Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barber: Meet Fort Wayne's cosmetologist on wheels

Elgien Richardson opened Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop in 2019. A cosmetology instructor and former welder, Richardson was ready to take a leap of faith, one that would give him more freedom and allow him to be his own boss.

Portrait of Elgien Richardson, owner of Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop.

“I never saw myself being in one location and I know that there’s a need for people that have anxiety and people that are on house arrest, group homes, just people that don’t desire to be in the mix of everything,” says Richardson, “It also gives people a sense of a personal stylist or a personal barber coming to them, you know, a V.I.P. service pretty much.”

Richardson has been a cosmetologist for over 30 years now. He says his mom and his four daughters were the reason he started cutting hair.

Portrait of Elgien Richardson, owner of Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop.

“My mom owned a salon growing up, in the home, so I’ve always been around it. And I have all girls, so that was another reason for me to just go with cosmetology. Since I’ve been cutting hair I wanted to learn everything and be able to service my little girls.”

Now, Richardson says he’s happy his daughters get to watch him run his own business. 

“And just my kids seeing me take that leap, and watching the whole process,” says Richardson. “That’s like so exhilarating for me to see them see me and know that they can do it as well. But it comes with challenges, and nothings gonna be easy that’s worth keeping.”

Elgien Richardson, owner of Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop, works on giving client Larry Slater a bald fade & beard clean-up/line-up.

So what are those challenges for Richardson?

“For me it was knowing my worth, I always wanted to be the nice guy and just help, but you kind of have to factor in your time, your gas, all of that type of stuff that you don’t really think about. You have to charge a little bit more and that kind of was a hard thing for me, but you have to do it, you know. That and people just calling and wanting you to just pop up right then and there. That’s one of the challenges that I guess it just comes with the business. I had to get used to it.”

Elgien Richardson, owner of Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop, works on giving client Larry Slater a bald fade & beard clean-up/line-up.

The same year he opened his business, Richardson graduated from SEED Fort Wayne’s Build Institute, a business course for entrepreneurs, which he says helped him work out important details for his mobile barbershop. 

“I think it gave me a leg up on realizing some of the challenges and some of the requirements that we need. A lot of that legal aspect, that I never thought of doing. I gained a lot of information, you know, just how to get a business going, and registering with the state, purchasing your name, just all kinds of stuff that I never even thought of. I just wanted to cut hair and be mobile, but it’s a whole other side as well.”

Elgien Richardson, owner of Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop, works on giving client Larry Slater a bald fade & beard clean-up/line-up.

Along with the typical challenges of owning and scaling a business, Richardson says COVID-19 had a big impact on his clientele as a cosmetologist. It’s a challenge hairstylists and other personal service industry professionals are facing across the U.S. as clients reduce their in-person interactions.

For Richardson, coping with setbacks has required getting creative to find supplemental sources of income, so he can keep pursuing his passion.

“Once COVID hit, I had to go back and get a third-shift job. So I haven’t been able to leave that just yet, until the business picks back up. But usually I’m doing about seven–six or seven hours a day. I’m really trying to work that job out of the equation and just get some more new clients, so I can compensate for that.”

Elgien Richardson, owner of Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop, works on giving client Larry Slater a bald fade & beard clean-up/line-up.

You can find Kingdom Crowns Mobile Barbershop on Facebook or by phone at 260-249-5697.

This story is part of an Entrepreneurship series made possible by underwriting from SEED Fort Wayne. To learn more about SEED, visit its website at seedfw.org.
 

Read more articles by Brittany Smith.

Brittany Smith is Input Fort Wayne’s Assistant Editor. She previously worked for Northeast Indiana Public Radio and participated in the College Input Program.