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Path cut by father puts son on ‘Down to Earth’ course

Within walking distance to city, county, state and federal government buildings, banks and hotels, the Down to Earth Barber and Beauty Salon is uniquely situated to capitalize on all the foot traffic downtown.
 Carlee McCullough

Within walking distance to city, county, state and federal government buildings, banks, hotels and schools, the Down to Earth Barber and Beauty Salon is uniquely situated to capitalize on all the foot traffic downtown.

Location is crucial to business and Carlos B. McCloud, the well-groomed professional in charge, knows that fact well. McCloud’s father was a barber, making McCloud’s path to the industry a trek over familiar ground.

 The barbershop still is known as a right of passage for men. So this week’s conversation with McCloud is a fitting conclusion to our series highlighting the services and products for maintaining well-groomed professionals.

Carlee McCullough, Esq.: What is the name of your salon and what is the origin?

Carlos B. McCloud: Down to Earth Barber and Beauty Salon. We named it Down to Earth because we are at sidewalk level.

CM: So you offer services to men and women?

 Carlos B. McCloud

CBM: Yes, but our primary customer base is men. We cater to the barber side for the most part, which also includes shoeshine services, which are really popular for professionals in the government buildings and the Morgan Keegan building. The main interest is for the professional men to be able to get a nice shoeshine and groomed before they go to a meeting. The convenience of our shop is great for the busy professionals that don’t want to take time out of their evening or weekend for grooming.

CM: What is the look of a well-groomed businessman?

CBM: A well-groomed professional comes several times a month to get his hair cut, tapered or lined in addition to getting his shoes shined. If he is not getting the shoes shined on his feet, he is definitely dropping off a pair to get shined for the next two weeks.

CM: Do you see any new trends in professional men’s styles?

CBM: For the most part, most professionals downtown prefer a light tapered look, which is just a light blend on the sides and the hair is still somewhat full. As it relates to facial hair, no facial hair is still the norm for men downtown. But there is this new item called Bigen, which is an Asian dye product. Some guys that have a receding hairline or trying to grow a beard, which doesn’t fill in all of the way, may use Bigen, which gives them a natural hair look. It is a water-based product and lasts about a week. You may see some entertainers with a sharp lined look. Usually the entertainer has used Bigen to achieve the look. We call it the show look because it looks like they just left the barbershop.

CM: How did you get the word out about your salon?

CBM: We met with the hotel concierges and let them know that we were open for business. They came back to check us out before recommending us and we have successfully served hotel clientele ever since.

CM: Describe the diversity of your clientele?

CBM: We are a multicultural shop. We cut round hair and straight hair. Tourists are a huge part of our business. We have a lot of international customers.

CM: Generally, what would you like people to know about your salon?

CBM: We call it a salon because we offer more services than just a traditional barbershop. It is a place where a father and son can feel comfortable without the adult conversations or videos. We create an environment where they can get great services in a great environment. We play light jazz and the conversation is child friendly.

CM: What is your greatest achievement as a business owner?

CBM: Survival! The last few years, business has been slow and people are going longer in between cuts due to fixed budgets. But we are still here.

CM: What’s next for Carlos B. McCloud?

CBM: I would like to open another salon with great customer traffic. I have a location in mind.

CM: Any closing words?

CBM: I would like to give compliments to Mr. (Bernal E.) Smith (II) and the Tri-State Defender on these series of articles. I have been reading them and I have found them to be very informative. The whole new format of the paper has been great.

(For more information about Down to Earth Barber and Beauty Salon, call 901-526-0070.)

(Please send your questions to Carlee McCullough, Esq., at 777 South Main St., Suite 202, Memphis, Tenn., or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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