BEST BARBER: Mark, John, and Bryan from Make Your Mark

Mar 28, 2017 0 comments
BEST BARBER: Mark, John, and Bryan from Make Your Mark

By Leo Dillinger

Photography By Alexa Nahas Photography

Let’s face it: Some men are very particular about where they get a haircut. Deciding between an old-school barber that might not know what style younger guys are looking for and the pricey, pretentious setting of an upscale hair salon can be an uncomfortable predicament.

When 29-year-old Mark Anthony Schilling first opened Make Your Mark Barbershop in June 2015, his goal was to provide a service nobody else around Main Street had to offer. By blending the traditional concept of a neighborhood barbershop within a 21st century setting, Mark has attracted a following of both local residents and out-of-towners hailing from areas like Northeast Philadelphia, South Jersey, and even as far as Quakertown and Reading.

“I thought Manayunk had a good demographic. It was an easy fit for who I am and what I was trying to do,” Mark said. “I felt like there was something missing down here. There wasn’t really an authentic barbershop run by someone younger.”

Make Your Mark embodies this hybrid of conventional and modern day vibes: dark wooden furnishings, the signature barber pole, a leather sofa facing a flat screen TV, and mug shots of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jimi Hendrix on the walls. While waiting their turn, guests are offered complimentary beer and the latest sports games on PlayStation 4 to occupy their time. From the music that’s playing to the light-hearted banter among barbers and patrons alike, Mark always wants to make sure his shop feels like home.

“Most people nowadays, they try to recreate what it used to be like in the barbershop as far as the ambiance, the feel, and all that good stuff,” Mark said. “I’m trying to bridge the gap with a little more of the modern day but with that same feel.”

Mark started out cutting his friends’ hair back in his hometown of Perkasie, PA when he was 13. Admittedly, he wasn’t very talented back then, but as he got older, Mark found his hobby could eventually turn into a legitimate career. While taking courses at Bucks County Community College, he came across Modern Male Barbershop in Sellersville and learned they were offering apprenticeships. Mark jumped at the opportunity and by the time he turned 23, he was cutting hair full-time at Modern Male. While working there, Mark met two of his future employees, John and Bryan. Mark used to cut John’s hair and Bryan had been working at Modern Male before Mark got started there.

After spending three years working at the Sellersville location, Mark felt he was ready to branch out and create a shop of his own. With just one barber (himself) and one barber chair, he opened Make Your Mark on June 10, 2015. Since that day, Mark has expanded his business from operating five days a week to six with Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays being appointment only. After gaining recognition on Main Street, Mark added two more chairs and hired John and Bryan to cut down on the wait time for his customers. Though all three barbers range in experience levels, their easygoing, respectful, and witty personalities in conjunction with their talent truly define what it takes to be a successful barber.

“We just try to be the best we can be as a business, as people, as barbers,” Mark said. “Customer service is huge for me and if I notice that anybody is unhappy, I try my hardest to fix the problem.”

Now approaching two years here in Manayunk, Mark’s business has grown organically through positive Yelp reviews, word of mouth, social media, and curious passersby on Main Street. Even though he’s thought about expanding his business to a second location, he wants to be sure it will be in a neighborhood that will welcome him and the service he intends to provide.

Mark likes to describe Make Your Mark as “A personable environment with a great product.” It’s easy to assume many of Mark’s patrons agree with that statement.

“Manayunk is great,” Mark said. “Everyone has been very kind. It’s a very tight-knit community where people want to see each other be successful. It’s just a good place to be. Everyone is so full of life and happy to be here. To be honest with you, I couldn't ask for anything more.”

Make an appointment here.

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