Words by: Brent Guiao
Photos by: Karl Angelo G. delos Santos
Barber shop and gas station.
Student-athlete and businessman.
Usually, those sets of words aren’t paired together because of the uniqueness of each of those entities. For Alec Villavicencio, however, unusual situations are where he thrives best.
As a Marketing student at De La Salle University, Villavicencio not only has to dedicate his time to fulfilling the requirements of his degree, but also focusing on improving as an athlete, as he is also part of the DLSU Taekwondo Team. As if that wasn’t enough, the incoming college junior decided to challenge himself further and pursue another opportunity, which was to open his very own barber shop, Barber V. The shop, which takes it name from Villavicencio, is located in the Shaw Boulevard branch of Total Gas Station and has been solely owned and operated by the young student since around the middle of 2017.
Admittedly, Villavicencio says that at some points, he feels too tired or that he is lacking any personal time for himself. It is at those times, though, according to him, in which he reminds himself to stay focused of why he started in the first place.
“Proper time management is key. I believe that is the reason behind how I balance sports, the business, and most importantly being a student. The desire and willingness to learn and achieve as much as I can while I am still young and have the opportunity to do so also drives me to work harder.”
While Barber V had just recently relaunched, in the last quarter of 2017, the shop had actually initially opened back in 2014. Though Villavicencio was a frequent customer of the shop, he saw a large amount of unfulfilled potential that he believed he could bring out.
Because of that, the 20-year-old decided to take over the business and manage it himself, with the blessing of his father Raffy. Villavicencio was actually managing another business at the time but decided to give up that venture for Barber V. According to him, the entire process of planning and constructing the shop, which is a few feet away from the old location, took about two to three months.
He further explained, “I saw the potential of the shop. My dad and I have always been fond of going to different barber shops and seeing the various ways each shop tried to make their customers feel special. Because of this, I took the initiative and left the other business wherein I sold furniture to remodel Barber V into what it is now.”
The Barber V Experience
Upon entering the shop, every customer is immediately greeted with a sense of isolated relaxation, with a comforting interior and relaxing songs played in the background.
“The concept behind Barber V is to give an authentic lounge-like experience that would do its best to give you the relaxation you need, “ Villavicencio said.
While Barber V is just in the early parts of its life, Villavicencio already likes where it is headed, in relation to his overall vision for the barber shop.
“There’re many barber shops sprouting all over Manila. My initial goal is not to try compete with other shops but to do my best to satisfy my customers in the best way possible,” he explained.
With this in mind, he knows that his shop will only be as good as his loyal employees. He feels, though, that he has hired the correct people to carry out his vision.
“Juno [barber] is one of our best and my hope is that our other barbers learn from him. I also have Shanny and Hansel, who are both excellent at carrying out the other services of the barber shop.”
Additionally, Villavicencio knows that Barber V might not immediately attract the ideal number of customers. He knows, however, that these growing pains will help him learn as a young entrepreneur.
“I know managing Barber V won’t be easy,” he explained. “I know I will make mistakes because I am still learning but I will make sure I learn from them and work extra hard from preventing them from happening again.”
While there were many factors that led to Villavicencio becoming an entrepreneur, his Lasallian upbringing is one that he points to as key. Being a graduate of La Salle Green Hills and a current student at DLSU, he credits his education for molding him into the person he is today.
“My education helped me become a more well-rounded person. Up until now, I am still studying in a La Salle school and am proud of it. I hope to one day make La Salle proud by carrying out its values in all aspects of my life,” Villavicencio would elaborate.
Additionally, the Barber V owner was influenced greatly by his dad, Raffy Villavicencio. A great businessman in his own right, Alec gives much credit to his father for instilling in him values that are needed to become not only a successful entrepreneur, but a good human being.
Alec said, “He taught me how to value the simplest things, to be practical, and to seize every opportunity because nothing comes easy. Most importantly, he taught me how to be humble and simple. All in all, these values got me motivated to strive to be like my father.”
Support from Friends
Aside from his family, Villavicencio relies on great support from his friends for motivation and helping spread the word regarding Barber V.
One of his biggest advocates has been Kobe Paras, who is part of Gilas, and has been a long time friend of Alec. Having known Villavicencio for a while, he is not surprised at all that his friend was able to pull this off.
“As his best friend I can say that Alec gets whatever job done,” Paras explained. “Coming from an amazing family, he was raised well by Tito Raffy and he sure knows how the business society works.”
Talking about the actual service, Paras had only good words for Barber V, saying, “I was actually shocked with how nice the service was in Barber V just because this is Alec’s first barbershop and I’m pretty impressed with how good the treatment was and the treatment goes to getting a nice fresh cut to getting my beard trimmed to getting a relaxing massage after.”
Another big fan of Barber V has been Jason Perkins, a former Green Archer. During his visit, he loved the overall atmosphere of the barber shop and the service he received.
“Alec’s still young but he’s motivated. It’s been amazing to see what he’s been able to do with Barber V,” said Perkins.
Article originally published in the Vol. 16 No. 1 of AnimoMagazine.