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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.  

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!  

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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.

 

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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.  

 

 

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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.”

 

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I interviewed Adrian Ward and Stefan Batory to find out more about the Booksy app, which already has 2 million people using it, and only seems to be growing. Stefan is the CEO of Booksy, and Adie is the VP of their ambassador programme – I catch up with them to find out more about the service they offered.

First of all, Adie tells me about the ambassadors that they’ve been recruiting and the work they’re doing worldwide:

“We find that most of our ambassadors come from guys and girls who have been using the product and are passionate about the product. They want to reach out and get involved and be more proactive with the company. So that’s pretty much what I do – I put people together and get them excited.”

What are you looking for specifically from barbers who want to get involved?

“It varies from nail techs to stylists to barbers – it’s not just in the barbering industry, it’s all over. When we’re looking to get them involved it’s really their passion for the product and how proactive they want to be.”

I’ve seen adverts on social media saying that Booksy can increase business by average of 20% – some people have seen an increase of as much as 40%. I ask Adie how this can be the case?

“It varies from merchant to merchant, but I think it’s the mere fact that they get focused and have more time for pampering their clients. This is very powerful for them. It’s about being more efficient with how they manage their customers – and because their customers can book 24/7, they find that the repeat business and the regular business grows.”

 

One concern that I have heard from some potential Booksy customers is the worry that using the service might cause their tax bills to rise, since the authorities will be checking details in the app. I ask Stefan to explain why this concern is a misguided one:

“First of all, I’ve never heard of authorities coming after Booksy merchants by checking the book against their financial statements. It’s a myth, no-one really checks that. But even if they did, I still believe that increase in revenue would be higher than the additional taxes. The benefit just outweighs the downside. When customers can book with you 24 hours seven days a week and the hassle is taken out of the process they simply become more frequent.”

Say you’re a business that wanted to sell your company, what difference would Booksy make?

“When you’re a company, Booksy helps you to understand what your best performing services are and who your best performing barbers are. How much money you make on specific services and products. By understanding your business better, you can make better business decisions. You can hire people before you run out of capacity. There are situations where we’ve heard from businesses that they have grown from two or three barbers to ten or even a dozen in just 12-18 months. So Booksy allows them to grow their business more efficiently.”

Adie adds that “The statistics don’t lie. Any investor will be interested in investing in a business if they can see the results.”

I also ask Stefan to explain the different analytics that Booksy makes available, a great tool for measuring your business performance.

“Booksy has pretty sophisticated business analytics, so basically you can use it to take the hassle out of running the business when it comes to day-to-day operations. If you need a monthly statement for your accountant or an investor, you can print it out and show them exactly how your business is doing. And it’s instant – you can see the high level KPIs or email yourself an excel spreadsheet.”

 

Booksy is a clearly an excellent service, but if you still need convincing then you might find it interesting to hear about some of the latest additions. It has recently integrated with certain Google services to help with bookings, and also has an integration with Yelp which will be particularly helpful for barbers in North America. There’s even an integration with Instagram on the way, which will let your customers book whilst they’re browsing your latest cuts! And if all that’s not enough, they’re also adding one of my

Recent additions/coming soon: – Recently integrated with Google reserve, and one with Yelp which is particularly important for North American companies. Now also finishing integrating with Instagram, so there will be a seamless integration for barbers who want to use Instagram for booking. And one feature that I find particularly exciting is the new waitlist, which is currently being finalised. This will give clients the ability to join a waitlist during busy periods, filling in appointments if another client drops out.

Aside from these excellent new product features, I ask Adie what’s new on his side of the company.

“We have seen a very high organic growth, and that’s just lovely to have. That’s very encouraging. We’re conscious of the fact that we need to have more professional videos, and to really bring our merchants together. So, we’re working on some very exciting ideas and how we can make it easy for merchants to do videos and upload it onto our system. A great idea that our technical people are working on at the moment is to allow customers to do short video reviews. Exciting things are coming.”

And what about moving into new countries?

“We’ve got Brazil and Columbia, we launched in Spain at the end of last year. We’re constantly rolling out into new markets. This year we’ll also be going to a lot of conferences and shows.”

 

One final question, then, to both Adie and Stefan: Why would you say that Booksy is the very best?

Stefan: “I think there are three reasons for that. The first one is that it’s the easiest booking app that’s out there, both for merchants and for clients. So, the ease of use. The second one is that we have great customer success teams helping our customers 24 hours, 7 days a week and nobody has that level of support for their clients. The third one is that we have people like Adrian who just make Booksy feel like a family. This is the love and passion that we are all sharing.”

Adrian: “To repeat really what Stefan just said. I mean, we just had an interview with a chap in North Carolina. He’d been using Booksy 6 months and he said “I don’t have to work when I go home anymore. He said it’s saved my marriage! So, we find that it’s been a massive game-changer for the customers. We have a saying: it’s all about service first and we make our money afterwards.”

 

Interested in making life easier by using Booksy? Head to booksy.com to find out more about how it works and decide whether it could work for you. I’ve certainly seen the results, for everyone from barbers to beauticians, so I would recommend checking it out if you’re in this type of industry. You could also benefit from looking at the Larry the Barber Man Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels, where there’s loads of great information from other barbering professionals.

Click here to try booksy for yourself: http://www.ihave2have.it

 

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Adee Phelan: Celebrity Hairstylist, Tells His Story During Sknhead Product Line Photo Shoot

Today I’m bringing you an interview with one of the superstars of British barbering, and a man who needs no introduction: Adee Phelan. From starring on TV Show The Salon, to cutting David Beckham’s most infamous haircut, Adee has certainly left his mark on the industry.

I visited his SKNHEAD shoot in March to hear his story. So, Adee, what are we doing today?

“It’s my new luxury men’s range, called SKNHEAD. The concept came about 17 years ago, and I’ve waited and waited – I know it seems a long time – but if you’re bringing out a new range it needs to have products with unique selling points. Products that haven’t been done before.

“One of the products is actually called the game changer, and it’s a product that can be used as a moisturiser on your face and body, or as a hair styling product. The concept came about many, many years ago – when I had hair, believe it or not. I went to the Men’s British Hairdresser of the year awards, and I used to use this stuff called Coconut Butter: I’d put it all over my body and then run it through my hair. So, I wondered if it was possible to create a product that was light enough as a moisturiser but heavy enough to be a hair product.”

Achieving this has taken years of preparation and perfection: I’m sure that it’s something a lot of you will be keen to try out. The full range will include sea salt sprays, serums, clays, pomades… everything that you might expect from a unique luxury range.

On the day that I catch up with Adee he’s excited to be shooting the content that will surround the launch of his new brand. This includes behind the scenes footage and a huge range of different hairdressing looks on a diverse group of models.

“The thing about the modern barbering world is that you need to be able to do more than a fade. To make yourself an accomplished hairdresser or barber, you really need to know the fundamentals of hair cutting. Some of these young cats I see now dropping in these fades are amazing – but there’s always still a lot of foundation that needs to be done.

“I’ve tried to bring out a range of fundamentally barbering products that can also drop into the hairdressing world”.

 

So, for younger barbers who don’t know your story, you started back in 1999 – what stirred you, what motivated you to get into hairdressing?

“Long story short, I moved from Manchester to Southend-on-Sea and ended up not doing so well: I was basically sleeping rough for about 4 months. Then I got introduced to a really cool hairdresser called Lee Stafford, and I ended up designing his salon, The House That Hair Built.

“I went with Lee to the Men’s British Hairdresser’s of the Year awards in 1999 where he won British Hairdresser of the Year. On the way back in the car he said I’m going to get you a pair of scissors, teach you to cut hair and in a couple of years’ time you’ll be on the stage. Two years to the day, I was picking up that same award.”

Adee describes it as a sort of “rough boot camp”, where there was no room for mistakes – if he messed up a haircut then his mentors made sure he knew about it. But this – alongside the professional courses he took any time he had the cash – gave him the solid skills he needed to start experimenting further.

“There are a thousand ways of designing a house, but there’s only one way of building it: good foundations. I learnt the art of good foundations. And then I won Men’s British Hairdresser of the Year and my life changed. 9-months later I had the opportunity to work with David Beckham.”

 

While Adee’s career has clearly been built on his own hard work and talent, I think it’s fair to say that creating that haircut for David Beckham – the World Cup mohawk which everybody reading this should be familiar with – helped him push his career to the next level.

“It was everywhere. That haircut just became the most iconic haircut of the past 20 years. And then I had the opportunity to win all these awards and from there on it was just like I had the wind in my sails.”

And that wind took Adee to the heights of a hairdressing/barbering career: he’s had the opportunity to work on TV shows, to cut hair for many different celebrity clients, and to really build a personal brand within the industry. But aside from all this hairdressing glory, I’m also interested in his role as an educator.

 

Prior to you doing the TV shows and the celebrity style consulting, you were actually a prolific educator. It was said that, at one show, you mad 36 appearances: tell us about that.

“I got right into the helm of education. I think I did about 1500 seminars in six years. I was at Salon International working for five different brands: I hold the record, I did 39 shows in 3 days, haircuts to music. And I took that concept to America and it was brilliant: I wanted to bring something fresh to it; when you get to that level of talent you can’t be telling people how to suck eggs.

“BaByliss supported me the whole way, and then other brands took on this new approach of haircutting. Lots of technique, lots of foundation but doing it in this very freehand, visual, quick way.”

The big brands were happy to get behind Adee’s new way of doing things – BaByliss even went ahead and gave him a range of electrical goods. Barbers reading this are sure to be envious, and in many ways he has achieved the barbering dream. But there have also been some drawbacks:

“Business started to take over. I was watching these cool cats half my age on stage and thinking I need to get back to the drawing board: these guys are making me look silly here. So for the past few years I’ve just been working on new cuts, new techniques and I’m about to get back on the road and go back to where it all started.”

 

So, Larry the Barberman goes out to all of the barbering community. Will SKNHEAD products be a range that those barbers can actually retail?

“Yes. It will go online and go into shops like Selfridges, but then the quality needs to be at a very high level, so it can go into barbershops. That’s the idea.”

This product has already launched and is available for you to buy: head to this link https://www.sknhead.com/.

Because you started nearly 20 years ago, I also want to hear about how you think barbering has changed from where it was then to where it is now.

“If we’d had the technology that we have now: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I used to have to do interviews and then wait 6 weeks for it to come out. Some of the models I’m using today are Instagram models, cool cats – they PR themselves, they manage themselves. It’s kind of insane: you do a haircut, it’s global within minutes. So that’s the difference.

“The downside to this technology is that everyone wants to be famous without putting the work in. They want instant success. I just think that they have all the weapons now to be very successful. You can pay a famous person to do a post for you and you’re kind of out there. But at the same time, it can destroy your career: you have to police your brand.”

 

You spoke about an artistic team. Maybe you can tell me about some of the artistic team that you have here today?

“Barber wise I’ve got Tariq Howes and Aaron Dorn. I’ve cot Jez Wilcox who is creative director. We’ve got three video photographers, two photographers, two make-up artists… so it’s a big shoot, trying to get a lot of stuff in.

“Besides that, I’ve been working on two or three new clipper techniques. New section patterns, new haircuts that are going to be taken out on the road. I want to go back to the days of being able to execute a beautiful, beautiful haircut in six or seven minutes.”

And what could be improved in modern barbering?

“I think what a lot of barbers need to learn is the scissor work. You need to be able to work from the baseline to the top of the head. I think barbering will always be in fashion, but the longer thing is going to come back. Barbers these days have mastered the art of fading, now they need to master the art of haircutting. What happens in 12 months when the fade goes slightly out of fashion and longer hair starts coming back in?

“There’s great dudes out there though. Josh Lamonica: lovely guy, technically gifted, wonderful speaker -can do a great fade but can also do a great haircut. And you’ve got Danny Robinson, a new kid on the block, I mentioned Tariq Howes earlier. Kye Wilson, Dale Watkins, my teacher from back in the day. There are so many talented guys out there. It’s all about inspiring the younger generation though isn’t it.

Finally, then, what are your words of advice for that next generation?

“Technique, technique, technique. Education, education, education. Watch, watch, learn, learn. Mouth shut, eyes open. Be obsessed, be obsessed, be obsessed. Training videos, salon international. Be obsessed. Because to be at the top you have to be obsessed with technique and being at the top of your game. And then it’s a little bit of luck.”

 

I’m quite excited to hear that Adee is going to be spending some more time getting stuck into cutting hair, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with. Don’t forget to check out https://www.sknhead.com/ to hear more about the products that are available; while you’re there, head to Instagram and YouTube to follow Larry the Barberman and see more great interviews.

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From Desperate Times to Cutting the Stars: Eric Pacinos’ Road to Glory

For many, “Eric Pacinos” is just another way to say “international celebrity barber.”  When Eric is not cutting Nas’ hair at the Cannes Film Festival or trimming up Jay-Z for an album cover shoot in New York, he is promoting his wildly successful line of quality hair products and speaking at hair shows all over the world. He definitely has it goin’ on like no one else in the industry.

So you can imagine how excited I was to get a few minutes with him, one of my biggest goals since I started my interview channel. We met up at Premier Expo in Orlando and Eric did not disappoint. You will want to view the whole interview on  my YouTube, larrythebarberman@barbers.tv

Eric: Started with no food in the fridge, young son

Eric’s life story is more inspiring than most, so I asked him to dive right into it.

He said he started cutting his own hair in his childhood bathroom, then graduated to cutting his friends for a small fee. “I was going to school with money in my pocket, and it felt good,” he told me, “not just because of the money but because I was making my friends look good.  That was the defining point. Always trying to transform all my friends; more than just a haircut.“

Even joining the Navy couldn’t separate Eric from his calling. “I always found myself cutting hair on the ship, and even when I was going out with my friends, I would say “Before we go, let me cut your hair.”  That is when I thought I should go to night school to get my license.”

But post-Navy he was still 500 hours short in his studies and had a young son to care for. The times were desperate. “At that point my son was three, and I had hit rock bottom. I could not find a job, and it was like, ‘Man, my son’s got to eat!’”

“That is when I took barbering seriously,” he continues. “Because I did not want that feeling of being hungry anymore,  that feeling of not seeing my child eat. I know what it feels like to know you have nothing in the refrigerator when you open it up.  I know what it feels like to use the restroom in your own house and not have toilet paper.  I literally would go to McDonald’s and leave with extra napkins. Don’t tell this to McDonald’s, but I did it just to have toilet paper in the house.”

“It was hurtful as a man,” he continues. “ So I think I attribute any success or whatever you call it – I just don’t  feel I am as successful as I could possibly become – but I attribute that to desperation and the necessities of living. I never want to go back to that.”

Eric eventually obtained a license and found work.  For many, that might be the happy end of the story, but Eric found the fire inside was burning hotter than ever. “I knew I wanted more than just being a barber,” he told me.

Sacrifice and persistence to build barbering success

Before we got into Eric’s accomplishments, I wanted to know more about his trials and tribulations coming up. As usual, he was candid.

“One of the biggest was all different types of sacrifice, from working long hours to having a dream and not having people believe it,” he said.

“Not knowing, not being educated was the biggest trail, having no blueprint,” he recalls. “I had to create ways of figuring things out because we didn’t have social media, there was no book about creating a barber shop and creating a product brand. There was nothing.  That was the biggest trial, just not knowing where to start.”  This experience, he said, makes him an eager mentor to other young barbers today.

“Thank God, what has helped me is Google. If it weren’t for Google I wouldn’t have done a lot of things. But you have to do your homework; you have to the studying.”

Eric: Every barber can increase sales by offering products…and a variety of brands

All along, Eric kept his entrepreneurial eyes open. “I created my own brand because a lot of the products we were using weren’t really good, they weren’t for the types of haircuts and hairstyles I  was creating.  I had to combine three or four different products, and I said, ‘Man, if someone would come out with a product that did these three or four things; from the hold to the texture being better, to it not being so diluted.’ I wanted something like a pomade-like matte with no shine finish.”

“I created these products to give my clients the best aids without sending them to a store to buy three or four different products to create that hairstyle.”

Eric strongly believes every shop should sell product. “I can’t emphasize enough: it is one of the easiest sells!  It will increase your sales dramatically,” he told me.

He added: “Once a client’s hair looks good, the first thing they will ask is, ‘What is that you put in my hair?’ If you have it on your shelf, if it is already there, they are going to leave with that. They are going to try to emulate the same style that you just did.”

Providing better customer service and increasing your sales – a no-brainer!

“And a month later they will be back for another haircut and more product. Some of these products cost as much as a haircut – our product is $16. You are selling another haircut by selling product.”

He recommends everyone step up and negotiate with product sales people, varying brands and asking for wholesale prices. “Diversify,” he said. “It’s like when you walk into a sneaker store you don’t just see just Nikes.  Give your client something to choose from. They might just ask you, ‘What is this?’ They might want to try it out ‘Will this work in my hair?’  ‘Sit down let’s try it.’ ‘Oh, yeah! I want this!”  It is that easy.”

Eric has realized enormous success with his high-quality products.

“Right now we have three men’s hair grooming products. One is the matte finish, which is a great hold but has no shine to it, which a lot of people like with the pomade haircuts.

“We have pomade that is a more flexible hold. That one does give some shine.  Then we have a crème; a cream styling wax that is  in between the pomade and the matte and it does have a semi-shine finish.”

We also have a beard oil. We have a beard and face scrub. We have razor bump soother. We got a shampoo and conditioner and a black mask. It is really popular can’t hold it in stock!  Matte finish (is number one), then black mask and the pomade is number three.”

Customer service:  No phone calls, please!

When Eric talks about customer service, he says he focuses on the person in the shop and in the chair. That’s why he doesn’t accept phone calls on the job and prefers online haircut appointments. His favorite app is the grooming-industry-only software booksy.

“I am very old school, and I like to speak to my clients,” he said. “But I’ve  learned I would rather speak to my clients in the chair rather than on the phone, because (on the phone) it’s never ‘Can I get a haircut?’ It’s about, ‘So what are you doing this weekend?’  It is hard to tell somebody ‘Hey, I will talk to you when you’re here.’  So the client doesn’t know better if you are in the middle of a haircut or something.  So you have to respect people’s time.”

Advice from a successful barber: Write it down, learn the craft, fix your weaknesses

Time was running short with Eric, and I wanted to get his advice for young barbers just finding their legs.  From a man who came from ‘borrowing’ McDonald’s napkins to Cutting Nas and JayZ, this is the kind of advice you should take to heart.

First, very practical:  “Write everything down. You will see a long list on my iPhone of things I need to execute. Write it down and do not erase it until it gets done. That is one of the biggest things I have learned.”

“After that do your homework on it, Google it, find out more about it get out there and get it done! Nobody is going to do it for you nobody is going to put in the hours and the work that you are going to put in.

“If you want to be a great barber, do as many cuts as you can do not get intimated by the different textures. That is what happened to me early on and I would mess up some curly haircuts. But I would learn and get better at those haircuts than I was with straight hair. “

Lastly, Eric shares hard-won honesty that will benefit anyone in any profession:  “What you are not good at, work extra hard and get better. That is the biggest difference of somebody who continues to grow. That is how you become complete.  If you are only good at one thing – if you are only good at a #2 and a skin fade, but you’re not good at shears – you are never going to grow. When somebody needs you at a movie set, or when you’re needed to cut a client who is paying top dollar, or might want to take you on tour with them, but you can’t use the shears, your opportunity was there and it’s gone. It’s gone because you did not want to get better at something you know is your weakness.”

With that, we bid farewell, and I got busy sharing this unique moment with you.  Hope you enjoy and find Eric’s words inspiring!  ‘Til next time, happy barbering!

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Instagram:  Want to know what it takes to get to cut Kevin Hart, JayZ,  Nas and other big time stars?  Or have your own hugely  successful line of grooming products? Check my incredible interview with celebrity grooming ace Eric Pacinos, whose story of struggle and success will inspire you to work hard, work smart, and dream big!

 

 

Facebook: My amazing CAN’T MISS interview with all-star men’s grooming icon Eric Pacinos is now online!  VIEW AND SHARE my sit-down in Orlando with one of the biggest stylists on the planet, and learn how Eric went from desperate straits to cutting stars like JayZ and Kevin Hart, all while launching an array of top flight products.  Eric is open and honest with excellent life and business advice for up and comers in men’s grooming. DO NOT miss this!