When Indy native Jonathan Wilson started his barber career more than a decade ago, he had a feeling that someday he’d open up his own shop. On June 4 of 2018, that feeling became a reality when he officially opened the doors to Nomad Barber Shop on State Road 135 in Greenwood.
Wilson’s journey starts considerably farther back than when he decided to enroll in barber school. He developed an appreciation for the trade while cutting some of his friends’ hair for extra pocket money in high school. Realizing he had a natural flair for handling the shears, Wilson started barber school a couple years after graduating from Greenwood Community High School in 2003, confident he could make a decent living through the skills he’d begun to develop.
Jobs at several southside barbers would follow until 2016 when Wilson began looking for the right spot to open his own establishment.
“It’s always been my plan and something I wanted to do,” Wilson says. “It was a long, two-year journey finding the right place that would work for us and provide the right kind of setting.”
Eventually settling on a property along State Road 135 a few blocks north of Smith Valley Road, Wilson set about designing an interior that would echo his personality and provide a casual, welcoming aesthetic for customers of all ages and hairstyles.
“I wanted an industrial kind of feel when we designed the place, with a lot of wood,” he says. “Nomad means always moving forward searching for food and water, and so I wanted it kind of rustic to represent that. We want everyone to come in here and right away feel comfortable enough to start conversations with us or anyone else who’s in here.”
Wilson recruited six other barbers including a few he’d worked with at prior businesses as well as a few new faces through word-of-mouth – and the cutting crew has been busier since June than Wilson could’ve expected prior to opening. Nomad is averaging approximately 1,000 by-appointment customers per month, and the team also accepts walk-ins. Motivated by their deep appreciation and respect for Military personnel and First Responders, Nomad provides to them a $3 discount every Wednesday.
“We’ve had an outpouring of support from the local community in Greenwood and Center Grove both,” Wilson says, adding that Nomad offers beard trims and straight-razor shaves in addition to haircuts. “My manager Chad Jones and I had a lot of clientele coming into it, but we’ve also had a ton of new support from Center Grove and the south side. It’s been great.”
The social component that comes with running a barber shop has made even the most hectic of days enjoyable for Wilson and his staff. Families and groups of friends often frequent the establishment for group cuts, and Wilson says Nomad currently cuts hair for two different southside families that show up at the shop representing four generations.
“Learning about so many kinds of people, what they do for a living and that kind of stuff is fun,” he says. “I’m almost like their therapist once they sit down in the chair, and they tell me everything. It’s been consistently busy and hard at times, but I love meeting people and I’m a huge talker so it’s fun.”
When asked what the key to his success at Nomad has been after less than eight months, Wilson remains humble and is quick to share the credit with his staff.
“I honestly don’t know if there’s been a single factor in how well we’ve done, but we have a great team here and that’s very important if you’re spending 60 hours a week working here,” he says. “Also, it’s a family atmosphere, and people have always enjoyed talking to Chad and I. People don’t even have to come to get a haircut, they can come hang out and talk to us. That’s the kind of atmosphere we’ve tried to create here at the shop.”
Nomad Barber Shop is located at 399 S. State Road 135 in Greenwood. For more info call 317-893-2556 or visit them online at nomadbarbershop.com.