Opening their own barbershop is the fulfillment of a dream for brothers Semion and Roman Kikirov, fourth-generation barbers who emigrated from Tajikistan, formerly part of the Soviet Union, in 1999.
“We couldn’t have our own shop in Tajikistan, a Communist country where everything was owned by the government,” said Roman. “It’s satisfying to have our own shop where we can implement our own ideas.”
Roman and Semion grew up in the tradition of barbering, where the skill was passed down through the generations. “In our family, we do hair,” Roman said. “Our tradition is to learn through apprenticeship with experienced barbers. Semion learned from our father and I learned from Semion.”
The brothers, both Aurora residents, opened their first Semion Barbershop for All at 507 Lincoln St. in 2011 and will expand to the Stanley this fall. Semion offers services for men, women and children, including haircuts, shaves, hair color and brow waxing. “We got into the Stanley after Mark Shaker [Stanley developer] came in for a haircut and saw families coming into our place together,” said Roman. “He was looking for a community feel and he saw that in us.”
Roman was 11 and Semion was 18 when their family left Tajikistan for New York in 1999. Tajikistan became an independent nation in 1991 after the breakup of the Soviet Union. “We were in the midst of a political crisis, a fight for power between the religious and secular Tajiks,” Roman said. “It was very difficult, with the constant bombings and shootings. We experienced economic hardship and persecution as Jews. Most of the people we knew left and we were among the last to leave.”
He said the move to the U.S. was a culture shock. “It’s hard enough to be 11 years old but I lost my friends and everything I knew.”
Ultimately it was worth the struggle. “When we got here I was shocked that the schools had current books, computers and warm classrooms. Here I can wear my yarmulke openly. It’s been an amazing opportunity to work hard and do our best.”
The Kikirovs moved to Denver in 2001 because of the climate. “Dushanbe, where we came from, is a sister city with Boulder. Both have mountains and four distinct seasons.”
Roman got a master’s degree in accounting/finance from the University of Colorado Denver. He applies his degree to managing the shop’s books and marketing, as well as cutting hair now and then.
Along with the shop, the brothers run Semion Academy, a training program for hairstylists and barbers. “We want to raise the number of quality professionals in the area,” Roman said. “We learned from people who shared their skills with us, so we want to share our knowledge with everybody. Our goal is not to take these skills to the grave, but pass them on like they were passed on to us.”
For more information or to make an appointment, see semionbarbershop.com or call 303.284.8954.