- August 27, 2021
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The Newsmagazine of Long Beach Island and Southern Ocean County
Meet Danielle Saxton – badass, barber and owner of Bruno’s Barbershop at 777 East Bay Ave. in Manahawkin. After working in her family’s hair salons for years, Saxton now gets to showcase her barber skills in her own shop.
As a men’s grooming specialist, she offers a variety of different services for her clients, including scissor cuts, fades, beard trims, beard coloring, brow waxing and more.
“The one thing that separates me from other barber shops is that when I do a beard trim for a gentleman, I do incorporate some steps of what’s included in a hot towel shave, which is a hot towel, a straight razor cleanup, and a cool towel to cool down the face. It’s like a little bit of a taste for them to see what a hot towel shave would be like. Without that introduction, they may never want to expand to hot towel shave, since it is an old-school kind of concept,” Saxton said.
Aside from the professional atmosphere and high-quality cuts, she always goes above and beyond to give her clients an enjoyable, luxurious experience that offers more than a routine haircut.
“It comes from being around the block of barbering and hair business for a long time. I brought with me what I thought were great concepts. I incorporated all of my experiences from the time I walked out of cosmetology school, to training under barbers, to now being into my shop. When you come to Bruno’s, it’s definitely a place of relaxation, good service and professionalism. It looks and feels like a barber shop, but it has more of the professionalism of a salon.”
When thinking about the perfect name for her shop, Saxton wanted to come up with something that was representative of her and her journey.
“My maiden name is Bruno, and throughout my life, I have found a lot of strength through my name. For me, family is my strength, so that’s the first reason. The second is when I was in the industry about 10 years ago, women weren’t predominantly in barbering. I would go from barber shop to barber shop looking for a job, and they wouldn’t hire women. Once I did, I found a couple great shops that would hire women, and worked for them,” she said.
“Oftentimes, I would walk up to the gentlemen, and they would say we’re waiting for the barber, and I would say, ‘I am the barber!’ I thought it would be ironic and funny if someone walked in Bruno’s expecting an Italian guy to greet them at the door, then in fact, it was me. I am Bruno of Bruno’s Barbershop!”
Saxton began her haircutting journey when she was in high school. She went to vocational school and obtained her cosmetology license and worked with various family members, taking inspiration and learning tips and tricks. Her mother, Kathleen Bruno, aunt Angela DiTommaso and brother Shane Bruno are all in the hair business. Shane, her biggest mentor and owner of two barber shops, is the main reason she transitioned from full-service hair to barbering.
“I wanted some simplicity in my life, and approximately 10 years ago, I made the shift and began training more in the barbering field,” she said.
The physical build-out of the shop wouldn’t have been possible without the help of her husband, TK, and four children, Colby, Brodie, Kathleen and Liam.
Aside from her family members, Saxton also credits several other mentors who helped shape her into the barber she is today.
“I worked under quite a bit of barbers down from Infinite Cuts in Little Egg Harbor and a few other local barbers. Infinite from Infinite Cuts was probably one of the most patient barbers I’ve ever trained under. He still helps me out. I still call him and ask him to guide me with particular cuts, or help me fix a clipper. He is always kind, patient and understanding. Oftentimes in my industry, it’s super competitive, which is OK, but I’d rather have camaraderie with other barbers,” Saxton said.
Working as a barber at Simply Hair Salon for the Ott family was also significant for her, and served as a springboard for her to move on to Bruno’s.
“They were really supportive of me. They let me stay until I opened the doors of my place. They sent me all of my clients, and referred other people to me who were looking for barber-style cuts. These types of things are normally unheard of when you tell a boss that you’re leaving,” she said. “Also, Mario down here on Bay Avenue … he sends me his overflow. I feel super humble and blessed. I love the sense of community in my field.”
With her diverse background in education, Saxton hopes to persuade the state of New Jersey to incorporate barbering programs into vocational schools.
“You can get a barbering license in a private school, but you cannot get it at a vocational high school in the state of New Jersey, so I hope to change that.”
For the future, she’s looking forward to building ties and growing within the community. She plans to implement T-shirt Tuesdays, when local businesses would wear different shirts to show support of one another.
“I want to be that barber shop that is a good family-friendly barber shop, and I think I’m growing in that direction.”
Visit brunos777barbershop.com to book an appointment. The phone number is 609-994-2472.
— Sandra Weyant
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1816 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008-5461
Phone Number: (609) 494-5900 • Fax Number: (609) 494-1437
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