The Social Club G.C.: Detroit, MI

“You all are like really good dentists...closing gaps and all. You left me with an awesome pair of braces.”

October 24, 2014


Sebastian Jackson

What they do:

An innovative salon that recycles the hair it collects to accelerate compost that is then used to plant trees in Detroit, which has lost half of its urban canopy in the past decade. They also use the barber shop as a natural convening point for the community by hosting “shop talks” where leaders share their stories and spark conversations, learning, and cooperation toward creating a better Detroit.


“I asked myself, ‘why not me?’”

What we helped them with:

MBAx0 Summer 2013:

Three “I’s”: an incentive structure that would allow Sebastian to attract, retain, and engage top talent; tech infrastructure to turn his clientele base into evangelists for the salon; and iconic actions to tell the story of The Social Club inside the physical space and in the community — from chalkboard walls to pop-up barber shops. We introduced Sebastian to partners who helped him tear . After the summer, Sebastian worked with partners we introduced him to and tore down an abandoned home, reclaiming the wood to renovate the entire Social Club.  He also tripled his monthly revenue, wasable to secure a $100,000 local investment, and invested us back for the summer of 2014.

MBAx1 Summer 2014:

Our MBAx team returned to find a renovated Social Club  and Sebastian with aims to expand locations. We helped him create a list of criteria for assessing the viability of possible expansion locations and a financial model to project the break-even-point for a new shop. We created a pitch deck for him to show to potential investors, gave him a crash course in crowdfunding, and website recommendations after meeting with students at local barber schools to understand how to recruit the best talent.


Summer 2013:

“You all are like really good dentists…closing gaps and all. You left me with an awesome pair of braces.”

Summer 2014:

“As an entrepreneur, I need resources. I need several support systems, and MBAx is a fantastic resource and enables us to benefit from their support system. For example, The Social Club has received an unbelievable amount of media attention, which has helped us establish brand equity in places outside of Michigan. It is difficult to measure this result, but that alone has helped our trajectory. We also are able to leverage the MBAx relationship, helping potential stakeholders understand that in joining a small entrepreneurial venture, they are a part of a much larger network and something bigger. Most importantly, MBAx has legitimately helped us map out our future growth. We have tangible tools now that help us recruit and train talent, as well as tools that help us understand markets that we should absolutely enter vs. markets that will be more difficult for us to take over”

What we learned:

Grassroots leaders like Sebastian are writing a different story about Detroit, one where young visionaries build solutions to the city’s problems themselves instead of waiting for traditional institutions to save the day.


The Social Club Grooming Company

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