Barber, entrepreneur, philanthropist.
Meet the man behind Kings Own Reserve and hair industry lifer Chris Lord.
Owner + President | Kings Own Reserve
Owner + Barber | Kings Own Barbershop
Director of Media Relations | We Live in the Shadows
How did you get into the industry?
The funny thing about getting into the industry for me, is that it happened out of the blue. I had been working in the communications field, and at the time, I had always been on Instagram checking out barbering videos. I always thought barbering was cool, but never considered it as a career option. As time went on, I finally decided to discuss potentially pursuing a career in the industry with my mom, my best friend, and she told me I should take the plunge.
I can’t see myself doing anything else, I’m definitely a lifer in this industry.
When I was a child, I always told my mom that I wanted to dress nice, and talk to people all day for my job, and here I am, doing what I love.
My first job, before finding my passion as a barber, was working in women’s hair. My good friend Eli Saikely, owner of Silver Scissors Salon hired me to work at his salon after we met at the Hair Donation Ottawa event. Thanks to Eli, I was able to get my feet wet, and start my journey in the hair industry.
Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.
Working in the hair industry is a real blessing. We’re artists, creating beautiful works of art day in and day out, having fun with our friends and clients, in the best atmospheres.
Did you go to the barber as a kid?
I had gone to the barber a few times, but it was never really my go to. I never really went to salons either. Looking back on my childhood, it would make sense that I end up in the industry, since my mom cut my hair most of my life.
Do you have a particular style you are known for?
In respect to my work behind the chair, I’m a complete chameleon. I really enjoy all aspects of barbering, but if I had to pick, beard work and shaves are my favourite. I’ve got quite a few clients that come to see me specifically for beard work and shaves. Being a man with a beard, and owning a beard oil company, I understand the care and detail that goes into maintaining ones beard, from short to long styles.
No matter what I’m doing, from haircuts to shaves or beard trims, I always ensure that my clients are well taken care of and thoroughly enjoy their time in my chair.
How do you craft the perfect look for a client?
The perfect look varies from person to person.
It all depends on what my client wants, their lifestyle and ability to upkeep or maintain a particular style. This is why consultations are so important. As barbers and stylists, we have to be sure that we remain realistic with our friends and clients.
To me, the perfect look is a combination of what compliments the clients face shape, as well as their individual style. That being said, the perfect haircut doesn’t exist.
Art is subjective!
The key to crafting the perfect look for a client is taking into account the amount of work they’re willing to put in to style their hair everyday, the frequency of their visits to upkeep the style, as well as the right product.
Client education is key.
Making sure the client knows what to do and how to how to do it themselves is of paramount importance for the perfect look.
The House of Barons is very true to the old-school-barber culture. Tell us about the vibe at the shop.
I feel very lucky to work for House of Barons. The shop was at the forefront of Ottawa’s barbershop boom, and is still pushing the bar.
Everyone who works for House of Barons, from the owners, general manager, concierges to the barbers themselves are an important cog in the well oiled machine that comprises the overall vibe. The aesthetic really brings the experience together.
Years before getting into the hair industry, I would frequent the shop to get my haircut. I always appreciated the vibe. From the old school chairs, to the art and even music selection – House of Barons is a place that everyone should come check out.
One of the most interesting things about the shop, is how much personality everyone brings to the table. I get to call these people my friends, people who not only contribute world class haircuts, but bring their own brand of entertainment, education and zest to the vibe of the shop.
Men’s grooming is booming – it’s the fastest growing sector of the industry. In your opinion what is behind the resurgence?
We live in a time that people want to take care of themselves more and more.
Appearance for most people is important, and because of that, barbering is BACK! The resurgence started about ten years ago, but only in the last five to six years have we seen such a major push. I believe that men’s grooming has become important again because we like to take care of ourselves, and look our best.
I think that life being hard also contributes. The daily grind, bills, our families all contribute stress to our lives, albeit in most cases necessary stress, it’s there nonetheless.
When we go to the barbershop, our worries are left at the door, and the relaxation and fun begins. As barbers, not only are we trusted to maintain or provide a certain look or aesthetic, but we are expected to entertain, offer advice, insight and be sure that our friends and clients have a top notch experience in our chairs.
There are some major players in the barbering world – like The Nomad Barber Shop, Mark Bustos, Matty Conrad and of course Schorem Barbier. Who are some of your favorites in the industry.
I have an appreciation for anyone behind the chair, it takes a special kind of person to do what we do. I have a lot of respect for Mark Bustos. Everyone can give back, but using ones gift or talent to do so is awesome. I’ve been cutting hair for the homeless and less fortunate for 3 years now, much like Mark does.
Matty Conrad is another big influence on me. He actually won Canada’s best barber just recently, but beyond that, his entrepreneurial spirit is great. Having my own business myself, I can appreciate what he’s accomplished, and no doubt will continue to do for the industry.
I’ll say that one of my biggest influences In the industry is Andrew Kozak. He recently put together a four week program for barbers, in addition to a plethora of free content found on his Instagram. People like him are out there really pushing the bar in the industry and creating a sense of community, which I can appreciate.
Do you think social media has had an impact on the return of barber shop culture?
Social media has had a global impact on EVERYTHING. I feel very blessed to have access to such an important tool, a free one at that! Social media has been super important to me. It allows me to keep my friends, and clients informed about my schedule, cool projects I’m working on, and showcasing great haircuts. Being a barber or hairstylist means that we’re self employed in a sense.
Creating content is key in maintaining a steady income.
Connecting people, experiences and feelings, captured through pictures, videos and boomerangs. I think that social media has had a direct impact on the resurgence of barbershops. Creating excitement and buzz, is as easy as posting a picture, a video or a story. We live in a fast moving world, and many of us are very visual. Social media is the perfect way to gain an audience, and keep people captivated. Without social media, there wouldn’t be as big of a hair community as we have now.
What was the inspiration behind Kings Own Reserve?
I’ve always been fascinated with kings and royalty, so the name came to me pretty naturally. Having grown up watching a lot of movies and reading books about fantasy, it came together organically for me.
Being a philanthropist, I really wanted to incorporate giving back.
Having worked with the homeless for a number of years, it felt right to give back to those that need it most, the less fortunate. For every bottle sold $1.00 goes back towards local initiatives to help alleviate homelessness.
Kings have power, and power can be used for influence.
The kings private stock being available to everyone, gives a sense of community, a community where everyone can win, is important to me.
I think some people completely underestimate how much work it takes to develop a brand. How long did the whole creative process take – between the branding and product development?
Developing my brand and bringing it to fruition was a process that took a number of years. Playing with the idea of first having a cologne, to finally deciding on making my own beard oil took awhile. It wasn’t until I got into the men’s grooming industry that I decided on Kings Own Reserve being a premium beard oil.
I was lucky enough to get introduced to Chloe Hurst, owner of Contempo Mint, through a mutual friend. Chloe is the one responsible for all of Kings Own Reserve’s branding. She really hit the design aspect out of the park. I would recommend her to anyone who needs help branding their product or business.
Aside from the branding, I designed everything from scratch, working from the ground up. From my carrier oils, which is what comprises the base of beard oils, to my scent, to all the wording used on my bottles, tags and website.
The base for Kings Own Reserve went through rigorous testing, upwards of 60 different batches, and countless hours spent perfecting what would become my final base. My final scent also went through many, many hours of testing, as well as over forty different batches.
My mom, Brigitte Lord was a huge help during the whole process, I appreciate her immensely. My good friend, Greg Swaine, Co-owner of Stoutheart Shave Co. was also a massive help during my testing process, I can’t thank him enough for his advice.
Kings Own Reserve, premium beard oil is comprised of Argan oil, jojoba oil, castor oil, grape seed oil, hempseed oil, apricot seed oil, avocado oil as well as essential oils. My oil will moisturize the skin under the beard as well as the hair itself, promote healthy growth, prevent dryness, itchiness and irritation, as well as make your hair soft, smooth, shiny while giving it a lustrous shine and making you smell like royalty!
The whole process from start to finish, and the finish is debatable because I’m working on another project I’m hoping to be released in the next six months, would be about three years.
Kings Own Reserve is currently available at both House of Barons locations, as well as, Richardson Hair Design, Prim Barbershop, Silver Scissors Salon, Taylor & Colt, Eddie’s Salon and Unique Barbershop.
Tell us about your involvement with The Rolling Barber.
The Rolling Barber is an initiative I stumbled upon through Frankie Decaria, co-owner of House of Barons and Fernando Cellini.
I really enjoy charity work, I think it’s really important to give back if we have the means to do so. I’ve been cutting hair for the homeless and less fortunate for a number of years now, and after hearing about The Rolling Barber, I had to be a part of it.
Founded by Anne Donovan, The Rolling Barber is a non-profit initiative that offers free hair services to the less fortunate and homeless people of Ottawa, from the comfort of a school bus that will soon be converted into a rolling barbershop! There’s a GoFundMe page, used to collect donations that go directly towards this great project.
Within the organization, I am the Resident Barber and Manager of the barber team, which means that I am one of the mainstays of the organization. We have done a few dry-runs to establish partnerships with centres and shelters and we are aiming to have things in full motion come July.
As most of us know, getting a haircut can make us feel great, and can change the way we feel about ourselves.
Something we often take for granted, a haircut can be a complete game-changer, and the difference between feeling good or bad, being employed or not, for people with little to no resources. We are always looking for more volunteers, and can be reached on our Facebook or Instagram page.