks to others in his network to help build his product line and app.
[13:17] - Antonio felt the need to branch into his own business with Sola so he could do things his own way and keep growing.
[14:50] - His dreams are to provide stability for his children and give them the opportunities to do the things they want to do.
[16:40] - Those in the Sola community are passionate about making time to inspire future individuals in the industry.
[18:00] - During the early days of the pandemic, Antonio set up a tarp covered studio in a hotel.
[21:53] - Antonio explains why his studio is called The Coil.
[24:00] - The Coil has also been branched out to include products for women and has a store front.
[25:51] - Taking photos of his work doesn’t only help promote his brand, but it makes clients feel good, too. Antonio shares his method in self-promotion.
[28:31] - To his clients and his community, Antonio is more than a barber.
[30:20] - Comparison is the thief of joy. How does Antonio thrive in a community with a lot of barbers?
[33:18] - Antonio has a strong sense of self and confidence but continues to be very humble.
[36:30] - It is Black History Month and Antonio shares what it means to him to be a black-owned business in his community.
[39:00] - Antonio’s advice for young people is to talk to the people who inspire you and find out how to do the things you love.
Links and Resources