MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Master barber Akeem Akway is driven, talented and a standout in his field, and now his work is garnering both attention and accolades.
He was born in Ethiopia. When he moved to the states 15 years ago, he knew his name would be on a building someday. That dream is now a reality thanks, in part, to friends, fans and followers.
In six years, the 24-year-old has graduated from high school, mastered barber school and has become a business owner.
His skills cut out the competition. Akway said he has more than 400 clients’ numbers listed in his cell phone. His razor sharp talent has even caught the attention of several Minnesota Vikings players.
“My friend was saying you’re actually the celebrity,” Akway said. “They are calling you. It’s cool. I’m cutting professional athletes. It’s working.”
What’s working for Akway is social media.
“Every day we get clients who tell me they saw my page on Instagram,” he said.
In 2014, Hubspot — a leading marketing and sales company — reported more than one million small and medium businesses in North America use social media. Eight out of 10 use it to drive growth. Three in five businesses say they’ve gained new customers using sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The marketing tool helps businesses build their brands and all it costs is a little time and creativity.
Akway’s Sports Barbershop opened two months ago, but appears as if it’s been at the location for years.
“You can never hit him up the day before, he’ll be booked,” client Darrien Evans said.
Akway has dreams of expanding and possibly opening more locations in the future.