LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — With 10 years of experience as a barber, Chicano and Vegas native Francisco Carbajal had to stop cutting hair at the beginning of the pandemic because of social distancing.
“It definitely fueled me. I realized that I could do something with this,” said Carbajal, the owner of Filoso Barber Brand.
Carbajal looked for alternative ways to keep working. The solution? Posting video tutorials and tips on YouTube for other people in the industry.
“The response was amazing not only from the Latino community but from the barber industry period,” Carbajal said.
Through posting, Carbajal realized there was a shortage of barber tools and products, specifically, within the Latino community.
He teamed up with an entrepreneur from Mexico and together they created the Filoso Barber Brand.
“Most of us are first-generation Americans, so we don’t really have a foundation. It was hard getting started,” Carbajal said.
Las Vegas saw its Hispanic population grow by 23% over the past decade.
That also meant growth in Latino-owned businesses, despite long-standing racial barriers that limit their access to startup money.
“There’s just not enough access to capital for small businesses, especially minority-owned small businesses. We do know that two out of every four businesses that have opened in Las Vegas over the past five years have been Hispanic businesses,” said Peter Guzman, president & CEO of the Latin Chamber of Commerce of Nevada.
Guzman explains that Latino small-business owners, like Carbajal, are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., they’re also far less likely to get a bank loan compared to white business owners.
“Razor giants like Gillette, they buy out everybody. So, one of the struggles that we had was not having enough resources,” Carbajal said.
Carbajal and his business partner turned to local minority business support group Nevada Grow.
With the help and added resources from NV Grow and NVenture Fund, Filoso Barber Brand has now become the first Latino-owned business to create a barber blade in the country, putting Latinos at the top of the barber industry.
NV Grow is a State of Nevada small business initiative customized for Southern Nevada existing businesses that have over $50,000 and less than $700,000 in sales.
"We are really able to help people, like Frank, and set them up to succeed," said Kevin Raiford with NV Grow.
Participating businesses receive access to economic and demographic data and assistance from Nevada Small Business Development Center counselors to help grow their businesses.
“Making that leap is initially the best thing you can do when you first start,” Carbajal said.
Learn more on filosobarberbrand.com.