Inside the Kansas City airport, an 18th and Vine barbershop is turning heads
Armon Lasker built a strong base with his first barbershop, in Kansas City's historic African American neighborhood. At his second location, Lasker wants to give clients a 'pre-flight pampering experience.'
Armon Lasker’s barber shop inside security at the new Kansas City airport terminal flies a cut above the rest, said the former information technology professional-turned-entrepreneur.
His spot — Director’s Cut: Take Two — allows travelers to conveniently get a haircut and other services before or after their flights.
“This is the first one like this,” said Lasker, noting that while airports in cities like Portland, Los Angeles, and Dallas feature barber shops, none provide the diverse range of services offered by Director’s Cut: Take Two.
Touting his business as a “pre-flight pampering experience” — not just a barber shop — Director’s Cut: Take Two provides a full bar and the option to choose a manicure, pedicure, shoe shines, or even a massage, he said.
Lasker is well-known in Kansas City, also owning The Director’s Cut in the 18th & Vine Jazz District.
“I have a strong clientele base on 18th Street, so I’ve just been trying to balance my schedule between the two,” said Lasker. “That’s the life of an entrepreneur.”
To ensure a seamless experience, travelers can book appointments with the on-schedule barber at the airport, or by calling the 18th & Vine location, Lasker said. He is currently building an online system for clients to book in advance as well.
Passion over profession
Lasker began his hair-cutting journey during his senior year of high school when his mother handed him a pair of clippers to cut his little brother’s hair.
“I’ll never forget it. I told her I don’t know what I’m doing, and she said, ‘You’ll figure it out,’ and walked away. It was the worst haircut I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Lasker. “But after that, I was so excited because I had something new to do.”
In those early days, Lasker took it upon himself to learn the craft by observing the barbers in his local barber shop and buying his own supplies.
“I would sit there and think, ‘Oh, this is what they use,’ and ‘This is what they’re doing,’” he recalled.
Initially studying computer information and electrical engineering, Lasker kept his love for cutting hair alive by offering three-dollar haircuts in college. After briefly working in the IT field post-graduation, he returned to his original passion full-time.
“I just really enjoy cutting hair,” said Lasker. “IT is needed, but it’s for non-personable people. I fell in love with this and the interaction with people.”
A layover from travel stress
Adwoa Acheampong, the nail technician and massage therapist at Director’s Cut: Take Two, details the unique services she offers to the barbershop, ensuring customers feel pampered even in a time crunch.
“We mainly focus on massages, and natural nail pedicures and manicures here. We also provide nail removal services for gel and acrylics,” she said.
In addition to her role at Director’s Cut, Adwoa runs her own mobile nail business, Adwoa’s Mobile Spa LLC. She joined the Director’s Cut team based on the recommendation of a friend’s who used to get her haircut by Lasker at the 18th Street location.
“When I came here, I loved the concept, the vibes, and I thought, ‘I could do that.’ So, I’m here about three times a week,” said Acheampong.
She added, “My goal is to have customers come in here and actually relieve that stress from traveling all day and calm them down so that they can walk out feeling good.”
Join the team
Lasker is actively hiring for multiple roles at his airport location, including barbers, bartenders, nail technicians, massage therapists, shoe shiners, and sneaker cleaners.
While his 18th Street location was able to fill all open positions in just six months with one job posting, Lasker acknowledges the employment challenges posed by the airport setting.
“It’s a bit different here at the airport with people going through precheck and security. So, we’re still looking for the right team to join us,” he said.
Talks have begun, Lasker confirmed, about potentially allowing individuals without air travel tickets to access the terminals’ amenities for things like haircuts, drinks, dining, and shopping.
He’s also exploring the idea of expanding Director’s Cut to other airports, although his current focus remains on Director’s Cut: Take Two.
“Right now, we have to make the numbers make sense here first before we go anywhere else,” Lasker said.