Barber Jacque’ Scott, better known as Sci-Fi, is definitely on the come up. The 27-year-old hair magician can allegedly turn any head into a mind-blowing piece of art. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Just check out the 5-star Yelp reviews calling her the “best barber in Philly.” Or you can ask the celebrity athletes who have spent time in her chair. Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks has made a visit and so have Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry and Major League Soccer player Justin Morrow, among others. Sci-Fi’s journey has been far from easy. For starters, she’s a woman in a male-dominated field and opening a small business in Philly on one’s own isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Right now, Sci-Fi’s shop — Another Planet Barber Shop, LLC — located at 808 South Street, is completely run by the young entrepreneur, though she’s looking to welcome others (she has plans to hire two stylists and three barbers soon). In this interview, Sci-Fi tells us what it’s like to transition from running a business at home to one on Philly’s most popular commercial corridors. She gives us the backstory on her nickname, captivating style and heartfelt vision. She says that everyone, no matter what hair texture you have or whom you love, is welcome for a cut. Sci-Fi’s story will definitely make you want to cheat on your barber.
I grew up in … Sicklerville, New Jersey but moved around to various places on the East Coast.
In beauty school I would always … play with a lot of color experiments.
My barber name is Sci-Fi because … back in July 2014 I got into an accident that left me with traumatic brain injury. When I tilt my head, I have double vision. I also got damage to my left eye’s type four optic nerve. I thank God my frontal view wasn’t damaged. I call them my super powers. So I call myself Sci-Fi because I view the world differently.
I first started cutting hair when … I was 17. I used to have braids and “baby hair” that I liked to keep dark and sharp during my basketball games. People would ask me, “What barbershop do you work at?” I would get offended and say, “Man, you know I play varsity basketball.” Back then when I started, I didn’t see it as a career.
I still cut hair because …I simply love to create art and transform lives with my services.
I wake up at … 7:30 a.m. consistently nowadays.
We all care about hair and grooming because … we have so many options when it comes to styles, colors and cuts. Self-grooming is essential to happiness and self-care. Plus, you simply feel better when you leave my chair!
The craziest thing I’ve ever done to my hair … was wore it white for about six months during my time at Empire Beauty School in New Jersey.
I rock blonde now because … when I went to Empire and got to the coloring portion of my studies, I got excited to make bleach and I made a lot. I decided to bleach my mannequin’s head, but while doing it, I accidentally scratched my head. A few minutes later my scalp was burning and a classmate ran over to tell me that the top of my head was blonde. My hair had been dark black for the longest but after I seeing the damage, I didn’t let the bleach go to waste. I applied it to my entire head and the result was golden.
I started my brand at home because … I was advised to always start small somewhere and build up. I worked in my private shop for two years before opening on 808 South St. Each year strengthened me for the next.
Having a barbershop at home meant … I had an official home office that I could legally claim as a business operation. On my taxes I could write off the office space room percentage and a number of other things. I also couldn’t truly expand with a “private shop.”
The first time I messed up someone’s hair was … when I was practicing a blowout fade (on my self) and took it up too high. I then went to the barbershop to have it fixed and ended up with a cool flat top. I’ve made enough mistakes on myself to avoid them on others.
I honed my craft by … studying the techniques of others to push myself to try innovative styles and concepts.
I pushed myself to open up a shop because … in 2013 my basketball career ended, and I was forced to choose something to do with the rest of my life. I needed to be my own boss and make money doing something my heart beats for and makes me jump out of bed in the morning.
I decided to call the shop Another Planet Barber Shop, LLC because …I needed a business name that would be different enough to get notice and interesting enough to get checked out. People want an experience and to be able to fantasize that they’re somewhere off the planet. There is also no comparison to other barbershops because @apbsllc is in another dimension.
When Philly Jesus came through we … prayed and he blessed the shop. I thanked him for doing what he was doing. As a fellow Christian I can appreciate a tangible form of God on the streets, even if he is truly a comedian.
My favorite movie from childhood is …Toy Story … “To Infinity and Beyond!”
The style everyone comes in for … It really varies mostly because I consider myself a multicultural barber. I have clients from all over the world.
Biggest trend to come to haircuts … are “Partial Cuts,” as described on my website. A lot of people have been cutting sections of their hair off to get engraved designs cut into the hair to sport temporary hair tattoos.
The hardest part about raising money for my business … is feeling like a beggar with my hand out.
Looking for locations around Philly was …a task because I knew I needed to be in a respectable location and the application process was a scare.
I settled on South Street because … my original plan was to open on 17th and Chestnut St. but that would’ve been too much overhead to start. When I found this Bella Vista location I knew it was mine and the price was doable.
The biggest roadblock I hit trying to open up the business is … the car accident I got into in July 2014. It ejected me 20 feet and totaled my 2012 Camaro convertible. The three years after that were filled with many roadblocks. I was forced to press restart and rebuild from scratch three times!
The most helpful resource available to me during the process was … Kiva Zip Philadelphia. I was able to sign up and raise $5,000 in five days via worldwide crowdfunding. I believe it’s the fastest and most helpful solution for entrepreneurs to get funding.
My advice for anyone looking to open a small business in Philly … First, no matter how many denials you receive, keep pushing forward because failure only means you are one more step closer to getting it right. Secondly, don’t rely on others. Do it yourself. Third, hard work and faith will get you to your destination. And lastly, you get back what you put out.
I’d describe my style as … boldly alluring and vibrantly intriguing.
The best part of my sleeve is … its entirety! Dan Craft at DNA Tattooing and I have strategically planned placement and intricate design formation. The stars – 16 dermal piercings— are the sprinkles on top. And tell me who doesn’t like sprinkles? My sleeve was featured twice in the Philly.com coverage for Philadelphia Tattoo Conventions of 2015 and 2017.
The biggest misconception about barbers is … that female barbers aren’t valid. It’s a disappointment to some for a woman to have a brand or business in predominantly male profession. Needless to say I am running mine at 27 and in a prime location. I never listened to the negative talk.
Being a woman in this space means … Constantly earning respect from ALL clients who have that misconception about female barbers. I am a nurturer to my clients, and as a woman I see and care for them differently than your traditional male barber. For example, if a client’s nose starts running, I’ll grab a tissue and tell them to blow their nose out. Most people just want to feel catered to.
If robots learn to cut hair one day … I’d own one to keep at my place. I would have it programmed to operate as I would so my clients can still have the same experience.
I’ve created a diverse clientele by … not turning clients away. I stayed open to new textures and styles until I mastered every culture that has sat in my chair.
A problem in the barber industry I’m addressing in my shop is … customer convenience. Here at Another Planet Barber Shop, clients can book appointments 24/7 online. I offer tech forward external payment methods like PayPal, Venmo and Square Cash. I have various lines of reliable communication. We also built in charging stations so that clients can plug in their mobile devices and stay charged. If the shop is ever behind schedule with appointments, clients are contacted ahead of time so that they don’t get there and have to sit for 3 hours like in traditional shops.
We also emphasize equality and no judgment. There are many traditional shops that close their doors to homosexuals and others on a discriminatory basis. Even some women feel uncomfortable in male-owned shops because they can’t get service without being harassed. Another Planet is rated E for Everyone! Come as you are and leave enhanced.
The top song in my rotation right now is … “Hungry” by Fergie featuring Rick Ross.
In 10 years I see myself … having multiple brick and mortar locations in major cities nationwide. I’ll also have mobile barbershops – Another Planet Barber Shuttles that will “bring the shop to you.” I plan to open several barber schools under the name Another Planet Barber Academy. They’ll follow the same concept as the shop but prices will be halved with services provided by students. I want to give back by servicing people with needs.
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