The 39-year-old East Hartford native is the creator of the Connecticut Barber Expo, the largest event of its kind in the world. Started in 2011 at the old Sin City nightclub in Waterbury with 650 people and one sponsor, the annual expo will take over the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford for the fourth year May 18-20.
Thousands will be in attendance amid a sea of barber battles, beauty and wellness vendors, and educational seminars. Raposo calls it a lifestyle event. “A lot of trends start in the barbershop,” he says.
A self-described “knucklehead” growing up, Raposo ran with gangs and had run-ins with the law. While incarcerated for three years, he says he pretended to be a barber for commissary and ended up honing his skills. The jail’s resource officer helped get him a Pell Grant to attend cosmetology and barber school upon his release.
He graduated, got his barber’s license, left the street life alone, built up his clientele, and has been clean going on 15 years. One of those clients happened to be developing a strip mall in West Haven and set Raposo up with the future location of Major League Barbershop. “I just grew into this role as a productive member of society,” Raposo says.
A 3,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in East Haven, Major League Barber Academy, came next. Raposo says he’s proud to not only be providing jobs, but creating new business owners.
“I water the tree that bears the most fruit. At this time it’s the Connecticut Barber Expo. My shops runs themselves, for the most part. I have great management. I stepped away from the chair about six years ago because I lose money when I’m cutting hair.”
Connecticut Barber Expo
Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford