Blades o' glory

At Daniel O'Grady's salon, trendy professionals can have their mane tamed while taking in the game.

After finishing a full day of work as Emera Energy's senior corporate accountant in Halifax, Daniel O'Grady is off to take care of business — at the space where sports memorabilia line the walls and 10 big-screen TVs broadcast sporting events and business news.

This is no pub; it's the accountant's hair salon for men.

"I've always had an entrepreneurial spark, which is why I chose to do the accounting path at a mid-level firm," says the 28-year-old, who started off at the Dartmouth office of Collins Barrow in 2009. "It gave me one-on-one time with clients and insight into business. Near the end of my time at Collins Barrow last year, I got an itch to do something different and on my own."

O'Grady expanded his experience with six months at Clearwater Seafoods Ltd., then joined Emera Energy last October. While "reading trends" and figuring out what Halifax needed, he discovered something.

"I realized Halifax, being [one of] the oldest port cities in North America with a strong navy presence, has lots of barbers specializing in the pristine military cut, but no place for trendy men in our growing professional scene," he says. "They had to go to women's salons that often charged [a lot] for a cut and style, which left them trapped in an environment that could feel emasculating — and didn't offer hot-towel, straight-blade face shaves."

When word got out that O'Grady was contemplating an upscale male-oriented salon, the CEO and COO of a smaller, community sports-themed establishment, Skybox Hair Cuts, reached out to him. In June 2013, O'Grady became its CFO and in the same month opened his own enterprise, Skybox Barbery & Salon, in downtown Halifax.

"The plan is to expand the two concepts into areas most relevant to each," he says. Skybox Hair Cuts will thrive in smaller communities, with local clubs and teams represented in the decor, while Skybox Barbery & Salon will have a broader sports appeal in urban centres across the country.

O'Grady calls in every morning, then looks after accounting, marketing, inventory, community initiatives and sales-related issues at lunchtime and day's end.

"I don't like to lose out on time," says the dad of a six-year-old son. "I want to fill it with important things that help me grow both professionally and personally. I love living a busy life!"