South Minneapolis was the only place Edward Davis wanted to open up a shop. After seeing a few locations on Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, he opened the doors to his Lyndale Ave. location in June of 2021.
“It kind of caught my heart a long time ago,” he said of the South side. “I really didn’t want to be nowhere else in the city.”
Faded is above Snapology and Bob’s Java Hut on Lyndale at 27th Street. The space was last home to a yoga studio in the 2010s.
Minneapolis became home to Davis when his family moved to North from Chicago in eighth grade. He played basketball and football at Minneapolis North High School, then a little bit of college football before enrolling in barber school at Minnesota School of Barbering on Lake Street, where he learned about barbering and business from Peggy Schmidt.
After getting his barbering license in 2013, Davis worked at a couple shops across the Twin Cities. He worked at his cousin’s shop for three years before opening Faded.
“He’s kind of the one who showed me the ins and outs about opening my own barber schop and getting my own business,” Davis said.
Once he decided to open his own shop, Davis went all in. He put all of his savings into opening Faded, didn’t take out any loans, and started scouting locations. After securing the proper licensing and a location, Davis picked out all the furniture for the shop and began hiring barbers.
Building a team of barbers was a challenge for Davis, especially in the first months after opening when the shop was exceptionally slow. He hires barbers based on their social media, since barbers use Instagram and Facebook to show off their cuts, rather than background checks.
“I don’t do background checks or stuff like that because people have a past. I don’t think you should be punished for your past,” he said. “If you do have a bad past, I’ll try to help with that too, to show that you can move forward from that.”
Davis struggled to attract customers in Faded’s first year open. He passed out flyers, sold branded merch, advertised on social media and talked to people in neighborhoods to gain customers. That year was about keeping the store’s doors open and paying employees more than anything.
“It wasn’t really for the money, because I’m not really making any money right now as far as the barber shop, but it’s just getting to where I support people where I can,” he said. “That’s my main goal, to make sure my employees have money coming in where they can take care of their families and their responsibilities and stuff like that.”
Almost a year and a half after opening, Faded is running smoothly.
“It was a hard process, but now we’re at a point where we’re just rolling now.” Davis said. “It was very emotional because it was my first business and I don’t want it to fail. I put everything I had into my business, all my life savings.”
What makes Faded different from other barbers, according to Davis, is the “real barbershop feel,” a concept that he couldn’t explain further than saying that “guys know what I’m talking about.”
“Good music, good people, good barbers, good conversation. This is all-around a good place to be. It’s a blessing to come in and just see what’s going on and get that real barbershop feel. We have that feel going on upstairs for sure,” he said.
One tangible reason that Faded stands out is its upstairs Lyndale location.
“We’re really the only barber shop in the city that’s like really upstairs on the second floor,” Davis said. “It’s a cool space. They can come in and walk upstairs and they’re like ‘I’ve never been in a barbershop upstairs.’”
Helping kids in the community is important to Davis. He and his barbers gave out free haircuts to Minneapolis South students before prom, organized backpack and school supply drives, and Davis acts as a role model to kids who come to the shop.
“I like to look after kids and show them the right direction whether it’s occupations, following the Lord or just being a man to take care of your responsibilities and stuff,” he said. “[Faded] is a place where you can come and understand about growing up and being a man and understanding that if I can do it, you can too.”
Faded Barbershop Uptown is located at 2649 Lyndale Avenue and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.