Articles > Haircuts Change Lives With The Backpack Barber Foundation
Last updated: August 02, 2022

Haircuts Change Lives With The Backpack Barber Foundation

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Photo Credit: Instagram via @noblebygregyoung

Noblemen’s Cut & Shave Founder Greg Young Gives Back With The Backpack Barber Foundation

Greg Young (@gregthebarber954) has made a noble name for himself in the world of barbering and beyond. As a licensed master barber, philanthropist and successful entrepreneur, Greg has built his career firmly around giving back to his community. Throughout his life, Greg struggled with addiction and multiple incarcerations, and believes that barbering is what changed his life forever. Because of his trials and tribulations, Greg has a personal mission to use his craft to better the lives of those around him. 


In 2016—three years after making the decision to get sober—Greg opened his own shop, Noblemen’s Cut & Shave, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Since then, he has founded his own grooming line, Noble by Greg Young, and recently moved his shop to a larger location due to booming success. He has also founded his own charity, the Backpack Barber Foundation, which dedicates time to cutting hair for the homeless and underprivileged.


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A post shared by Greg Young (@gregthebarber954)


Before Greg started on his path toward barbering, he faced a crucial turning point.

“Long story short, I was incarcerated over 15 times,” Greg says, reflecting on what sent him on the path toward barbering. “I was hustling and doing things I shouldn’t have been doing. I needed to figure something out.” Then, Greg turned his attention to barbering. 


While Greg always had a love for barbering, he felt like he had to hide it because of the lifestyle he was raised in. “I never wanted anybody to see and know that I really cared about people. It was a weird thing, because I was always wanting to make people feel good about themselves and make them happy. And I knew if I became a barber, I could make that immediate impact on someone’s life,” Greg says.


His desire to become a licensed barber—to work wherever he wanted and for whoever he chose—spurred Greg to attend barber school. He graduated from the academy in 2009 and became a full time barber in 2010. Even though it wasn’t always easy, barbering helped Greg learn to love himself and become comfortable with who he really was.


After getting sober, Greg set out to build his barbering identity.

When Greg first started barbering, he focused heavily on learning. “Because of the lack of education that I had, and the lifestyle that I had in Florida as a young kid all the way through my juvenile years, I missed out on so much learning,” he says. 


His teachers? His own clients. From finance to real estate, Greg picked up so much information from those he would barber. His curiosity not only propelled him to the next level as a young professional, but also taught him a lot about his own person and values.


His favorite piece of stand-out advice came from previous AA meetings. “Hearing people’s stories when I would go into an AA meeting and people with sobriety time under their belt, just talking and sharing about how if you work with it, it works,” Greg says. “I remember one time they told me just to shut up and do what I’m told. And I’ll learn it. I’ll develop. I’ll be okay and I’ll live. Hearing that repeatedly really gave me hope and the confidence that I could be anything I wanted to be.”


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When Greg was ready, he took the first step toward his own legacy.

After barbering for some time, Greg found himself at the very top…with no room for growth. Encouraged by his own entrepreneurial mindset, a daughter on the way and his growing desire to give back, he knew it was time to level up.


“I knew by building my own brand I could now go out in the community and do what I wanted to do, and that was to provide haircuts for the homeless,” Greg says. ”I didn’t want to forget where I came from.”


Greg jumped into action, reaching out to his present-day business partner to build Noblemen’s Cut & Shave from the ground up. After some initial rebranding of his shop, Greg then created the Backpack Barber Foundation in 2017.


In particular, Greg does a lot of work with Jack and Jill Children’s Family Center in Fort Lauderdale. He provides the children there with haircuts once a month—in exchange for a story. “They gotta read me a book. That’s the deal we worked out with the kids—they love it. They love sharing and reading books with me. And with the younger kids who can’t read, I usually have a volunteer come in and read to them while I cut their hair,” Greg explains.


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To fuel his Backpack Barber Foundation, Greg launched his own grooming line.

In 2021, Greg’s time in the industry and natural inclination for entrepreneurship manifested into the launch of his own grooming line, Noble by Greg Young. “I just have a business mindset and I want to create. I want to create some industry. I want to create a product. I want to create a men’s line,” Greg says. 


The goal: to make a huge impact on his organization. Every purchase from Greg’s line contributes to the Backpack Barber Foundation, with a percentage of the profits going toward creating chapters across the country. 


Noble recently debuted a hairstyling matte paste, with more to come this year.


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A post shared by Noble by Greg Young (@noblebygregyoung)


Greg has some advice for emerging barbers.

Greg’s career has come full circle as he does incredible things through his charity and career. “I hold barbering very close to my heart because it allows me to have a direct connection with another individual and I’m in control of their emotions,” Greg says. “I’m able to make an immediate impact in their life. It’s more than just a pair of clippers. It’s a craft. It’s a career.” He encourages others to see it the same way.


“Focus on your craft, and on more levels than social media,” Greg advises up-and-coming barbers. As a firm believer in community support, Greg encourages emerging barbers to invest in and care for their communities—and to get to know those who enter their shops. “And really, really absorb the OGs that are around you. They’ve been doing this for a while,” he says. “Go to shows. Meet people. Network. Don’t be afraid to shake hands and kiss babies because there’s so much knowledge in this industry. This industry saved my life.”


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A post shared by Greg Young | Backpack Barber (@thebackpackbarberfoundation)


To learn more about the Backpack Barber Foundation, click here.