avatar

Master Barber Tyrik Jackson, Lays Down: The Good, Bad And Ugly Of Barbering

Tyrik Jackson bills himself as a coach, mentor & educator as well as a barber, showing that he understands what’s needed to keep the industry going as well as to satisfy customers right now. His Instagram page is full of sharp lines and clean fades – the kind of stuff that makes any barber jealous – and he also has built a reputation as the owner of two Sharper Image barber shops in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. More than enough to catch up on when I met with him at the CT Barber Expo earlier this year…

What was your entry into barbering?

“I got into trouble for singing in high school. Part of my punishment was that the principal wanted me to sing in the talent show. He said if I didn’t sing in the talent show, I would be suspended. When I sang that night, there was a gentleman in the audience who stopped me and said you did a dynamic job, can I give you a ride home?

“He gave me a ride and we stopped by his barbershop. I was impressed, I didn’t know any African American males with a successful business. My way of showing gratitude was to go back to the shop and sweep. So I started as a clean-up kid at the shop. Then I ended up going to cosmetology school with my Mum – we went together.”

Wow – that’s a new one on me! How did you end up studying with your Mum?

“It’s an interesting story. I was already cutting in the barbershop as an apprentice, but I knew that I could only get so far so I wanted to enhance my skills. I decided to sign up for cosmetology school – my Mum signed me up and said oh, by the way, I’m starting with you. It actually made our relationship stronger.”

How long were you working for others before you started your own brand?

“I worked at Champs for about eight years. I got my barber licence and then my manager’s licence a year later, and then in about eight years I was running the shops before I branched off to open my own.”

Now you’ve built on that brand enough to have two barbershops up and running: Sharper Image I and Sharper Image II. What experience can customers expect from your shop?

“We utilise technology. People live in their phone, so we decided to put our shop in their phone: we developed an app. So, what you experience when someone first walks in is a technological experience. People are either scheduling from their phone or their signing up to a walk-in list on their phone. This is cool because we can acknowledge them by name. It’s more personal.”

We’re going to get onto your academy in a minute – but first, could you tell us about the podcast you’ve been running?

“It’s more like a videocast – I have a lot of people who listen to it on the way to work. I have a personal app, with close to 60 hours of video content designed to help the business mind of the barber and the apprentice. We’re evolving as an industry, but the mindset for a lot of the barbers is still the same. I’m trying to change that.

“I go live every Tuesday morning at 9.30AM Easter Time, doing a live broadcast from my Instagram page. It’s almost like a Sunday Service, but with live feedback. The app is free, and a lot of tools in there are free, but for the live videos you would subscribe.”

These videos have covered everything from how to take better images when promoting your work, to financial tips, to personal stories of Tyrik’s life – including overcoming a battle with depression. Sometimes the more personal content can really hit home and provide listeners with a much-needed new perspective. Download the Tyrik Jackson app to see it for yourself.

Now, let’s talk about the academy: what’s it called and what makes it different from all the other academies in the area?

“Premier Barber Institute. We’re the only academy that offers financial aid, so the government helps students go to school if they’re eligible. There are a lot of regulations if you want to give financial aid and we have covered all that red tape. They examined us, probed it and said this school is eligible. We don’t have another eligible school within 20 miles of our location.

“The other difference is that our school isn’t confined to four walls. Because I go live and share my content, we are able to connect with people globally. People in different time zones can watch what I do.We’re expanding beyond those four walls.”

I know you’re not into hype, but I dug up some hype on you – which is that you won $25,000 in a barber battle. Tell me about that experience.

“I remember some guy came to visit my shop and said ‘man, what you’re doing is amazing – people need to see this.’ He encouraged me to compete. He said if you compete, it’s a doorway to education. He actually paid for me to compete in a competition. And because of that, my photos got onto the desk of the show coordinator for Bronner Brothers. She contacted me and asked me to compete – I turned it down three times. It’s a huge, Broadway style competition. She said: ‘why won’t you compete?’ I said I just don’t want to compete, I want to do education. She said, ‘don’t you know that I have the largest education of multi-cultural brand in the world? I can put you in those classrooms. But you’d better win.’

“I reviewed some of the previous champions, I committed to it. We did a hospital theme, so I was doing hair and the hair was transforming these people and bringing them back to life, bringing them back to sanity, bringing them back to health. It really was a catalyst and a conduit for my education – it helped launch my career.”

Two quick-fire questions in closing. Firstly, what would you say is really good about the barbering industry right now?

“When I started in 1998, I would go to the shows and barbering was the armpit of the hair industry. I wanted to bridge cosmetology and barbering, so my haircuts were different and unique. What I see now is that people are embracing hair colour and product. It’s what we were trying to do years ago.

“Because of social media, people can see it. It’s happening instantly. It’s a gift, because it’s created a platform for barbers to get paid. But it’s a curse because now a lot of education is just information. Instead of an educational class, it’s ‘let me educate you on how to use our product. It’s a gift and a curse.”

Secondly, what bad things do you think are taking place that could be detrimental to the industry?

“If we don’t elevate the industry then we continue in a perpetual cycle of barbers doing the same old same old. What I think is going to happen is that these companies are going to understand that some of the barbers they’re hiring have fake pages and fake followers and fake information. The smoke and mirrors is getting exposed. At one point you had repost pages that were charging to promote. People aren’t paying any more because you have a lot of pages that are fake. That’s the bad part.”

Thank you to Tyrik for sharing such a wealth of experience through this interview. I know that I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and I hope that everybody reading this does to. Remember that you can follow me on YouTube and Instagram if you want to see more sage advice from industry greats like Tyrik.

avatar

Barber Interview: With Jake Shipwreck Of Riverside Shaving Co

What can I say about Jake Shipwreck? This is a barber who is every bit as cool as he sounds; visit his Instagram page and you’ll find yourself faced with glorious tattoos as well as devastatingly sharp haircuts. More than that, though, Jake is an educator and father – so I had a lot that I wanted to ask him at the CT Barber Expo.

So Jake, could you start by telling me how you first got into barbering?
“I grew up playing music, and I’ve always been a very goal-orientated person: I always knew that I wanted to make a band and pursue that, and I always knew – for whatever reason – that I wanted to be a barber. I put my all into being a front man in a band and getting a record label, touring all over the nation and during that time I had my son.

“For the first couple of months after he was born I was still doing the band thing. Then it came to the point that I needed to make more money. I decided it was time to go to school and just hit the ground running. In barber college I had a gully booked clientele waiting for me – it was the first time I ever touched a pair of clippers. I wasn’t worried about becoming a famous, tattooed Instagram barber. I wanted to be the best barber.”

What would you say your area of speciality is? I know that Layrite approached you to be a sponsored barber because you loved their tools – so what kind of styles do you do and how do they help you achieve them?

“I would definitely say my area of expertise is the traditional style haircut: anything from the 1950s, side parts, pompadours, slicked back. I do like to dabble in some more messy, UK styles: Layrite offer some products that help me do that too.”

And what’s your favourite Layrite product that helps you achieve these looks?

“My favourite haircut to do is a slicked back look, so I would say Layrite Super Hold is my go to. It’s what I use in my hair, definitely my favourite product.”

You seem like you’ve got a fascination with tattoos too. Tell me where that started and where you get your influence from.

“All the men in my family are bikers, completely covered in tattoos – so when I was a kid I just thought that was so badass, that’s what a man looks like. And on the other side is that I’m an extremist: I don’t do anything in moderation. If I have tattoos I want to have the best and the most tattoos. I can’t do anything small.”

Which also explains your loyalty to Layrite – they can pick up your flat-out, all-in attitude.

Yeah. I mean, I’ve got Layrite tattooed on me.”

So, tell me more about where Layrite has taken you and a little bit about your style of education.

“The first thing we did was ISSE, around five years ago. We didn’t have any microphones, we didn’t have anything, just a barber chair on the floor. From there we started doing Chicago, New York, Florida – all the big trade shows. Then they started sending me internationally; we did a Tommy Guns event in British Columbia, a full Japanese tour, talks about doing Australia. They’ve taken me everywhere, but Japan has probably been my favourite.”

And that was spearheaded by Donny Hawley, right? He must have been a huge influence on you…

Donny is in some way or another everybody’s inspiration. He was doing it before it was revamped, before it was cool. You’ve got to give credit where credits due: he’s the OG.”

Now tell me where you see yourself in the future. What’s your ultimate goal?

“It’s not on my radar right now, but the ultimate goal is to have my own barbershops all over: Shipwrecked Barbershop. Maybe set aside the travelling and education for a little while and really hone in on that when I’m ready.”

An exciting next chapter! So as somebody in love with barbering, what are you really loving about the industry right now and what would you like to see change?

“The things I love about barbering: It’s an honest living, I help out my fellow man, they pay me for my service and my time. It’s not overkill, I’m not ripping anybody off. It keeps me an honest man.

“Now, the things that I dislike about barbering right now: These guys that think we’re rock stars, some sort of hip-hop sensation. It’s not a glamorous lifestyle, something that makes you cool. I really don’t like people photoshopping the hair cuts, spray on beards… all that fake stuff. Barbering should be real, it’s honest. Turning something honest into something fake is not all right.”

How do you think that could change?

“I don’t think it could change. I think it needs to phase out. All these barbers doing it for the hype will be phased out.”

So how have you managed to build such an impressive organic following on your own social media?

“I think people like to see that I came from the same area as them. I came from the same hardships and I made something out of it. I mean I grew up dirt-poor, and I figured out how to make money, to travel: I think that’s what people like to see and why people follow me.”

And what words of advice would you give to a young person who wanted to become a full-time professional barber whilst keeping his feet on solid ground

“I would say don’t worry so much about trying to be me or trying to be Donnie Hawley – work on your haircut. Fall in love with hair, work on technique, work on your basic. If you hone in on hair and being a good barber, on putting yourself out there, then sponsors and travelling will follow. Don’t start running before you can walk.”

 

So, barbers who want to follow in Jake’s footsteps should focus on getting to grips with the essentials skills of barbering. You can check out some of the other interviews on the @LarrytheBarberMan YouTube and Instagram pages to see tips from other authentic barbers. Other than that, just keep it real!

 

avatar

Floyd Mayweather: Barber Jackie Starr, Exclusive Interview With Larry The Barber Man

You’ve most likely heard of the phenomenal Jackie Starr as Floyd Mayweather’s personal barber. Of course, the truth is that there’s a lot more to her career than that, and from running two barbershops to helping to pioneer the upcoming Las Vegas Barber Expo, I want to hear that. My last interview with Jackie took place in the back of a 32-foot RV… now let’s sit down in the more professional setting of CT Barber Expo 2018.

 

I know that Jackie can be a huge inspiration to other female barbers in what is still a very male-dominated industry. She starts by telling me about overcoming the challenge of being a female barber:

 

“I overcame my challenges by being confident, and not letting men intimidate me. Believing in my craft and believing in the work that I produced. So, to be honest I never was intimidated because once I gained my confidence in cutting, that right there spoke for all the challenges that came my way. When I started there was no social media – it was more show and tell. Your haircut speaks for itself.”

 

She also overcame the challenge of being a single mother whilst building up a barbering brand. II ask her to tell me more about balancing these two aspects of her life.

 

“Well first of all, you have structure with anything you do. My daughter was 11 when we moved to Las Vegas, and we didn’t know anyone; it was very challenging because she was a latchkey kid. And Vegas will swallow you up if you’re not careful and not strong. I kept a tight rope with my daughter, making sure we had a schedule that worked for me and her. I had to rely on being the best parent I could be considering the circumstances.”

 

Apart from having a healthy relationship with your daughter, you’ve managed to maintain a very healthy relationship with one of the top sports athletes in the world: Floyd Mayweather. How have you managed to do this on a general level, and as a female barber in a male dominated industry and sport?

 

“Good questions. Number one – I knew him since 2001 when I first moved to Vegas. Number two – I respect him, and he respects me. That goes a long way with any relationship: respect has to be one of the priorities of the relationship.

 

“I understand that he is a high-profile athlete and a lot comes with that. So, I make sure I’m focused on what it is he needs, and my life falls into place right after that. I understand him, I respect him and I’m a friend too.”

 

Some people question how much work it really takes to maintain Floyd Mayweather’s bald style and facial hair. It’s public knowledge that this work earns an astronomical fee, but in reality there’s a great deal more to it that simply shaving a head, and Jackie doesn’t feel as though she needs to prove anything anymore:

 

“It goes back to what I was saying: my career was at its peak before social media ever came. I was in Vegas, behind the chair doing my thing for many, many years. So that wasn’t ‘just a bald head’ – I had to do every cut out there. That’s what life is about, everybody wants to reach the top.

 

“God blessed me with being Floyd Mayweather’s barber – who else do I need to cut? After I’m done travelling with him, I have to visit my family, I have to take care of the shops. I don’t have time to cut anyone else. That’s what we work had for, to get to the top.”

 

It might be fair, then, to say that now you’re the artistic director of two barbershops, your haircuts are reflected through your team.

 

“Exactly. I am building a team, and I have barbers in place to produce any haircut that’s needed. So, if I’m out of town and I can’t get to a person who may want me to cut their hair, then at the end of the day as long as they the haircut and it’s under the Iced Out banner, what does it matter?”

 

Tell us a little bit about those two shops then?

 

“My first shop opened August 4th, 2004. That’s been 14 years: so my shops are very successful, very well-established. I opened a second location in 2015. I waited so long because I wanted to make sure that it was what I wanted to do, and that it was running successfully like the first one was. With that being said, I am not there all the time. But I make sure everything is done the way it should be done, and I have a team of excellent guys.”

 

Aside from continuing to work with Floyd, do you have any other big plans for the future?

 

“Yes. For 2018, I’ll be doing the first ever Las Vegas barbering Expo along with Jay Majors. We’re partnering up and we’re bringing the expo to Vegas. I’m also working on a product line, I’m working on apparel: I want to keep on branding Iced Out. After all, blood, swear and tears are behind the name – it’s important to me to keep on showing face and make sure that the industry lives on.”

 

Jackie has found the success that many barbers dream of. I’m very keen to hear how the industry as a whole has accepted that success:

 

“I would say that the industry has accepted me well. I appreciate all the barbers and all the love that I have been getting. The barbering industry has been great to me, accepting me as I am.”

 

What do you intend to do differently with the show that you’re doing in Las Vegas with Jay?

 

“I plan on having something different, but I can’t really speak about it yet! Just know that it’s going down in Las Vegas and it’s going to be an epic event. It has to be: the expo is what’s needed in Vegas. And I’m going to convince Floyd to be there!”

 

Finally, what advice do you have for somebody looking to attract celebrity clients?

 

“Be consistent about what you’re doing and stay focussed. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype. Just worry about yourself and focus on what you’re doing. The minute you turn your focus away, you’re off track. So be consistent and perfect your craft. You want to put out quality work.

 

“And let me say this: there is only one Floyd Mayweather. Meaning, everybody wants to be at the top, but they don’t want to put in the work to be at the top.”

 

Take these words to heart and they will help you build a great career in barbering, creating strong and healthy business relationships and carving out the life you want. It was a pleasure to have Jackie in the interview chair once again – if you want to hear more about her work then head to her Instagram page, @Icedoutbarber. You can also read more about the Las Vegas Expo at LVbarberexpo.com.

 

The best way to improve as a barber is to learn from others who have travelled the same path – that’s why I travel the globe interviewing the best barbers out there. Follow @larrythebarberman on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to see more!

avatar

CT Barber Expo Founder: Jay Majors Rounds Up This Years Event And Introduces The LV Barber Expo

Time to catch up with Jay Majors following the CT Barber Expo 2018. This year’s show was bigger and better than ever before, with better organisation and even more education. So lets hear all about it from the man himself… 

“What stands out more than anything from this particular event was the energy, the love and the passion. I don’t know if you noticed, but there was a younger generation of barbers there: a lot of students and a lot of guys just getting started on the scene. My vendors did phenomenally – I’m really grateful and humbled.” 

I noticed that you had two new stages this year. What was going on there? 

“Education is really important. I started Connecticut Barber Expo as a barber battle, and that was my excuse to get barbers through the door. Barbers are competitive people, and a lot of old school barbers think they don’t need education. I beg to differ – the way that the industry is growing, if you don’t learn you’re getting left behind. So those are there to give free education on the showroom floor. That’s what it’s all about, just cultivating this beautiful brand that I have.” 

Aside from barbering education on the showroom floor, The CT Barber Expo also had a dedicated educational room with 840 seats. This sold out three weeks prior to the show, a testament to just how highly barbers think of the education that’s on offer at Jay’s events. Having a separate educational stage was a great feature, and the structure given to the event made it a really valuable opportunity to barbers. I ask Jay about the overall numbers for the day: 

“We’re still waiting to get counts, but we’re somewhere around 9,000 people in and out throughout the day. I think having Rick Ross there was a big draw. A lot of people wanted to see him, he supports barbers. That was pretty big to have him there.” 

Those big numbers are also part of what makes the show so important for vendors, who can make great profits by attending this show. 

“We had a lot of cosmetologists come out this year. I like to think that my show is a stylist friendly event. The gap between barbering and cosmetology is big. We have BaByliss as one of our main sponsors, and their thing is barberology. That’s the merging of barbering and cosmetology – we’re getting rid of grey hairs, we’re enhancing, and the stylists want to learn how to fade from us. If we grow together, we can learn a lot from one and other.” 

This means that cosmetologists were at the show not just as vendors, but also as attendees who wanted to learn something from the barbers. Jay has found some excellent ways to bring these separate disciplines together, including one of the expo’s highlights – the best of both worlds competition. 

“This was one cosmetologist and one barber competing together on one model. So they had to do some blow-drying or some styling or some pre-colour, and the barbers did the fading and they worked together hand in hand. It was my favourite competition so far.” 

We’ve talked about how well this year’s show went, but I’m already starting to get curious about what could be coming in next year’s show, and whether it’s going to be even bigger and more spectacular. What can you tell us? 

“There’s so much more that I have to improve on as an organiser, but every year it gets better. I always say it takes you three years to learn a venue. This was my third year at this venue: now I know the venue.  

“My biggest thing that makes Connecticut Barber Expo so successful is having it organised before the doors open. And expecting the unexpected: there’s always going to be something that happens, you never know at a live event. So it’s all about being organised.” 

Barbers on the West coast are always asking when they’ll get a barber show of their own. Now I hear that you have something in the pipeline with Jackie Starr – can you tell us more about the Las Vegas Barber Expo?  

“I have a lot of West Coast support and Jackie is a good friend of mine, so I said you know what, let me do something for my West Coast supporters and see where it goes from there. Everything I touch seems to turn to gold thank God – I do everything with passion and I like to think that’s why. Jackie’s a passionate person, so we teamed up and we’re ready to have fun. 

“It’s going to be exactly like a CT Expo, on the West Coast. I don’t think it’ going to be as big the first year or two because it takes some time to grow.” 

But the Las Vegas expo isn’t all that’s new – there are also big plans afoot for next year’s CT show.  

“Next year’s Connecticut Barber Expo will be a two-day event. Saturday night pre-party, Sunday we’re going to do education in the morning themed towards something. That education might be business structure, online booking and maybe fading. Then day two will be shears, styling and more European. Then we’re doing student battles on the Monday.  

“To do a two-day event you need a lot of people there. My numbers were so good this year that I said I could spread it out a little bit. People are flying out to Connecticut, and I just want to keep them one more day and really show them what we do.” 

In closing, tell me some of the practical details about the Las Vegas Expo: when, where and how to buy tickets? 

“It’s going to be on the 30th of September, at Southpoint Casino which is a great family venue with a bowling alley and iMax cinema so definitely a family event. It’s going to be set up just like the CT Expo, so education in the morning, kicking off the battles at 1.30/2 pm. You can buy the tickets at lvbarberexpo.com – competitions, vendors and sponsorships all still available!” 

So a great opportunity to make a day of it with your whole family, and still plenty of time to pick up tickets if you’re keen to get involved. Remember to head to https://www.lvbarberexpo.com/ for more information or to buy your tickets! To keep up to date on all the hottest barbering events, you should also follow me on Instagram and YouTube: just look for LarrytheBarberMan.  

avatar

Hair Clippers: The Ultimate Guide To Powering Any Clipper Any Where In The World Correctly( 240v to 110v)

The objective of this tutorial is to show you how to power your clippers seamlessly in your country. But let’s get started with a quick science lesson to give you the basics of voltage, currents and frequency. With an understanding of these three things, you’ll have the ability to read any label on any clipper and then take the correct action to get that clipper working without any issues.

Voltage: When we want to power clippers in countries across Europe and South America, the voltage supplied will be anywhere between 220V and 240V. All of these voltages are compatible, which means that you can safely and effectively power a 220 or 230v clipper from a 240v socket or visa versa.

Current: In almost all cases, the current that is passed into the clippers is what’s known as an alternating current (AC). This means that the current is passed back and forth from positive to negative and so on. In simpler terms, you can think of it as rapidly turning on and off, multiple times per second.

Frequency: The final element to be aware of is frequency. Frequency is the number of cycles between on and off per second, referred to as hertz. In the UK, the frequency is 50Hz, which means that there are 50 cycles per second. Of course, because the electricity is moving so quickly, it creates the illusion that there is a constant supply of energy. In America, the typical voltage is 120v and the frequency is 60Hz.

 

Now let’s talk about some of the different tools that are available for helping you with powering your clipper. The first is a step down transformer – this takes the voltage from 240 volts down to 110 volts. It delivers a continuous frequency of 50Hertz. The second thing is an adapter which, in simplistic terms, is a plug changer. You use the adapter to ensure that the plug on your clipper fits into the power outlet. There is no voltage change or frequency change taking place.

The final device is the frequency 60Hz converter. This device takes the voltage down from 220-240v to 110-120v and lifts the frequency from 50Hz to 60Hz. That allows your clippers to run seamlessly. With these three devices, you can power more or less any hair clipper from anywhere in the world. To show you how, I’m going to talk you through a range of different popular tools.

 

Andis Pro Alloy

Let’s start simply with the Andis Pro Alloy, a UK hair clipper. First and foremost, you’ll want to turn it over and check the specifications: this requires 230 volts and 50Hz. As I mentioned before, all voltage outputs between 220 and 240 will be fine. This means that you can simply plug the clipper in and go.

 

Wahl Super Taper

Slightly more complicated is powering the European version of the Wahl Super Taper. Once again, check the specifications – again, this shows that you’ll need 230 volts and 50Hz. The only complication here is the fact that it has a European plug, which won’t go into a UK power outlet. This means that we’ll need the adapter – and you should be able to buy an adapter for whatever type of socket used in your own country when necessary.

 

Andis Fade Master

With the Andis Fade Master things are slightly different: checking the specifications I can see that this clipper needs 120 volts of power with a 60Hz cycle. This means that we need to take the voltage down to stop the clipper from blowing up whilst also, ideally, bringing the frequency up.

One option would be to use the standard transformer. This will bring the voltage down, whilst still giving a 50Hz frequency. But if you do that, you’re going to hear a terrible noise coming from your clipper – check out the video to see exactly what I mean. That’s because the Fade Master has a magnetic motor, making it entirely dependent on receiving the right frequency. The alternative is to use the Frequency 60Hz converter. This will take the voltage down to 120, whilst also lifting the frequency, causing the Fade Master to run nice and smoothly, just as if you were running it from America: check out the video to see the difference for yourself!

 

Cordless Trimmers and Clippers

When you’re powering cordless clippers, things are slightly different. The first thing to be aware of is the fact that cordless clippers are not frequency dependent. However, you still need to be careful to ensure that you are powering them correctly.

With a Wahl Cordless Clipper, you have a strict power requirement of 120 volts. This means that you need to use a standard transformer to bring the voltage down – you can buy one which also acts as a UK to US adapter. This will charge the clipper without risk of it blowing up.

With an Andis Cordless Trimmer such as the Slimline Pro Li, the label tells you that it can run on a power supply with 100-240 volts on 50 or 60Hz. This is great because it means that you can run it successfully on any power supply across the world so long as you have the correct plug adapter. It’s also perfectly fine to still use the transformer if this is the only adapter that you have. Again, that will allow you to charge you Slimline Pro Li safely and effectively.

 

I hope you found this demonstration helpful! If you do have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch. The most important thing is that, now you can read the clipper’s label clearly yourself, you’ll be able to understand what any clipper’s power requirements are.

You can also take a look at this older video if you’d like to understand more about why some US clippers make that terrible racket when not powered correctly – and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for even more great tips.

 

avatar

Barber: Brandi Lashay A.K.A the Original Barber Doll, Talks Barbering (JRL Hair Clipper Educator)

When I headed to the CT Barber Expo in April, one barber I got the chance to catch up with was Brandi Lashay. Brandi is a platform artist, session stylist & brand ambassador for the JRL clipper company. When I met up with her she’d already been hard at work, but she told me she wanted to keep going until the very end!

I wanted to share Brandi’s barbering story with the world, so I asked her to tell me the great story of how it all got started.

“It starts off with being in high school with my high school sweetheart. One of my close friends asked me Brandi, who is your boyfriend? I showed her in the hallway and she said ‘oh my god he is ugly! He doesn’t cut his hair!’

“Now, my Mum wore a short haircut at the time, and always kept a pair of clippers underneath the sink. I used to steal the clippers and go and cut my boyfriend’s hair at 14-years-old, to keep him looking nice. And it developed into a full-blown career. I didn’t want anybody to think Jason was ugly, I loved him! I wanted them to see him how I saw him. And I enjoy it to this day.”

How did it all progress from there?

“It was happening often enough to where his friends would come around and ask me if they could get their haircut. I began to do it so much that I would say ‘Hey, this isn’t fair, I should be getting paid.’ I charged them $5 a head, and that was a lot of money to me. And I was the oldest of four girls, my Mum was a single parent and I brought money home to the house so I could food in the refrigerator. We were living in poverty – it made a big difference.

“As soon as I graduated from high school I went straight to barber school. I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I wanted to learn everything I was missing and catch every technique. I was fascinated with the art and I wanted more. And I’m still in love with it to this day because of how it makes other people feel.”

Okay, now tell me a little bit about your first barbershop.

“It was right next to the school I went to. There were three chairs and two guys in there and they were amazing: they were the Superman and Batman of the city. On our lunch break we would walk past the barbershop and just sort of say ‘there’s another chair in there!’

“The owner came up to me one day while I was out there eating my lunch and he said to me are you a cosmetologist or a barber? I was so proud: it was the first time I got to tell somebody that I was a barber! He said come in here and cut some hair – go get someone, bring them over here and let me see what you can do.

“I worked hard on that fade, I’ve never sweated so much. But it came out pretty amazing and he gave me the chair. That was my barber family for the next 7 years.”

Your talent has definitely been recognised, as proven by the fact that you’ve worked as a session stylist from some huge household names. Who are some of the stars you’ve worked with?

“I’ve done quite a bit of work and along the way I’ve been able to work for Stevie Wonder; I’ve been able to work for Teddy Riley. He’s one of my favourites because we’re able to talk about Michael Jackson – he tells me all these Michael Jackson stories. I’ve worked for Empire, Tyler Perry’s House of Pain and Meet the Browns… R&B singer Tank. The list is long! But it doesn’t feel like that, because they make you family. I could not have imagined that when I was 14 and we were having to split a 6-inch subway sandwich into fours. Barbering is amazing!”

Now let’s talk about the JRL gig. I don’t believe you’d be supporting them if you weren’t passionate about them! So how did you get the job, and why do you think they’re so great?

“I was approached by JRL a few times and I just wasn’t catching the emails. One day I got a phone call saying, ‘I know you’re probably very busy, but we’d love to have you on the team.’ I said, ‘who is this?’ It was one of the team members – Jordan – and she said, ‘as a woman I see you, I see you grinding, and I’d love to have other people see your story.’

“The package came and my daughter said, ‘Mum! It’s digital! It’s a smart clipper, like a smartphone.’ I was genuinely happy, I called Jordan back immediately. When I found out about the technology on the clipper I was sold, it didn’t take any time. It makes barbering easy.”

Your job for JRL is education. Could you explain what it is that you specialise in, and what people could gain by following what you teach?

“I show other barbers how to create clean lines. I am really big on clean line work, clean design lines. I believe it can be achieved by paying attention to the art around you. A lot of people ask me where I get my inspiration from with design work and I tell them tyres. I pay attention to tyre treads, because I didn’t recognise that they vary so much. I’m from LA so I’m really into jeeps. When I started looking at the tyres, the tread had so many different angles, I thought that would look really cool on the side of someone’s head.”

You’ve got a tour coming up: Master the Art Barber Seminar. Tell us about that!

“The class can change literally because of who is sitting in the chair, the model I’ve chosen. It’s not about just having the best-looking model, it’s about making sure you understand what to do with this person’s face. I understand art – how to make someone look like art. And that’s what I teach.”

This is so important. Because I’ve seen barbers try to copy a haircut from a magazine without taking into account the different shape of a person’s face – take a mohawk for instance, the sides may need to be lower depending on the face structure.

“Exactly! Let’s think about you, not the image that you’re pointing at.”

Finally, what would be your parting words to an up and coming barber who wanted to excel to dizzy heights, like you have?

“When I think about talking to my younger self, I would say continue to be honest. I was honest when my pictures didn’t look like other people’s pictures on social media. It’s about saying ‘I’m not there yet’, and being okay with saying that. Because that will lead you to someone who can help you grow. Open up, be vulnerable. Be willing to take a fall: you’ll bleed a couple of times, you’ll cry a couple of times and you’ll think no-one understands.

Then build your platform. Humans are natural carpenters, so build your platform, climb on top of it and then show someone else how to build a platform that can hold them up. I just want to encourage people to keep going.”

 

Now it’s time to sit up and listen – I really hope that every barber reading this pays attention to Brandi’s extremely intelligent advice. I strongly recommend following Brandi’s work on Instagram, @theoriginalbarberdoll, to see some of the most mesmerising patterns around. While you’re there, hop over to @LarrytheBarberMan if you’d like to follow my interviews, as well as the other barbering tricks that I put out on a regular basis.

 

avatar

Cordless Hair Clippers: How to Increase The Battery Life Span

How to prolong the life of your lithium clipper batteries 

Sometimes it seems like while the price of clippers keeps rising, the battery life only gets shorter and shorter. This can be a frustrating challenge for any barber – but it’s also a challenge that can be easily overcome once you know a couple of simple tips that will give you maximum performance from your new clippers. 

Don’t forget, these facts apply to lithium batteries – so if you’re not sure how your clipper is powered then double check to make sure that they apply to you. 

 

Fact 1 – Give your clipper five times the battery life 

Never allow the battery to run down all the way to zero (or virtually zero.) Instead, you should aim to plug your clipper into the charger as soon as it reaches 70% battery. This will give the clipper five times the battery length when compared to charging carelessly or randomly. 

 

Fact 2 – Get more run time from your fully-charged clipper 

Keep your clippers cool: exposure to excessive heat is known to reduce the run time of the lithium battery. This is because the chemical reaction of a battery running low will occur far more quickly if the tool is also exposed to heat. So, ideally, please store your clippers away from direct sunlight or radiators in a nice cool spot. 

 

If you found this helpful, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, as that’s where you’ll find more how to tips to help you get the most from your clippers. You’ll also find me as @LarrytheBarberMan on Instagram and Facebook – follow me and get in touch to let me know what tips you’d like to see next!  

avatar

Barber Connect Russia – Boss, Kristina Shares Her Vision For The 2018 Convention

The founder of Barber Connect Russia, Kristina Murtuzalieva has crashed into the barbering industry in a big way, making her mark with a show that must have exceeded all expectations! I met up with her to find out what she’s got planned for the next convention – but first, let’s hear about the inspiration and motivation behind her first show.

“I think it’s to do with travelling to be honest. Travelling gives you the ideas, the contacts, the inspiration. Before I even opened my first barbershop I travelled a lot, I visited many shows and I had the inspiration to go into a male industry. And that’s how I got the idea of entering the barber industry in Russia – which wasn’t very big at that time.

“To be honest, we didn’t really think our show was so big until I started visiting other shows. And then I realised that it was a little different from everything I’ve seen so far. We had our first barber con last year and some of the barbers were saying Kristina you should be proud of yourself. I just thought I was doing a small thing.”

Russian barbering isn’t something that we often get to discuss on this show, so I’m very keen to find out where Russian barbers get their inspiration from.

“To be honest, before I had my show – 2, 3 months before – I had no idea who the celebrities of the barbering industry were, or what the shows in America were. I didn’t even know the CT Expo existed. I just thought it was my own thing. So, I just picked randomly.”

The expo actually featured 24 barbers from across the world, including Julius Caesar, Donny and Diego. I asked Kristina what influence these international barbers have on the Russian barbers attending the show.

“I have no idea! That’s the thing, I don’t depend on the opinion that anyone has on how the barbering industry in Russia works, who the good or bad barbers are, anything like that. We just do our own thing.”

Some of the more spectacular elements of the Russian con included their decision to collaborate with a custom car convention, as well as performances from some of Russia’s biggest rap stars. Kristina told me more about these special finishing touches.

“There was a custom car convention in Russia, and as soon as they found out that we were doing a show they wanted to take part. They brought retro cars from all over Russia, and some bikes as well, and we had some car races in the convention centre!

“We actually had three, very famous rap stars. One of them was from Black Star label, some of the guys may know from around the world. Two of them were older generation but very popular. So we had them to close the show – two on one day and one on the other day.”

It seems like there’s a lot to live up to, so I have to ask… What’s planned to help make next year just as exciting?

“Next year is going to be very different. We actually have two shows planned – a barber show, and a tattoo show. We have invited 7 world famous tattoo artists from America, from Japan, Spain, Mexico… Some of them have a four-year waiting list. Very, very good.”

 

This should excite quite a lot of barbers, since the two industries have become so integrated in recent years. It’s also a great opportunity for vendors – Kristina tells me that they had around 12,000 barbers attending last year from across the world. This means that you could look forward to a lot of benefits if you decided to exhibit as part of the show.

“First of all, you’ve got quick sales – you can sell as much as you bring with you. Second, if you are a new brand in Russia and you don’t have a distributor then you can easily fin one there. It’s a very good opportunity – one of those events where you can get your product noticed very quickly. We also provide translators for every international vendor that we have. Last year we had people from Indonesia, Mexico, Japan and Spain and we found them interpreters.”

There are also some exciting changes being made in terms of education, with more learning opportunities available.

“Last year, we only had barbers on the main stage. This year we’re doing classes. So, you can see one barber perform on the main stage, and then you could see them, or another barber, in a class which might go on two or three hours.”

This means that there will be even more opportunities So now for the most important details of all: how does a barber get ahead of the game and grab tickets for what’s sure to be a fascinating show?

“There are three options. We have an office in central Moscow; you can come and buy the tickets there. You can find us online on our website, and then obviously Instagram (@barberconmoscow).”

Thank you once again to Kristina, for explaining how she’s made her show that little bit extra special. Don’t forget to check it out online if you think you might be interested in reaching out to the Russian barbering audience, or if you’d like to see one of the most extravagant barbering shows for yourself. To keep up to date with all the latest industry updates, and make sure that you don’t miss out on interviews with great innovators like Kristina, make sure you’re following @LarrytheBarberMan on YouTube and Instagram.

 

avatar

Quartered Steel, Owner Dan Wild, Talks Scissor Precision & Barbershop Success

Dan Wild is the brain behind Quarter West barbershop in Belfast, as well as the Quartered Steel scissors brand that many barbers now swear by. He welcomes me to Ireland and agrees to tell me more about his brand: “Our motto is essentially precision is everything. We try to make tools that are practical, that are functional, and that are easy for people to use.”  

Dan actually started out as an engineer, building bridges for a living, before eventually finding his way into barbering. So how did that come about? 

“The recession sort of kicked it all off to be fair. I decided to retrain, I retrained about 7 or 8 years ago and I wanted something that was a great sort of social event as well. Because when you work on building sites all your life you tend to find that you love being around fellas and it’s great crack, and you want something that sort of echoes that: barbershops are fantastic for that.” 

After that, he retrained with his friend Peter – after about a year, he decided to open a shop. Renting a space in a tattoo parlour ad naming it ‘Dapper Dan’, he started on the adventure that would eventually lead to rebranding as Quarter West. Now, they’ve been going five years.  

“This year alone we’ve had 738 new customers, our business is going from strength to strength. Within another 3-4 months we’ll be opening a shop in Belfast city centre. Hopefully that will be based where all the students are. So that’s how I started and where we are now.” 

Growing the business with Booksy 

One of Dan’s secret weapons for growing the business is the excellent bookings and marketing tool, Booksy.  

“Booksy is great for marketing to your clients. You can send emails out, push messages, SMS – so we would send messages out saying recommend a friend you get 10% of your haircut or something like that. So, we use that for marketing. It’s fantastic because there’ll always be the customers who will forget to get their hair cut. You can find your slipping away customers – we found that we had 200 clients who hadn’t been in in a two-week period. And normally they’re on three-week rotations.  

“You can just send a message. As a tool it’s one of the best in the industry, if not the best in the industry. You’ve now got where you can book with Instagram, so there’s a book now button that integrates with Booksy. It’s been fantastic for us.” 

Of course, Booksy alone can’t create repeat business! Dan explains how Quartered Steel have honed their cutting style.  

“We tend to do a lot of classic styling. Because our demographic tends to be mostly office staff, so it’s real classic cuts. Nice, easy styles – styles that guys can just get up in the morning and just style. We don’t tend to get a great deal of the skin fades – we do a good bit of it, but not a great deal. And that’s probably why we’ve been nominated for male grooming salon of the year, because we are a male grooming salon rather than a chop shop barbershop.” 

Let’s talk scissors.  

“When I first started I was using probably the worst tools available. Because you think scissors are just scissors. And I could sort of sense that there must be better out there. Then we started visiting the likes of Salon International – me and Andrew, my business partner – we looked at all these different brands and there’d be 500 different pairs of scissors that basically all did the same thing. I thought this can’t be right, there’s got to be a functional side to this.  

“So that’s when we decided that we’d start travelling over to Japan and Korea and China trying to find manufacturers who would make what we wanted to make but would also make it functional and easy to use. We found loads of manufacturers. Not all of them were fantastic, but some were brilliant, and we set our hearts on the ones that we work with now.” 

With big name barbers like Danny Robinson and Adie Phelan testing their products and giving them feedback, it’s no wonder that they’ve been it’s no wonder that they’ve been able to develop such an excellent range. In fact, they’ve managed to have no returns in two and a half years – quite a feat!  

“If you buy a second-hand pair of scissors then what you’re buying is somebody else’s problem. That’s why we looked into leasing. Leasing is fantastic because it’s tax deductible. As long as you’re making the payment every month, at the end of the year we’ll give you a statement that you can give to HMRC and offset it against tax. 

“Leasing makes it affordable for every single barber or hairdresser out there. If they come to us and say I’d love a pair of your scissors but I can’t afford it we’ll say okay, but can you afford £25 per month.” 

They offer a 3-year maintained programme, which includes servicing the scissors to ensure that they stay sharp all year around. If you want to get involved, then you can head to Quartered Steels for Life on Instagram or quarteredsteels.com; they’ve got all the information you need to lease (although you can also buy direct)! Fill in your and you’ll get the information back in a couple of days.  

You can also head to larrythebarberman.com, or find Larry the Barber Man on Instagram or Facebook, if you want to see more great interviews with fascinating barbers like Dan. It’s also a great way to catch up on all the best barbering tips and tricks to make sure you’re top of your game.  

 

 

avatar

Benny Machado : Wahl Online Barber Battle Winner 2017, Shares His Story & Great Advice

Earning a spot on Wahl’s Education and Artistic Team is a great achievement for any barber, so when Benny Machado saw the opportunity to win his spot by taking part in their online barber battle, he knew he had to give it a shot:

“I had been cutting hair for seventeen years and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to not only use my experience but to try and get into educating. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to in my career.”

The outcome? Benny emerged victorious from the contest – third time lucky, as he’d managed to scoop second place in two previous battles before this one. So how did it all work?

Well, Benny actually spotted the competition on Instagram, where Wahl were calling for barbers to show off their skills by submitting three videos: one fade, one pompadour and one creative cut. Benny explains how he managed to create the shots – from choosing the model to getting the design just right:

“Fades and pompadours are very common but there weren’t too many willing models for the creative cut I wanted to achieve. I noticed a lady while I was eating at a restaurant and managed to convince her to model for me. I really wanted to do something different. I looked to Google for inspiration and noticed some flowers, hibiscus, in fact. I incorporated that design onto her hair and my first attempt worked out!

“We recorded the videos with such anticipation but the filming, editing and having to travel for work in the shop in between was really tough but it paid off. I was exhausted but it paid off. Choose your canvas, create the right design on the right model. Preparation is key and let your personality shine through. The clippers do the work, the metal is always stronger than hair. Let the tools do their job.”

The one part of the process that Benny couldn’t prepare for was actually finding out that he had won! The Wahl Education and Artistic Team sent Rick Morin (Flawless Barbershop) along to Benny’s shop – Executive Barber – under the pretence of wanting an out-of-hours haircut. When he arrived, though, he had a full camera team by his side. “I had no idea, I really just thought I was working late to cut a client for $100!”

 

So how has life changed for Benny since winning this prestigious award? Life has certainly got busier, and now he’s rushed off his feet responding to all of the emails and social media messages from people who want to benefit from a little of his expertise. Alongside this, there’s the new educational side to his career, and he has plans to keep growing into his new role. After all, as he tells us, it’s challenging yourself that keeps your work fresh:

“I chose to take part in order to challenge myself. I was completely out of my comfort zone and that is what makes you grow. That pushes you to be better. It was very challenging. I was nervous making my stage debut but if we don’t face our fears, we can’t grow. Ultimately that’s what I’m doing here, pushing myself. It’s scary but exciting and without that feeling people get complacent.”

The other big change is the introduction of exclusively Wahl tools into his shop. ““I had other brands in the shop before I won the contest but now we are solely Wahl. I don’t think I’ll ever buy another set of clippers. I look for power, reliability and speed for the haircut I want to execute.” And is there one clipper that stands out above the rest? “If I want to snip a lot of hair in one shot, I go for Wahl’s Legend clipper. I mostly use that alongside the Wahl Detailer trimmer. With these two tools I can create anything.”

But Benny’s success hasn’t been all about boosting his own profile – he also wants to see other barbers challenge themselves and raise their game. One way of doing so is to join Wahl’s new Wahl Professional Ambassador Program. It gives you early access to new products, news and special deals, as well as useful industry insights. We also recommend looking for @mr_executive_barber on Instagram and Facebook if you want to follow Benny’s work and see what one Virginia barber can create with a pair of Wahl clippers.

“My dad bought me my very first pair of clippers when I was a teenager. They were Wahl and it led me to where I am now. Dad always wanted me to be a barber. Now, as a Wahl educator, I want to grow and become the best I can be.”