Louisiana-grown barber hopes to make haircuts simple again

From his single-chair operation in 21st Plaza, Keith Reed surveys his kingdom with satisfaction.

“It’s humble beginnings, but from here I can see where Nashville will take me,” said Reed, who opened Coupe (short for ‘cut’ in French) in August.

A master barber, Reed relocated to Nashville from south Louisiana a couple of years ago and had no trouble getting work. But, he says, the traditional barbershop scene in Nashville left him cold.

“I loved it up here and wanted a change, so was very glad to make the move,” he said. “But the shop I worked in was very traditional, old school styling with older clientele. There wasn’t a lot of change from day to day, and I got really tired of that; just not my cup of tea.”

When he set up his own place, he made the determination early on that it wouldn’t be a salon, but that it wouldn’t be a traditional barbershop either.

“I’m appointment only, and it doesn’t have the traditional look,” he says. “I have done this for more than 15 years, and I wanted a more upscale look but also to get back to what I was accustomed to, so this is it.”

Early indicators are that people want what Reed offers, which is a lot more than barber-style short haircuts.

“Nashville has been very receptive to me, and I’m finding that people will really let their hair down here,” Reed said. “People have the wrong idea of what barbers do. I can do grandpa’s cut, yes, and the traditional flattops and tapers, but there’s a lot of stuff in between, and it’s not what you would think of going to the barbershop for.

“I hope to change that,” he continued. “Right now it’s all about cuts and styling, but soon I’ll get back into covering that gray and other services, and just see where Nashville takes me.”


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