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July 17, 2014 40 Under Forty 2014

Garrett Kenny

Age: 33

Title at work/what I do: I own and operate Garrett's Barber Shop in Berlin. It's a shop with four full-time barbers and a very diverse clientele. I've owned the shop since I was 19, and I'm currently in my 14th year of business. I'm also the president and co-owner of Founders Pomade, a men's hair care brand that we personally developed earlier this year. We make it here in CT and distribute it throughout the world, currently in nine countries and 42 states. We're a company with a social mission, donating 50 cents of every bottle sold to local charities.

Town where I work: Berlin / West Hartford

Town where I live: Newington

College I attended: I did not attend college; founded my business instead.

My passion, hobby or special talent: My current hobby is preparing for my son, who will be born this September!

Twitter handle: @founderspomade

No. of LinkedIn connections: 63

Favorite place to network: I generally network at my barber shop and at HYPE events.

Favorite drink at a networking event: Bourbon

How do I create connections in my professional life?

Dealing with the public each day means that connections happen pretty naturally. We have a great opportunity to meet and get to know people from all walks of life. In asking questions and engaging our clients, we develop real relationships with people as friends first. Professional connections often result from this, but it's never our first priority.

What's been my biggest challenge professionally?

Many individuals don't view being a barber as a legitimate career option. It's often looked down upon as mindless labor or as a fallback career for those without a better option. Frankly, I recognize that many people in our industry have only added to this stigma with an overall lack of professionalism. I hope to respond to this by being a leader not just in my industry but also in the community. This is one of the reasons why my team and I work so hard to help the fundraising efforts of local charities or to reach out in more public ways. Our aim is to demonstrate that a group of people can have an impact on the community regardless of their education or socio-economic status. When well-intentioned, thoughtful, and intelligent people work together, positivity is the result.

What is the best advice I received?

George Brown, a long-time client of mine told me very early in my career that I needed to have an exit strategy. I didn't grasp that advice immediately, but in growing both of my companies I've realized the wisdom of those words. We need to have clear objectives in business, both short and long term. This includes knowing how you envision your company growing even after you're gone. That foresight really shapes the way you mold not just a product or service, but also the culture of a company.

What do I want my legacy to be?

I'd like my legacy to be that I was someone who worked hard, led by example, and was a friend and support to everyone around him.

Check out the other 40 Under Forty for 2014 winners

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Heather Loranger

Ashley M. Maagero

Kim Margolis

Lindsey Mathieu

Tracy I. McKaveney

Ryan McKeen

Adam McLaughlin

H. Scott Miller

Alison Morris

Peter J. Murphy

Kristina Newman-Scott

Brandon Ojakian

Michelle M. Pandolfi

Erin Pirro

Ken Procino

Steven Raider-Ginsburg

Brian Rich

Matthew Ritter

Robert Ruffolo

Lindsay Ryan Jensen

Zachary Schwartz

Jarrett Solomon

Erica Ann Thompson

Jason J. Warnke

Tim Yergeau

Jennifer Young

Christopher R. Zito

McKinley Albert

Keshia Ashe

Dr. Jill Buban

Stephen Carrabba

Leticia Colon de Mejias

Erin M. Concepción

Molly Devanney

Jennifer R. Fiereck

Betsey Castle Gainey

Martin Gugliotti

Bryan Hall, II

Benjamin Howarth

Ashley (AJ) Johnson

Check out the Digital Edition of this year's 40 Under Forty.

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