In Short Time, Barber Shop Window Has Made An Impact
Throughout WrestleMania weekend, you’ll see a lot of wrestling-related shirts, some with the phrases, “Rise Above Hate,” “Best In The World,” or “WWWYKI.”
However, you may also see some with the phrases “Who’s In The Danger Zone,” “Monsoon-Heenan 2012,” or “Chicks Dig Heels.”
The latter aren’t the brainchild of some crack staff in Stamford, CT. They’re the creative ideas from a group of friends and hardcore wrestling fans who saw an opportunity to pay homage to great wrestling moments gone by, as well as make captivating t-shirts.
Barber Shop Window launched October of last year by Ken Tuccio and a group of friends. Hardcore wrestling fans like many of the people that purchase their shirts, the company has taken off, even hitting the mainstream. Dolph Ziggler wore the Bret Hart-inspired “Heels Wear Pink” shirt on an episode of the WWE webseries WWE Download. Zack Ryder can be found on the groups Twitter account wearing the Ghostbusters-influenced Brobusters shirt. Even Derrick Bateman has asked the company about shipments of the “Chicks and America” shirt for WrestleMania weekend.
For Tuccio, the quick success of the company was something that was unseen.
“It’s obviously very complimentary and it’s very cool,” Tuccio said. “It’s definitely blown up to a level that I didn’t expect to at this point. I think that speaks to the power of the internet and I think that speaks to when something different in wrestling is presented to the fans, they’re going to eat it up.”
The shirts are unlike anything seen on the market. Rather than bright, gaudy designs, or shirts that have wrestlers in tights on them, they’re subtle, making references from everything to wrestling movies to signature phrases exclaimed by wrestlers, such as Daniel Bryan shouting out yes in continuous succession. Wanting to create something different from what the current market has to offer, Ken said his goal was to create shirts that fans can wear comfortably.
“At the end of the day, the purpose of buying t-shirts that express your interest is so that you can outwardly express them,” he said. “You can go into a bar, and walk around your college campus or go to a restaurant and go about your daily routine with fear of looking like a fool, for lack of a better term, so we wanted to create wrestling merchandise that is wearable.”
The rapid success of the company is in part of the accessibility the internet provides, as well as the support from fans, many of whom are life-long watchers of wrestling and have supported it for years. Some are everyday people spreading the word through social media, while other share the love of wrestling just as like the people who follow them on Twitter, only they’re wrestlers working for the biggest company in the profession.
“You have to understand though too, these wrestlers are just people, they’re on tv and they have action figures and have t-shirts and probably make more money than you and I combined, but at the end of the day, Zack Ryder is a kid who grew up as a wrestling fan, Curt Hawkins is a guy who grew up as a wrestling fan, Dolph Ziggler was a long time wrestling fan. I’ve known Colt Cabana for years. Colt and I are friends, and Colt’s a long-time fan. These are just normal guys.”
In addition to expanding their business via their website, www.barbershopwindow.com, Tuccio said the company is looking to go specific shows to put their name out there to people who may not have heard of the group. Last Saturday they were at the Highspots merchandise table for Wrestlefest 16, which was held by Northeast Wrestling. The company will also be at Inter Species Wrestling ‘s Boner Jam April 7, and will sell a shirt next week promoting the event. This weekend Ken and company will be in Miami for WrestleReunion 7, featuring appearances from Rhino, Kevin Nash, Rocky Johnson and others, as well as matches and Highspot’s Five Dollar Wrestling, hosted by Colt Cabana and Marty DeRosa. More info is at www.wrestlereunion.com.
For Tuccio, to make an impact on wrestling in such a short time is something his company is honored to be a part of.
“WWE released kayfabe t-shirts, WWE has never done anything like that in the last 20-30 years they’ve been in business. We come around six months later, they’re releasing t-shirts with the word ‘heel’ on it, so from a fan perspective that’s pretty cool.”