As a 15-year-old in the city’s Germantown neighborhood, Jahmal Rhaney already had a growing a passion for cutting hair.
“I worked at a barbershop at Germantown Avenue and Ashmead Street,” said Rhaney. “As a kid, that’s where I had my first true experience, working amongst men, and earning my stripes.”
Chronicling his resume, Rhaney recounted his in-home practice styling the hair of neighbors, Germantown Avenue parking-meter readers and staff from the stockroom of a nearby convenience store.
Fast forward to today, and the 37-year-old owns 2B Groomed Barbering Studios, located at 270 S. 11th St. in Center City. On that resume line, he was recently able to add “Named by Men’s Health magazine as among the ‘20 Manliest Barbershops in America‘ for its ‘worldly polish’ and ‘throwback atmosphere.'”
Indeed, 2B Groomed is modeled after a 1940s-era shop, which Rhaney deems representative of a time when “service was held to a higher standard.”
“When you see 2B Groomed, you instantly identify with a kind [of barbershop] that once was,” explained Rhaney. “Barbering is a manly tradition, and we capture that in our aesthetics.”
Reviving the ‘classic bespoke barbershop’
Walking into 2B Groomed studios, one hears a medley of jazz, including Miles Davis, and classical music. Rhaney said the music sets an atmosphere that accentuates with the shop’s design.
“I look at it from an artistic standpoint,” said Rhaney, who collects barbering antiques including brushes, razors and mother-of-pearl gilded bottles that are featured in his shop.
He noted the focus is on “reviving the luxury, service and feel of the classic bespoke barbershop.”
The shop even offers complimentary shoe shines.
Since opening in 2003, 2B Groomed has received multiple barbering awards and has been featured in USA Today, Maxim, Philadelphia magazine and Philadelphia Style, he said.
Learning the barbering-trade business
Rhaney, who attended Murrell Dobbins High School in North Philadelphia, went on to graduate from the Joseph Donahue International School of Hairstyling and the Tri-City Barber School.
During his Germantown days, though, he was already cultivating a vision for his future shop.
“I wanted to create a luxury barbershop with a quintessential gentleman experience,” said Rhaney, who spent four years developing his business plan and purchasing mirrors, barbering chairs and other equipment.
He recommended that young barbers interested in the trade learn the business-side first.
“You need to know skills in business,” explained Rhaney, who has taken multiple business classes. “Barbering is artistic craft, but the business of barbering is what’s going to make you successful.”
For Rhaney, the best part about his work is the people he gets to meet and style.
“It’s the relationships I’ve established, the camaraderie. It’s unmatched,” said Rhaney. “It’s being able to give someone something that makes them feel good about themselves. I’m learning each day, every time I open the doors.”