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Amy Tanksley is a Nashville girl who gave up the corporate life for the world of entrepreneurship as the founder and owner of Uncle Classic Barbershop. As one of the 9 Entrepreneurs of the Year being featured by Nashville Post and their partnership with Nashville’s chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, we’d say the venture is working out nicely for her. Making time for her husband, her two labs and evenings with girlfriends and wine are priorities that keep her grounded and re-energized.  We are proud to claim Amy as one of the FACES of Nashville.

Where are you from?

I am from Omaha, Nebraska.

What brought you here?

I moved to Nashville from Houston, TX, in March 2003 for a job as a risk analyst with Asurion.

Is your background hair or business?

By degree, business (finance specifically). By passion? Always beauty. My dad always advised my sister and me to find work that we loved. I always poured through beauty magazines and my sister played “office” with her cash register. She now works in finance in Chicago. I guess we were listening!

Best piece of advice you can give someone starting a business and the best piece of advice given to you?

Best piece of advice I can give – get help and ask lots of questions (and listen!). Best piece of advice I was given – finish strong. Advice repeated often by my hard working mom.

When did you open Uncle and what inspired you?

Uncle Classic Barbershop opened in Brentwood in October 2008 – a few days (literally) before the stock market went into free fall, and one month before the Presidential election. Not exactly the best timing! However, the lease was signed and the buildout was done and paid for. Opening a barbershop was my husband’s idea; he was frustrated with hair-cutting options for men in the Nashville market and was looking for a better experience. I thought he was crazy!

What do see on the calendar for Uncle in 2012?

Our 3rd location – Uncle Cool Springs – is scheduled to open in October in the Whole Foods-anchored center at McEwen and 65. Tremendously exciting, so never a dull moment. I am forever grateful for my amazing staff. We are a team in every sense of the word, and our growth wouldn’t be possible without their passion for the business.

How do you balance friends, family and work?

Balance? What is that? Just kidding – but it is a challenge every day. When you LOVE what you do it’s hard to draw the line. Spending time with my husband, Kirk, and my dogs is key. We have to make a point to not discuss work all the time.

Where is your favorite place to eat out in Nashville?

I love brunch. Love it. I’m always searching for a new place to find a great breakfast. Right now we spend quite a bit of time at 55 South in Franklin. Best Benedicts anywhere! We also spend quite a bit of time at Chuy’s in Cool Springs. As a University of Texas grad and a lover of all things Austin, I was thrilled when they opened locations in Nashville. A Mexican Martini and creamy jalapeno dip will make any day better.

Is there a Nashville event you are most looking forward to this spring?

Ah – actually looking forward to weekend trips with my college roomie to Charleston (never been) and 2nd annual NYC Met Costume Exhibit trip with my sister. Sometimes I really have to get out of town to relax!

What is one must-have piece of fashion you are looking to add to you wardrobe this season?

Spending way too much time on Etsy looking for the perfect vintage dresses!

Do you have a service or business in Nashville that you rely on and would like to mention?

The patient folks at Costco are always so kind to me.

What books are on your bedside table?

Oh boy – a ginormous stack of magazines always (Vogue, Allure, Vanity Fair), The Girl Who Played with Fire (I’m a bit behind on this series!), and a biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt given to me by a great friend who knows I love history.

Favorite weekly ritual?

My husband’s and my time over coffee with CBS Sunday Morning is definitely the highlight of the week.

Any irrational or rational fears?

Heights. No interest in jumping off or out of things. Not on my bucket list!

Name three things you can’t live without (excluding family, friends or God).

My labs – Remo and Rusty Joe, coffee, and Walgreens

A special thanks to Ashley Hylbert for her gorgeous pictures each week for the FACES of Nashville. For commercial as well as portrait and wedding photography, she is wonderful. For more pictures from today’s featured FACE, click here.

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