Founder’s Story

This is our founder. This is his story.

Every great story has a powerful beginning, and ours starts with Andrew. 

Let us begin this story by telling you where he is today: Andrew is on a mission to save the lives of African American men by addressing chronic health conditions through no other than their trusted barbers and barbershops. This seemingly simple idea is growing rapidly into becoming its own movement. 

It takes ordinary people, who go through adversities in life, to do extraordinary work, and leave a mark on this world. As a boy growing up on the south side of Chicago, Andrew Suggs found himself missing the guiding light during his formative years, as his father, who was struggling with addiction and imprisonment, was not able to help his boy become a man.

Missing out on the crucial conversations that every young man needs, Andrew started seeking out new outlets, and soon realized that while he didn’t have a father figure to rely on, he had a strong community to lean into. His family, his church, and local barbershop (which he affectionately refers to as the “Black Man’s Country Club”) became the three main pillars in helping him lay down the foundations for his life. 

Early on, he recognized that the barbershop was a unique social space where men came together to open up and be honest with one another in a safe space. This was an opportunity to receive mentorship, encouragement, and empowerment. It was a place of escape, a place of knowledge, and a place to have those crucial conversations that Andrew needed the most.
Once his father was released from prison, they began to build on their relationship, but shortly after, his father was diagnosed with a heart condition — had he received early screening and treatment, could this condition have been prevented? While doing research, Andrew learned about the alarming gap in the life expectancy of African American men and the general population. Reports showed that these men would die approximately five years earlier and had 45% higher cases of hypertension overall. The simple reason to these unsettling figures was the distrust these men felt towards the traditional healthcare system, and subsequently the lack of preventative screenings and treatments. 

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is the highest form of research.” This simple phrase embraces the idea that in order to make change, people need to see beyond the evident to find new solutions. Andrew felt a spiritual pull to be part of something greater than him, and decided to harness the power of the importance of human ties found in a barbershop to put accessible and affordable health service screening in the hands of every African American man. Thus, Live Chair, Inc was born. 

It’s the simplest ideas that yield the greatest results. Andrew’s foundation equipped barbers with blood pressure monitors and information provided by medical partners, and simply using the trusted environment of the barbershop, allowed for preventative care and crucial conversations to be introduced to save lives. Andrew’s passionate drive to make a difference in these men’s lives, is a call to action for anyone who has ever dreamed of being part of something that can change the world. While he is on a mission to make a difference locally, his ambition will end up making a difference globally. 

The recent loss of his own father in 2020 has made Andrew’s passion for this cause grow even stronger, and is set on elevating barbers into becoming not only leaders in their community but also lifesavers for those who sit in their chairs. He’s on the path to reach men and save lives in the most unexpected of ways. A successful salesman for a major sports franchise and a Fortune 100 company, an MBA graduate, an activist, a husband, a father and a son, Andrew is the embodiment of a seemingly ordinary man with extraordinary drive who is becoming a modern-day hero in his community.