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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!

 

 

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Angel Raws: The Florida Phenom Talks His Clothing Line, Multiple Awards, and how what he Really Wanted to be was a Skateboarder.

Multiple award winner,  owner of two successful shops, Andis educator and clothing line entrepreneur – not bad for a young man who has yet to celebrate his 30th birthday!

I was delighted to meet the amazing Angel Raws at the Orlando Premiere at the suggestion of my friend Eileen Nunez from Great Clips.  I discovered a creative person whose barbering relationship with fellow artists – such as many hip-hop stars – is no surprise.  I always love sharing with you the many ways people find barbering success, and Angel’s story is a great one.

Angel surprised me immediately with this opening story:  he initially picked up clippers to support his professional skateboarding dream!

“I was 16, riding for a couple of companies,” he told me. “As far as a sponsor for skateboarding, the shop I was riding for closed.  My mom had clippers sitting in the garage; she is a cosmetologist. So I picked them up and started doing haircuts for buddies for a little extra cash so I could buy boards and shoes.”

It didn’t take Angel long to realize he’d found his true passion. “Once I picked up the clippers, I left it all behind, and I just fell in love with the industry,” he told me. “I got my license in 2010 and ever since I have been in 50-plus shows and all across the US.”

Angel is the kind of person open to growth and opportunity. What he saw in men’s grooming gave him immediate motivation.

“When I first came into the industry, it was a Bronner Brothers hair show my mom told me about, and it opened my eyes to what the barbering industry was,” he remembers. ”I did not know there was so much you could do with a barbering license, that there were people cutting celebrities’ hair. I couldn’t even fathom that you could be an educator; you can go and compete and do all this. It gave me inspiration.”

Angle seized another opportunity when a contact invited him to a “Barbers at the Roundtable” networking event.  “It was by Curtis Smith,” he said, “and the whole XOTICs team was there – Jesse Lima, Denny from Andis, Kenny Duncan – all the big names, and I was just watching. It inspired me to compete and do the things that they were doing .”

Angel realized he had to “get my name out there” and it was his fierce skateboarder competitiveness that suggested a way:  “I started to look up competitions (I could join) so people would know who I was ‘cuz  I felt I had the  skill to get to where these people were.”

His teachers funded a trip to the New York Barber Battle, “my first time even traveling by myself,” he says with a smile.  “I ended up taking the trophy! I was so amped up after that.  I mean, I went to New York, I win this big trophy, I got this $1,000  check,  it was an amazing experience.”

“But that wasn’t the one that meant the most,” he continued.  “I came back to Bronner Brothers and they had the Andis overall competition, where you had to dress the model and do the haircut to match.  Andis has been my favorite company since I started, so it was a big deal to me to compete, even though I was still in school.”

Angel demonstrated another key to his success by the way he approached the competition: he planned, prepared and practiced. For months.

“I had it down pat by the time I did it live,” he told me. “I did a big shark on one side and an octopus on the other and I dressed my man up as a scuba diver with the air tank the flippers and everything – so when he walked out on stage, he was walking all funny.” The crowd and the judges loved it.

“My mom was there and everyone who was supporting me, and that was one of the biggest highlights of my career. “

As an Andis educator, Angel is influencing barbers all over, but he doesn’t specialize in a particular cut. “It is more of the style, a lot of the real close fades, bald fades,” he says. “The trendy cuts like the Mohawks.”

“People are into a clean-cut haircut, more of the skin fade, that has a lot of detail, that’s more my style. On Instagram you will see that I don’t leave a one guard on the side. I just do mainly skin fades with a lot of detail.”

When I pressed Angel on his strongest skill, I was sure it would relate to cutting hair but he had another surprise.  His real strong suit is organization and service, something every barber should sit up and notice.

“Being organized,” he said to me, “taking care of my clients on time, being there when the client expects it.”  It sounds simple but so many barbers neglect this basic service, he says.

“They might not show up for an appointment, or they are late,” he observes. “I pride myself on being punctual.  I cut a lot of people like doctors and lawyers – people who have jobs and don’t have time to hang out in the shop. That is my specialty:  being available and on time.”

Angel is on top of another trend in the industry: bookings by app.  It has freed him and his clients from phone interruptions, another service issue.  “There is no need for me while I am taking care of this client to be on the phone with the next client,” he says. “(An app) gives my clients access to my schedule, so it might be 2 a.m. and people are booking me.  I might wake up in the morning and I have had 6 clients book during the night. They didn’t have to call me; they didn’t have to text me. It’s just convenient.”

In addition to his two Florida shops, Raws Cuts 1 and 2, I wanted to know about his growing clothing line, a fantastic idea he calls “Barber Life.”

He tells me his shops are family style with a relaxed atmosphere where wives and children feel comfortable, “a real tight family and with all my barbers you will feel that vibe.”

His clothing line is another example of an observant man seizing an opportunity.  Angel contacted a screen-printing friend in New York with an idea:

“I reached out to my partner BV and said,  ‘There is no barbering clothing line, no logo of barbering.’  So we came up with Barber Life, and we went to the Bronner Brothers show with a backpack full of these shirts and we sold out, people were eating them up right out of the bag. The next year we had a booth and it was just a hit. We needed to get a website together, and it has taken off.  We have done 50-plus shows, we’ve done barber battles, the website –  www.theprofessionalsbarbeshop.com – it has just been a blessing, man.”

What the future holds for this ambitious and talented barber and businessman is a mystery for now (“We’re taking it day by day”), though he loves working in barber education.  As for his inspiration these days, he says there are many people he looks up to, but he feels comfortable now sharing his lessons with people starting out, which I am thrilled to pass along to you!

“Don’t be scared,” he says, very seriously. “It might be financial; it might be you don’t want to get up on the stage and compete. You can’t have it because with fear you aren’t going to go anywhere.  You are going to be stuck in a box because you are afraid to do anything outside of that box.”

Angel says Andis once asked him to teach a class in Spanish, a task that drove him back to the books and made him nervous since he wasn’t sure he could pull it off. “I speak Spanish with my mom every day,” he laughs, but that was about it!

“But I did it. I studied and I learned the words I needed, and I was nervous, but I didn’t let the fear get to me. I would not be sitting here able to tell you that I am an Andis educator (if I hadn’t)

“So put yourself out there, any opportunity that you get, and don’t be afraid.”

I liked Angel’s humility; he’s grounded. When I asked him his biggest accomplishment, for example, he said without hesitation, “Getting my license.”

“Without that, I would not be here. I truly believe you aren’t a barber without that license. For me, that is the biggest moment. That is what opened the door for me. That is what made me a barber.”

A perfect ending to a great conversation.  My thanks to Angel Raws for his valuable time and Eileen Nunez for suggesting we meet.  Be sure to watch Angel’s interview and other fascinating conversations with barbering’s most interesting people at my YouTube at LarrytheBarberman. ‘Til next time happy barbering!

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Instagram: It’s another Larry the BarberMan VIEW and SHARE special!  Angel Raws has two thriving Florida shops, a clothing line, celebrity clients – and he is talking to me about it all!  Check my latest as I travel to Orlando to meet Angel in this exclusive interview.

Facebook:  VIEW, LEARN and SHARE!  Men’s grooming star Angel Raws has celebrity clients, two successful Florida shops, a case full of awards, his own clothing line, and he is talking to me about it all in my latest exclusive interview. I traveled to Orlando and met up with Angel on his home turf. What he had to say is mesmerizing and inspiring for anyone, but especially barber professiona

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Barber Frank Rimer: Revered Hair Stylist Jody Taylor Claims, “Frank is probably the best traditional barber in London”

Barber Frank Rimer: Revered Hair Stylist Jody Taylor Claims, “Frank is probably the best traditional barber in London”

 

In February2017 , I caught up again with Frank Rimer from the Shoreditch barbershop, Thy Barber, just before he and his team appeared on the cover of BarberEvo magazine.

 

BarberEvo’s cover illustration was a painting of the Thy Barber trio – Frank, Pauly Harmer, and Edmond Rowe – done by the artist Vince Kamp, whose barber-inspired collection ‘CUTS Portraits of Barbers’ was exhibited in March in London’s Hoxton.

 

In this video, Frank speaks to me about his own evolution over the last 18 months. As I predicted the last time Frank and I spoke, the shop has needed an expansion, and in the last year and a half, Thy Barber has gone from a one-chair operation to three chairs and Frank has been in the spotlight as the barber commissioned and entrusted to take the beard off Wolverhampton model and the man voted as having the “most influential hair in Britain,’ Ricki Hall.

 

Frank and I talk about that opportunity to help raise money to fund research and raise awareness of Mesothelioma, the cancer that Hall’s father died from. Franks says that it was a privilege to do the Captain Fawcetts’ sponsored event, and that it also opened up new horizons for Hall too, who now plays with the design of his facial hair and is no longer afraid to just go beardless!

 

Thy Barber is known as the place to go in London for classic cuts like the Rockabilly and Psycho Quiff. While the team behind the reputation is fairly new, Frank says that they not only fit together perfectly, but share the same ethos of professionalism and a certain way of doing things. He describes Pauly and Ed as humble barbers, who are open to learning and always willing to up their game. The team is lucky, he says, to work in the “hub of fashion central” with its great underground scene and status as a trendsetter. “Everything happens in London 2 years before it happens anywhere else,” he says.

 

Described by Jody Taylor as “the best traditional barber in London,” Frank who shares a mutual admiration for the London fashion week hairdresser and stylist extraordinaire, has built his brand on among other things, a network of relationships. His alliances bring a variety to his work and for instance, he and Pauly, have been working with the workwear specialist behind LaneFortyFive, to design a smock for barbers that will be available by mail order in the next few months. The unbranded handmade garment has a scissors pouch, internal buttons and can be tapered by the wearer. A lot of thought has gone into it, says Frank, and each smock will be handmade and custom-sized.

 

Thy Barber has also become the ambassador for the Camden Watch Company and more recently has become a retailer of a new brand of male grooming products called Copacetic, available for purchase in-store. One of Frank’s earlier relationships, of course, was with the duo behind the Bike Shed, Vicky and Dutch. Frank dismisses any speculation that he owns the shed and explains that the store’s location evolved out of being part of a pop-up show idea that originated with the pair behind the Bike Shed brand. At the annual event, hosted at the Tobacco Docks, Frank showcased his skills and worked with a range of talented guest barbers, known in the biking community. As for how he actually feels about bikes, he says that he loves to look at them, but wouldn’t risk riding them for fear of damaging his hands, the tools of his trade.

 

The inspiration for Vince Kamp’s signature piece from his collection of barber portraits, Frank, and his team, were also happy to introduce Kamp to the people Frank describes as “the cool looking guys” or the “more respected” barbers that featured in the artist’s work. In exchange, they each have a portrait of themselves done by Kamp, which frames each of their mirrors and is a “huge talking point” of the shop.

 

Apart from planning to run some courses this year, dates to be announced, Frank whose upcoming nuptials is soon and has been dividing his time between Canada and the UK, says that he won’t be doing many events this year. Fans of his work can catch him at the Bike Shed event from the 26-28th May at the London Tobacco Docks and at the Big North Tattoo Show in Newcastle on Sat 29th April.

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Youtuber 360Jeezy: Rose From Broke Salesman To Youtube Sensation

At the CT Barber Expo in Connecticut I landed one my best video interviews ever, and it was a stroke of luck: I bumped into 360Jeezy, the barbering sensation from California with the biggest YouTube following in the industry.

His big smile, high energy and cheerful camera-ready personality come off as completely real. It’s no mystery why the30-year-old (he doesn’t look old enough to have a pint!) has more than 600,000 people following his wave tutorials and haircuts.

I knew I had to interview him for you, and he graciously agreed.  As Jeezy settled into a Takara Belmont chair at the Hartford Convention Center in April, I realized having no questions prepared was no problem, because Jeezy, aka Jarrod Stovall, loves sharing the journey from unhappy rug salesman and homeless student to YouTube star and product endorser.  It’s all about faith and determination.

YouTube journey: from a few thousand to more than 600K

I asked Jeezy about the phenomenal growth of his YouTube channel, which he launched in 2012.

“I wanted to teach people how I got my wave,” he said. Inspired by other YouTubers, Jeezy started filming with an iPhone 4 and brush before he was even a licensed barber.  He added haircut videos “because I love doing haircuts, too.”

“I wanted my career to be barbering so I started uploading videos throughout my journey at school and I got a big, big, huge response,” he said. “I kept uploading and I kept getting good response. As people showed me love, I couldn’t help but keep the energy going and give them love back.”

Homelessness and struggle

What his YouTube followers did not know – nor did people at school – was that Jeezy was broke and struggling during his studies.  “I dropped everything (to go to school) and I lost everything,” he said. Those months included a stretch with no fixed address. “I was basically homeless,” he said. “People at the school didn’t know I was living over here and over there and trying to keep the school thing going.”

Amazing.  I wanted to know more. Jeezy told me he got motivated for school by working unhappily as…a rug salesman.

Rug salesman?

“Yeah, the Oriental rugs, the carpet that you have in your home, the really expensive rugs, we were basically selling those out of Costco,” he says with a smile. “I was traveling around northern California, selling rugs.”

“I was miserable,” he continued. “I was telling my uncle and he said, ‘You need to go to school.’ I took his advice.”

But it wasn’t that simple. In fact, it took a near-miraculous event concerning a past student loan (he had debt from a brief stint at a San Francisco art school) just to get him through the barber school door.  The school said he couldn’t enroll until he had a history of paying on the debt…at least a 6-month history.

That’s a pretty big roadblock, but Jeezy was ready to face it down.

“I called the loan people and they are like, “Give me your info and we can do something for you,’” he recalls. But they could find no record of his debt.  “They were like, “What are you talking about?” and I was, ‘Come on, man! ‘”

Then the voice on the other end made the big reveal:  “…I can’t find anything (about your debt), because you paid it off!’” Jeezy recalls with a laugh.  “I was like ‘Huh?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I can fax you over the information and everything. It’s all good.’”

Not one to question good fortune, no matter how mysterious, Jeezy got started in barber school immediately.

YouTube: from 3,000 to 50,000 to blowing up

“When I first went to school I had about 3,000 subscribers,” Jeezy recalls. “As I was going to school, which took 7 months,  I was recording every step of the journey and I  was able to get up to at least 40,000 to 50,000 when I graduated.”

“After that, we opened up the shop, and I did this one video on how to cut your woof off – at the end of your 360 wave journey when you grow out your hair and you cut it all down and it’s real refreshing – and that video got crazy views, like over 3 million now, so that kind of launched me into like, “Oh, he cuts hair? He makes barber videos?”  The buzz just kept going from there.”

Velocity Kutz and the love of family

“The shop” Jeezy refers to is Velocity Kutz, an 8-chair establishment in Vacaville, Calif., he operates with his uncle, Kevin Stovall.  “My uncle owns it and I am the manager. I want to be clear,” he says laughing.  “We are basically partners. It is a family-owned business and we both look out for each other.”

How did Jeezy and his uncle become close enough to open a business together?

“I have to say it was a God thing the whole time,” he says with a smile.  “Because we were talking about what we were going to do after (leaving the rug sales job) and it just hit him – BAM! – that raiment from God hit him and he said, ‘You need to go to barber school!’  and I was, “What?” He was like, “Yeah!” He was so emotional. He called his wife and he was, ‘I know what we need to do. Open a barber shop.’”

With a professional platform for his talent, Jeezy now devotes his time to waves, cuts and video. “100 percent of my time goes to work, I am always at work,” he says. “If I am not cutting, I am editing and filming ‘cause not only do I have to give my audience haircuts, I have to give my other audience, my wavers, my hair tutorials. So it is nonstop.”

Jeezy is definitely not complaining, though. It is obvious to me he loves very minute of what he is doing, and he’s smart at managing himself, like when he’s editing video at home after a long day: “I rush and go home while I am inspired, ‘cause if I don’t,  the video will just sit and I will be like, ‘I’ll get it next time,’ and I will be inspired by something else and that video will get pushed back and then I’m like ‘Dang!’”

So, “I put out videos back-to-back-to-back. It’s all about consistency.”

The future for Jeezy360: a million subscribers and testimony

Anyone in business knows success builds on success, and Jeezy gets that, too.  Opportunities have opened for the man from Vacaville.  He was at CT Barber Expo on behalf of Self Cut Systems, who flew him to the event (“They didn’t have to do that,” he says modestly).

Now, the formerly homeless barber student finds himself posing for selfies with people he’s never met, thousands of miles from his home base.

“But I don’t focus on that. I focus more on helping others. When they come up to me and say, ‘Man 360 Jeezy, you helped me, man!’ That brings me more joy than anything else.”

“I don’t care about the numbers, per se, but my ultimate goal is to share my testimony at a million (followers),” he said. “It will reach more people.  It will seal the deal.  It is not to gain money or to have sponsors or to come out with a grease.  It is really to share and give back. “

360 Jeezy’s final thoughts for up and coming barbers

I wanted to know Jeezy’s advice for people starting out and he was very direct:  “Do it because you have a passion for it. Don’t do it because of opportunity. There are a lot of barbers who get caught up in, “Oh, I want to be flashy like that or I want to drive those nice cars, but that was never my focus.”

“Do it because you have a passion, and don’t stop. If something happens in your life that prevents you, it doesn’t have to prevent you from barbering or whatever it is you want to do.  Just keep at it.  Don’t let the distractions come and tear you down. Keep pushing. Keep everything positive in front of you.

“Who would have ever thought I would be 360Jeezy?  When I look back, I’m thinking, ‘Man, what if I had stopped?’  ‘Cause I could have stopped. So, don’t stop.  Y’all keep grinding, keep going. Go hard and give it your all.”

My thanks to 360Jeezy for his time and fantastic insights.  You will definitely want to see his version of the ”360Jeezy Jingle,” which finished off our interview!  Catch that at my YouTube Channel larrythebarberman.  Also follow me on Instagram @larrythebarberman and email me directly at info@larrythebarberman.com

 

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Booksy and @barbersince98: Two Industry Dynamos Team Up to Aid Barbers Everywhere

You know @barbersince98 – also known as Oscar Torres – as the barber running one of the premier showcase sites in the business with more than a quarter million Instagram followers.  An American based in Rhode Island,  Oscar recently retired from cutting hair to blend his enormous online presence with Booksy, the powerful mobile appointment app and industry game-changer.

 

When I had a chance to interview him in Ireland this spring, I wanted to know the story behind Oscar’s incredible successes and his decision to go all in with Booksy.

Haircuts in the bathtub

Oscar told me he’s loved barbering since his mom plunked the kids into an empty tub for their homemade cuts. “When she said, ‘Strip down to your underwear and get in the tub,’ we knew it was haircut time!” he recalls.  “To be honest, though, I wasn’t the biggest fan of my mom’s skills.”

“When I was thirteen I found inspiration in my sister’s boyfriend, who would give me and my brothers haircuts,” he added. “I used to watch and think ‘This seems doable. I think I could try this.’”

Oscar soon talked his grandmother into spending most of his back-to-school money on his first set of clippers and trimmers, and Mom was not too happy.  “She said, ‘We’re taking this back to the store.’  But I was like, ‘Mom, I can make the money back!’  A couple of days later I had people knocking on my door for haircuts and that weekend I made all the money back.”

After being offered an apprenticeship by a classmate’s father, Oscar went to work in a barber shop. “That was 1998,” he said, “I took it seriously and it has been a blessing ever since.” It also explains where @barbersince98 comes from!

As his barbering and video/journalism skills grew, Oscar became a fast-growing fixture on Instagram. When Booksy began to take off, the two began to see a potential partnership, one based on mutual respect for innovation and skill.

“I saw the uniqueness of what Booksy is doing,” Oscar said. “There are a lot of tools in our industry, and most of them are just ordinary, but Booksy is helping people make more money, obtain more clients, represent themselves in the most professional manner.”

In my travels, I’ve found many barbers struggle with staying organized, even though doing so increases consistency, reliability and ultimately makes for a more successful career.  Oscar agrees;  one reason he loves Booksy.  “Booksy is helping barbers stay organized and helping clients communicate with their barbers,” he said.  Booksy takes the pressure off barbers to handle phone calls and walk-ins while trying to concentrate on the person in the chair, a fundamental and serious organizational problem for many.

With Booksy, customers see their barber’s schedule on their mobile device and book their appointments themselves 24/7, or even cancel or reschedule. All a barber needs to do is give great haircuts and check the calendar to see who’s next!

Meeting Obama’s barber

Oscar’s a big believer in consistency and reliability, and Booksy’s organizational tools help barbers develop both.  Oscar recently got big support for that point of view from Barack Obama’s personal barber, the legendary Zariff at Chicago’s Hyde Park Hair Salon.  After landing an Instagram interview with Zariff, Oscar told me “Zariff focuses on being consistent and reliable.  He feels skills are vital, but the first two are the most important. A skilled barber that is not consistent and not reliable, how effective can that barber be?”

Probably not effective enough to land Barack Obama as a client!

Oscar knows marketing and PR inside out, so he immediately grasped how important it is that Booksy goes above and beyond their already-innovative appointment management tool to help barbers market and grow.  Booksy can integrate a barber’s web site into the Booksy domain to boost Google rankings, and geolocate Booksy barbershops, attracting clients with practically no involvement from the barber at all.  “With Booksy a regular person like me or you can go to a different city,” he enthuses, “and if you don’t know any barbers there, you open up the Booksy app and it gives you the closest barbers. That’s bringing new clients to you.”

Oscar is so enthusiastic that he happily retired from barbering to focus on helping barbers get Booksy into their working lives.  Booksy’s power, combined with Oscar’s industry presence and marketing expertise, are a huge benefit to barbers everywhere.  “My job is to introduce Booksy to people who haven’t used it before or who are using it and need some help on how to make their page more presentable,” he sums up.  “By me dealing with so many businesses on this platform, that allows me to give people advice on what to do and what not to do.”

“I offer brand exposure,” he added. “I like helping brands who have a meaningful purpose in our industry.  My Instagram is a showcase platform.  If you have a brand that stands out and you need some help, I can help you out with that.”

“You can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can change the ride”

I always ask my interviewees for advice to young barbers and Oscar is straight up with his.

“One thing I learned is that you are never going to reinvent the wheel, but you can change the ride,” he told me.

“Social media is a big platform. You can be appreciated by people who will probably never sit in your chair because they are in another country, but I can’t stress enough, don’t lose the importance of your community.

“It is cool to get likes and follows by people you will never meet, but you need to focus on your community and the people who go into your business on a weekly and a monthly basis.”

And while Oscar agrees there is no substitute for persistence and hard work, he comes back to how important it is for barbers to be organized.

“If you think you are grinding now, tighten up your belt because it’s a long ride!” he laughs. “There are things you are going to go through, a lot of clients you will lose and gain, and at the end of the day, you need to stay organized!”

“That’s another reason I am with Booksy.  It helps barbers who are young stay organized and keep your clients,” he adds. “Focus on your clients, stay organized and good things can happen.”

My thanks to Oscar for a fascinating conversation.  You can contact him and inquire how he can help your business by emailing Oscar.torres@booksy.net

It’s amazing to me how Booksy is gaining traction all over the industry, and it is inspiring that so many barbers recognize its value and are not being left behind!

Be sure to watch the full interview on my YouTube @larrythebarberman, and ’til next time, happy barbering!

If you would like to try Booksy FREE of 14 days and get 20% discount if you decide it is for you click on the following link http://www.ihave2have.it

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Interview With Barber Jack Robinson Pullen Of MBA (Mobile Barbering Academy)

I am always looking for new talent to bring to you in my interviews, and Jack Anderson Pullen was an easy choice. At 25 years old, he’s already a 12-year professional and he’s been running the popular Mobile Barbering Academy since he was just 19.

A veteran competitor, he’s a Wahl British Barber of the Year, two-time BBA Master Barber finalist, winner of the 2014 NHF and has many more accolades. He’s also found time to open his own salon in Thirsk in North Yorkshire and has another ready to go in Catterick.

Oh, he is also brand ambassador for SCISSORHANDS, the high-quality professional scissors well-loved among the best barbers.

Other than that, not much happening, right, Jack?

“It can become difficult to manage the schedule,” he agreed when he squeezed in a few moments in the Takara Belmont chair for an interview with me at Barber Connect. “My girlfriend will tell you I am very much a flitter. When I do something, I will do it passionately, but it may be 6 or 7 things at one time. “

Jack has been running full throttle since he was just 13. “I started in a salon in Milton Keynes called One Salon with Graham Horne, a fantastic hairdresser. Over the years I‘ve been fortunate to work with a lot of people you have interviewed,” he told me. “Tony Roberts, Craig McCarlane and a few others. I eventually moved up north to open my first barbershop with my girlfriend in North Yorkshire, called King and Captain.”

Starts Mobile Barbering Academy while still a teen

Jack started the Mobile Barbering Academy at just 19 years old (“with my mom” he says with a laugh) because of his keen appreciation for education and the fact high costs made it out of reach for so many.

“I felt courses were expensive,” he said “ I didn’t have the money at 19 myself, so I wanted to come up with something I could offer people booking these courses to bring them more knowledge, and make additional education accessible to them.”

Working with just his mum, “we’d go to salons and we give out educational materials – a pack of 50 pages. We would do demos and work with individuals on their weaknesses and adding new skills.”

This kind of ambition is bound to grow, and today Jack has a team of 12 at Mobile Barbering, delivering courses in salon shops and colleges all over the country.

His success has given him a possible dilemma many barbers would love to have. “My long-time dream is to be a member of the Wahl artistic team,” he says. “But it would be a conflict of interest right now, and a big decision about whether to pass the Academy onto someone else in order to join the Wahl team, if that were to happen. But right now, I am happy doing what I am doing.”

Not that Jack is hurting for brand deals. He’s been with Scissorhands for three years, an adventure that started oddly: his car was broken into.

“I lost a lot of equipment in the theft, and after I’d saved up to buy a pair of scissors, I started by going to AUK and met Linda from Scissorhands. I bought a set, used them to enter competitions and sent the pictures back to Ashley Howard and Linda to show them what I’d done. They offered me Salon International and a one hour slot, which turned into a day slot, which turned into a weekend slot which turned into becoming an educator for them. It’s all about helping people.”

Why Jack prefers his 50+ Scissorhands scissors to most clippers

As a competitor and platform barber, Jack has made his name with textured, feathered, what he calls ‘soft” cuts. “I love my patterns and skintight work but what separates me is that I started as a hairdresser and moved into barbering. Everything is a lot softer (in hairdressing).

“The strong, sharp square shapes that a lot of people are producing – their work is fantastic. But for me, I like a lot softer, so I like using my scissors more than my clippers.”

I’ve never seen Jack without a belt at his waist holding as many as 50 scissors. Here was my chance to ask about that. He covers the Scissorhands basics.

“There’s the straight blade which can vary in length from 5.5 to 7 inches, and our trademark scissor – called the EVO – which is a texturing, layering scissors with 15 teeth. This makes life easier because you don’t have to go back to do three different jobs by cutting your baseline, point cutting, texturizing. You can do everything in one hit.”

“We talk about a kit, a traditional barber kit, which for us is one short blade which you work inside the knuckle and by point cutting, if you ever need to point cut – with the EVO you don’t really need to do that. “

“The long blade is your scissor-over-comb and your bulk removal and your soft cut, better for softening blend lines.”

“You can work through the whole back and sides of a gent’s haircut using the soft cut: your traditional thinning scissors, your EVO – which is your layering – and your all-in-one, which I call the Swiss army knife of scissors.”

As for the dozens of scissors on his belt, Jack says Scissorhands believes every scissor has a unique job and a unique talent using it, so there custom Scissorhands designs feature many variations, colors and different types of steels.

The Wahl team keeps coming up, and when he talks of the future, Jack says the Wahl dream is still there/ “When I reached the final of the Wahl competition and got up on their stage in front of hundreds of people at Salon International I achieved one of my dreams. It is still burning inside of me to win competitions I’ve got one more dream – to get on the Wahl artist team eventually.

“If you’re passionate, you don’t always come across as you should”

Jack’s intensity earned him an early reputation as a rambunctious sort, which he doesn’t shy away from. “If you are passionate, you don’t always come across the way you should,” he says. “I write for BarberEVO and I spoke to them recently about a piece that was designed to come across hotheaded in order to separate view and make people think about views.”

Luke Dolan wrote article about egos in the industry, and I think he was saying it’s more of a case that people are passionate about things and they don’t believe in each other’s views and sometimes it conflicts.”

That’s true as far as it goes, Jack believes, but he’s also recommending the value of listening and appreciating mentors. “People above you in terms of age and experience, such as Chris Foster, have given me yeas of advice and guidance, even though we are in competition now since he has an academy, too. Mike Taylor is another. I still go to them and look up to them because they have been at it a long time.

It’s clear to me Jack’s passion about making people think is connected to his determination to never stop learning and growing, something that he offers as his top piece of advice for barbers coming up.

“Have an open mind,” He says. “I’ve worked with people who have been cutting hair for forty years and are still open to learning. I know people who have worked for five years for only one person and have closed off their minds.”

“Gary Machin, Eric Lander at the BBA, there are so many great ambassadors with great views and passion so always look to everybody – younger or older – to take experience and knowledge from.

“The most important thing is to be open to learning and never disregard a technique or product or tool. Don’t ever limit yourself.”

To see my entire video interview with Jack, stop by my YouTube channel @larrythebarberman.

Until next time, Happy Barbering!

 

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How To Oil Your Hair Clippers For Peak Performance & long Life

Learn what to do as I return to the studio with a new tutorial video!

WHY YOUR CLIPPERS ARE HOT, NOT RUNNING RIGHT AND HAVE DISCOLORED BLADES

My popular Larry the Barberman ‘Tutorial Videos’ are back!  As you know, I have been traveling the globe for months, bringing you interviews with world-famous, very successful barbers – getting their back stories, their takes on the state of our industry, and their hints on building barbering success.  It was immensely educational, and I am loving all the feedback I get from you on these amazingly talented people and their stories.  If you haven’t seen them all, head over to my YouTube @Larrythebarbeman and find the ones you’ve missed!

Nevertheless, I’m happy to be back in the studio, making my hands-on tutorials about the tools of the trade, their care, and proper use.

So, let’s get started!

Today, I am addressing questions I get from clients who say their clippers or trimmers are not working correctly. The clippers seem hot and the blades dull or discolored.  Upon investigation, I‘ve found the culprit: many barbers are not familiar with the proper way to OIL THEIR CLIPPERS!

On my new video @larrythebarberman, I use an Andis T Outliner to demonstrate proper oiling procedures and talk about why they are so important.

Coolant and Disinfectants Are NOT Oil

First, people mistake COOLANTS and DISINFECTANTS for clipper oils.  Let’s be clear right now: These products are NOT oil and do not take the place of oil.  They may contain a drop or two of oil, but they are mostly water, meaning they have a lower viscosity than clipper oil and will not lubricate the blades sufficiently.

I see far too many barbers who, when I ask them to show me the oil they are using, produce the little tube that comes out of the box with brand new clippers!  That tells me immediately they are neglecting basic maintenance. That little tube shouldn’t last more than a few dozen cuts AT MOST since you should be adding two or three drops of oil to your clipper blades after each use.

With improperly lubricated blades rubbing against each other at a rate of 6,000 oscillations a minute, friction will produce tremendous heat, turning the metal black or blue and wearing out the blades much sooner than you expect.  Imagine running your car on just a few spoonsful of oil; the engine would break down in no time!  Many barbers are doing the equivalent with their very valuable clippers and trimmers.

Ironically, clipper oil is much cheaper than coolant or disinfectant, so in addition to misusing those products and possibly shortening the life of your clipper, you may be spending more than you need to!

You must oil clippers regularly, but it only takes a minute or two

After each haircut or every two haircuts at most, take one minute and properly oil your clipper.  Here’s how:

1)    Disinfect your clipper with disinfectant. I suggest you USE TISSUE PAPER instead of a towel to wipe the disinfectant from the blades since you can quickly toss a tissue to the bin, whereas a towel will gather hair, gunk and disinfectant and will need a thorough cleaning before you can use it again.

2)    Clean out the blades.   Any brush will do, but I always USE A TOOTHBRUSH.   After all, blades have teeth, too!  A toothbrush is just the right size and stiffness to get the job done.  I suggest using a PIPE CLEANER get between the blades, pushing out dirt and gunk.

3)    Apply three drops of oil.  With the clipper clean and running, apply one drop of oil at each end and one drop in the middle. Tilt the clipper to and fro to allow the oil to distribute evenly.

DO NOT use a solid, single line of oil across the blades.  That is much too much! Over-oiling will cause hair, oils, gunk, and goo to stick to the blades, making your clipper or trimmer hard to work with and unsanitary.

NOTE: Some people put a drop down the track, and that’s fine, though I don’t think it’s necessary.

4)    Let the clipper run while you wipe it down with tissue. Toss the tissue away and – congratulations!  You have a properly-oiled tool ready to give you thousands of great cuts!

You can see me demonstrate these techniques on my YouTube @larrythebarberman.

It feels great to be back in the studio making videos again! I am focused on bringing you a fresh topic, helping you (and your equipment) stay sharp and on top of your game.

Please enjoy, and ‘til next time, happy barbering!

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Kristy Faulkner: Barber & Wahl Educator, Simplifies Clipper Choice And Usage

 

As a Wahl ambassador, Kristi gets to rep for some of the best clippers in the barbering business. I caught up with her at a recent show to find out about her story, and also to learn more about why she loves Wahl products and works as part of the Wahl brand.

 

Tell me about when and where you started.

“I started 26 years ago in Florida. I actually started with my cosmetology licence. And as soon as I got out of cosmetology school, I moved to a military post. So, I started cutting hair on the military post.

“I had never picked up clippers at all in cosmetology school, but I had a really incredible teacher. After a few months of wanting to learn I started dragging clients into the chair. And at first it wasn’t the best, I was a hot mess. But from then on, I really incorporated barbering into my styling.”

Hearing you speak yesterday, I got the feeling that working in the military really changed you as a hair stylist. Tell me what that experience did for you.

“It was definitely life changing. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today and I definitely wouldn’t be with Wahl clippers. Back then it was $4 a haircut, that’s it. And you only made 40 % on commission. You had to cut a lot of hair very quickly to make any kind of money. So that helped me with my speed and my precision. That’s what made me into the barber and the stylist I am today.”

What kind of things have you had to overcome?

“You know it’s amazing, because I still get thrown into the deep end all the time. Even at my shop – I’ve been in business for a long time – and it’s still a consistent struggle. But I always tell people, if you know your craft, you know your tools and you have the education then you can do anything you want.

“You’re going to have days and struggles where yeah, you mess the hair up. But that is how you learn and how you grow.”

It seems like you’ve simplified the hairdressing process to see everything as texture. Talk me through this simplification.

“Really for me, consultation is huge – especially If it’s a new customer. Because that’s like a blueprint. The questions give me a blueprint, so I don’t have to work harder later in the haircut. Texture also helps decide what clipper I’m going to use. So then later on I don’t have to go back and fix anything.

“So, for instance, when I’m working on our ethnic clients I’m going to use the Five Star clippers. The Five Star range was created by Wahl for multicultural haircutting. It has the strongest motor, the sharpest blades and the most precision. They work phenomenal on anyone with curly, thick or coarse hair.

“That’s why in my classes I’m so passionate about teaching clipper blades, clipper education. Know what you’re purchasing, know your tools. Because what happens is that people, especially stylists, will start to do haircuts with the wrong tools and then they breakdown and never do another cut because they’re frustrated and defeated.”

 

Let’s say someone was unfortunate and not able to come to a Wahl seminar. Where could they find this information online?

“We have an incredible website. It’s wahlpro.com, and we have so much information on that website. We have a tool selector, which takes you through a process of questions about the type of hair you’re going to cut. Then it goes ahead and pulls up the tool that we recommend for your situation.

“We have our schedule – what hair shows we’ll be at, what classes we’re offering, what cities we’re going to be in. We also have links for short videos with different techniques on them – how to use your clipper, how to adjust your blade, how to oil your clipper… so we have an incredible amount of information on our website, which can pick you up and put you to the places where you need to go.”

 

So, the moral is to invest some time in education, and maybe invest some money in the professional tools.

“I ask people in all of my classes, what is the most you’ve ever spent on shears? And I think the most somebody has told me is $1500. And I always say to them, you have no problem spending that much on shears, but then you come to the Wahl booth and you want to buy the $29 clipper and have it do the same thing as the $1500 shears. I say to them, it’s an investment. And whatever you can do with shears, you can do faster and better with clippers.”

 

Let’s imagine an ambitious barber with plenty of years of experience, he’s built up his skills, he’s invested in the Wahl clippers and he now wants to pass on his knowledge and become a Wahl artistic team member. What would be your advice?

“I was very fortunate when I started that they found me. They found me because I was at all of the shows. Now we have what’s called our ambassador program. If you’re a licenced professional, then go to wahlambassador.com and you can sign up for the program. Go through that and you’ll get emails about all the latest and greatest products that we’re bringing out. It will also take you to a link for if you’re interested in becoming a part of the team.

“We look for people who absolutely are passionate about Wahl clippers. You know, I’ve always been passionate about Wahl clippers. They’re the biggest clipper company in the world, family-owned and they’ll be 100 years old soon. You have to be passionate.”

 

Tell me your favourite two clippers and trimmers, and why.

“Right now, I’m infatuated with all of our cordless clippers. My favourite is the Cordless Magic Clip. I love it because it’s fast, it has a blade that allows you to smooth the hair out, it has a good run time on it, and it’s on lithium Ion batteries so it doesn’t run out of charge. The other won that I’m very excited about is the Cordless Senior. I love the ease. I’m the sort of person that its talking and walking around with my clipper in my hand, so it’s nice not to have the limit of the cord.

“For trimmers, I love our new Retro T Cut. If you remember, we used to have a trimmer called the 8900. And now we’re paying homage to the 8900. My other favourite trimmer is our 5 Star Detailer. But it’s a very close call between that and the Hero.”

Yesterday on stage, I saw you performing a few ninja tricks. I’d love these to be shared around the world. Let’s talk about ninja trick number one: the eyebrows.

“Eyebrows is almost like the finish to the haircut. Eyebrows get passed over so much. You have a nice polished look, and then you have these eyebrows. So what I do is I have the cordless magic clip, blade in the open position so it doesn’t take all the hair off and then just go over it in the direction that the hair grows.”

 

The other technique that I found interesting was the trick with the hairspray, where you put the hairspray on prior to lining up. Explain that technique and how you stumbled upon it.

It was actually another artistic team member who did it while we were up on stage, and I said ‘what did you just do?’ They sell products especially for that but it’s exactly the same thing. I like an aerosol better because it dries quicker, and once it dries I’ll just take out that trimmer and go over the edge. The hair is laying down nice and flat, and it allows you to see where you’re edging – and it’s going to be a little safer, you’re not going to push that edge back.”

One final question. I heard Matty Conrad and you talking about the technique of holding the client’s head and taking control. Explain your kind of control technique.

“My poor clients, I have all the control. That’s important because that’s your work going out the door, that’s your name. That’s really where you get your clientele from. That’s my logo on their head. I tell people, please greet everybody when they come into your salon. When they’re in my chair my hand is on top of their head: partly so they don’t move, but also to stabilize me. Take control.”

I hope that more barbers take heed of Kristi ’s words and do exactly that: take control of your craft. Whether that means investing in more education, better tools or longer hours practicing is up to you. You can also follow Larry the Barberman on Instagram and Youtube to see regular interviews with some of the biggest names in barbering.

http://www.larrythebarberman.com

 

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Barber Chris Foster’s, 11 Step Guide, To Creating An Exceptional BBA Signature Shave

11 Steps for creating an exceptional BBA signature shave

 

The introduction of a signature shave can really elevate your barbershop to the next level. You get to show off your skills whilst also introducing products and techniques a cut above the rest.

Chis Foster from the British Barber Academy (BBA) met me at Chris & Sons in London to demonstrate their signature shave, and how you can use BBA products to retail and to elevate your own service. Here’s what Chris had to say:

“The only reason a guy would come to a barbershop is for the experience. You can add on additional services – and the signature shave is not your regular shave, so you can charge more and increase your barbershop revenue.”

Sound good? Let’s get started.

 

Step 1: Prepare the skin

Chris starts off by priming the skin with the BBA facewash. Use plenty of water; this is the first hydration the skin will get. A great technique is to use the ‘prayer pose’: start with your hands together at the chin, then move down the cheeks and up over the nose.

 

Step 2: Exfoliate

After priming the beard area, you need to exfoliate the top half of the face. What’s great about the BBA shave is that you can use exactly the same product – the BBA facewash – just apply less water. The rice particles help this multifunctional product give a good scrub.

 

Step 3: Add more moisture

You’ll notice that hydration is a key theme here: it’s vital for getting the shave right. BBA shave oil can be massaged into the skin, using luxurious prickly pear oil to give the skin a real treat. A great oil to use if you want to avoid clogging the razor.

 

Step 4: Mark the lines

An optional step – BBA shave butter is a non-lathering product that can be used to mark the lines you’ll be cutting effectively before you start cutting. Encourage clients to use this at home, either as a shaving cream or a priming product. It also traps moisture on the skin.

 

Step 5: Raise the heat

A hot towel is an essential part of any luxurious shave. Make sure your client is comfortable with the towel’s heat, then fold it inwards and wrap round the chin and forehead. This puts maximum heat and hydration into the most difficult area. You can use this opportunity to prep.

Quick tip – you can leave the towel over the top of the face during the rest of the shave

 

Step 6: Apply the shaving cream

The BBA shaving cream is a great product for your clients to take home, as it promotes great shaving habits. The lid can be used as a shaving bowl, encouraging use of a proper shaving brush that will retain heat. It also contains the powerful antioxidant known as dragon’s blood.

 

Step 7: Get shaving

It’s time to do what barbers do best: cut the hair. Chris recommends feather razors, and offers a few shaving tips: Work with speed and tension. Shave with the grain. You should shave the most difficult area – around the nose – first, as this part can make the client tense.

 

Step 8: Add more hydration

Don’t be stingy – you can apply more shaving cream as you go to make sure the skin stays hydrated. Remember to use both forehand and backhand strokes as necessary, pulling the skin tight and lifting the cheeks so that you have a nice flat area and can shave downwards.

 

Step 9: The final pass

Go back over the shaved areas at least one more time to make sure you’ve caught every stray hair. Prime the skin again, add a little more water and re-lather. Chris also chooses to change his blade to the pro blade. Simply go back over your work to ensure the smoothest results.

 

Step 10: Cooling face mask

After the shave is finished, that BBA facewash can be used again – this time as a mask. This is a great chance to give a relaxing scalp massage, too. While the mask is on, put a cool towel over the face to calm the skin. Leave for about 45 seconds.

 

Step 11: Soothe the skin

Use the BBA oil to bring a little bit more hydration to the face, then apply the post-shave balm. With dragon’s blood providing anti-inflammatory properties, the BBA balm offers your client’s skin some soothing respite. Once that’s done, you can add the moisturiser.

 

Quick tip: “Moisturisers and balms do not do the same thing. You want to make sure you use a post-shave balm because when you shave you’re taking away a tiny layer of skin.”

 

This is a comprehensive shave that your clients will love – and as you get confident don’t be afraid to add your own flourish! Big thanks to Chris Foster, and to the guys at Chris & Sons, and don’t forget that if you enjoyed this then you can find me at larrythebarberman.com, or as Larry the Barber Man on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for much more.