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Where Did Garry Spencer and the British Barber Bash come from?

 

Today I got the chance to find out where and how Garry exploded on to the British barbering scene at the Royal Clifton Hotel in Southport in the Balmoral function room where this event first started, in the very same room! Just like me, barbers are always questioning where Garry came from. The founder of the Great British Barber Bash, Garry Spencer, had hosted this lively event for the very first time last April with such names as: Danny Robinson, Alan Beak, Robin Van Ricks, Sid Sitong, and many others. I actually surprised him here after organizing it with the manager! Classic Barberman style! The idea for the show initially struck Garry while he was walking around a pool in Spain and the rest is history. That first event, that I had the honor of attending, Garry and his crew had no idea whether they would sell sixty tickets or a hundred. Now, the Great British Barber Bash sells between four to five-hundred tickets.

Garry himself got started in the Youth Training Scheme back in 1986, only earning £26 per week, but his determination and passion for barbering pushed him onward. He found himself working in New York for some time before he opened his own barbershop in Preston, sponsored by Paul Mitchell.  “I used to go to every hair show that I could,” Garry tells me. “I just absolutely loved it.” He also took the chance to enter into numerous competitions and ended up doing quite well. He opened up his first shop twenty-four years ago and that eventually turned into five shops around Liverpool, Southport and Preston. In every shop, as he puts it, he always pushed to be on the cutting edge of the industry and enjoyed it time and time again.

Unfortunately, when the recession hit Garry found himself enjoying it less and scaled down to one shop. That didn’t stop Garry, however. He went from being a salon owner to managing more events. “I was always good at organizing people,” he explains. “-as well as giving out energy. Really, when you enjoy doing something, it’s not all that hard to get into it.” The second Great British Barber Bash took place in Scotland at the Drygate microbrewery with over two-hundred and seventy people in attendance and included Davey the Barber as well as Rebel Rebel. His last show took place in Liverpool with five-hundred and fifty people and more exhibitors than ever. “I don’t want to have too many exhibitors,” he tells me. “Other events do that. Instead, I want the focus to be on what is happening on stage. I want people to walk in and say “this is cool”, to be talking about it in the car all the way to the event and in the car after leaving it.”

He remains unconcerned about the Barber Bash growing as large as it has. He has big plans: doing four to five shows per year with lots of varied guests. “I’d like to take it to America, at some point, and have gotten an offer to do one in Dubai.” More than anything, he wants the events to be kept short and sweet as well as affordable for attendees. He believes that everyone should get the chance to experience the excitement and challenge of the Great British Barber Bash.” He continues on with more general advice: “You need to be constantly evolving and doing different things,” Garry explains. “The only problem, really, is that with us packing in so much quality stuff it can leave out good people since there is only one winner per in terms of competition. Running competitions is a lot of work, which is why I have only ran two competitions.” However, with experience, and the dedication he has now, Garry has big plans in 2016 to bring back the competition to the Barber Bash; bigger and better than ever before!

For someone who has been cutting hair for thirty years, the majority being men’s hair, as well as someone who has worked at Vidal Sassoons, Garry is someone who has never lost his spirit in wanting to give back to the barbering community. He loves doing educational activities for those interested in the craft and tells me that he wants to expand that sense of community: local, barbers and enthusiasts alike. His advice to others is also incredibly valuable when it comes to promoting their work and businesses alike. “Promotion is key,” he explains. “Social media is a huge driving force and it helps to have a good team on board that can help you run that aspect of your business. I have five people working for the Barber Bash and all of them handle different things. I also respond to all inquiries – especially from new, up and coming people, so don’t be afraid to reach out to me, because I will get back to contactors.”

Garry remembers what it was like to be in that same position and the advice that he got from others. In short, he advises: “Work hard. The harder you work, the luckier you get. Keep everything about quality, not quantity. Keep working, keep going to workshops, keep going to classes – you have to keep evolving.”

In short, Garry is happy to see the successes of the Barber Bash. There is an upcoming even in February in Manchester. Garry himself plans on organizing more competitions, taking the Barber Bash everywhere he can and bringing together a community of barbers, enthusiasts and locals that his long-standing passion has driven him to inspire.

If you enjoyed this interview then don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more, follow me on Instagram, and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com.

 

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Barber: Casey Of Dean And White barbershop Ilkeston Talks Barbering

In the county of Derbyshire, I sit down with barber Casey of Deakin and White Barbershop to talk about his journey into barbering, his experiences and his advice to others. Casey got his start as an apprentice in a small barbershop named Egos and then moved on to Deakin And White where he continued to progress along. His partners for the two shops, soon to be three that he works with, Casey spent seven years working for – Richard Deakin and Ian White. After spending those years building the brand into what it is today, Casey became the third partner. With two shops, one in Long Eaton and the other in Ilkeston, his hometown. “There’s on in Derby in the pipeline,” he tells me.

Casey has worked hard to continue to build the brand and the shops in his time. His hard work paid off in the Ilkeston shop when it was nominated for Barbershop of the Year – specifically, that shop. I asked him for some of his ninja tricks in setting up a shop, since Casey is clearly doing something right. “It’s about branding, really. We try to keep the brand professional as well as maintaining good customer service and making sure people enjoy the shop.” The customer experience for him is about making sure the customer feel relaxed and in a good, sociable environment: good music, good environment, over all. He also mentions staying on the cutting edge of services by studying what services are being offered. An example is that Casey himself offers hot towel facials, which is a service he feels many are lacking in his area.

Their shaving experience, as Casey describes it, is a standard shave: “We start with a hot towel, an exfoliator to open up the pores, then a hot lather. We do two shaves with a straight razor, then use a cold towel and finally moisturize. It’s all standard, but no one else is doing it in our area. We like to see what people in the big cities are doing as well as what is on social media.”

In another progressive move for the shop, Casey also adopted an appointment booking system, taking inspiration from Cut Throat Pete. “Customers would be waiting two, three, even four hours to get their hair cut. They told me that they wished they could just book in and after seeing Pete do it, I figured it was the right move. It’s proven extremely convenient for us and I’m fully booked in every day.” As for walk-ins, they can still get a spot if there is no one booked at the time. If not, as Casey puts it, “Have a seat and one of the boys will be with you.” Another policy adopted in was Barber Luke’s idea to charge if a client wants in after 7pm. “We charge £15 – if they want a haircut bad enough they’ll pay, right?” Casey laughs.

Another innovative move by Casey and his partners comes in the form of the Deakin and White Academy, a move that Casey describes as originating from their hairdressing friends approaching them for help with fades and other barbering techniques. “A lot of them would come in or see what we were doing on Instagram and ask how they could achieve that. Whether it was clipper techniques, or over comb or razor techniques, we wanted to pass along what we knew. We either host them here in the salon or in their own work environment so they can feel more comfortable. We get them popping into our shop and on social media alike – it feels good to be able to help them make that transition.”

So where does such an inspiring young man get his inspiration? Casey laughs and tells me: “Instagram is massively helpful. A few names I get inspiration from are people like Allen Beak and Cut Throat Pete, amongst others. Instagram lets me mix between barbers and non-industry pages alike for inspiration. If someone comes in wanting a style, or something new, I’ll often turn them to Instagram to give them some ideas – you also have to have the gumption to tell them if something isn’t going to work with their hair style, the shape of their head, etc. Instagram and the hair inspiration pages you see on it are massively helpful, and I recommend others to seek out idea from there. It’s honestly one of the most satisfying things for me, personally, to have our work recognized on social media and by people. We did some work at the Barber Bash and it was great to be recognized.”

Casey and his partners plan on hopefully taking the stage at the Barber Bash in 2016, as well as continuing to attend more events and focusing on the shop to continue to improve the brand. He also predicts that long hair will be sneaking back into style soon – so keep an eye out!

Of course, in true Barberman fashion, I asked him about his opinion of the Frequency60hz and American hair clippers. “I love the power behind them,” he tells me. “My go to is my Wahl Senior, and before I found the Frequency60hz, it just wasn’t putting out the same performance: the power would cut out, the blades would need to be changed, it just wasn’t living up. Now that it is being powered properly, it is a thousand times better. My advice to every barber out there looking to work with American clippers – get the Frequency60hz; it will vastly improve your performance.”

If you enjoyed this interview then don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more, follow me on Instagram, and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com.

 

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Master Barbers Robert and Dan Rix, Reveal Barber and Retailing Success Secrets

I sit down with the owner of the Master’s Barber Shop Robert Rix and his son Daniel. Robert came from being trained by some of the best in the world at the Knightsbridge School and mentored by the acclaimed Vidal Sassoon, amongst other big names. Robert found his way to a world where cutting the hair of celebrities was commonplace.

Robert began an apprenticeship at fifteen. He went on to his training and that led to his decision to look for work in London. Though he may not have realized it at the time, Robert soon found that the environment was tremendously inspiring and would lead him on a further journey to where he is today. In the years they have been open, business has grown quite nicely.

Daniel was more interested in becoming a part of a television crew for a bit, but eventually turned towards barbering as he became interested in the background behind it and how it had attributed to his family for so long; the barber life is contagious.

Robert has also been a state registered barber since the 80s and went in with what was called the old hairdressing council before hair council formed. He sits on the hairdressing council and plays a part in how state registration occurs. He has been plugging away at making state registration for over fifty years, and firmly believes that state registration offers a professional prestige in making a barber more respectable within the industry. Both Robert and Dan plan on continuing the fight to set the standards higher, and it is clear that they exude professionality in how they operate.

To put it in perspective: Robert and Daniel pull in over one-hundred and fifty shaves per week. Compared to the average of thirty-five per week for other barbers, the level of business they pull in is awe-inspiring! For those who are looking to up their shaving skills, Robert advises: “be slick, be efficient, be hygienic and really master your craft.” He adds, with a wink, “Take some courses – there’s a little self-plug, as we do offer shaving courses.”

Not only have they won numerous awards, or have come close to winning, but they have also seen victory in multiple categories. Dan recollects that his talent with television and media helped them in publishing a photo collection of their work into four magazines, such as Britain’s Best with the National Hair Federation where they were runner-up, and Red Rose, where they came in second in the qualification. The shop itself also, to Dan and Robert’s delight, won the award for male-grooming salon of the year by HJ. “We beat some very stiff competition,” Robert tells me. “No one was more surprised than us when they called our names at the London award ceremony.”

I firmly believe that any barber that really wants to learn from some of the best ought make the journey out to the arcade and see how Robert, Dan and their employees run the shop, especially when it comes to retail-selling. They are so good at this particular aspect of their business that they even won the runner-up in an award for retail-selling outlet of the year. “We were beaten by an eight shop chain. However, we were up against a multinational chain and we beat them as a one outlet operation.” It is easy to see why they went so far in the competition. The product ranges that Robert and Dan strive to bring in are vast, luxurious products that are all the absolute top of the line. “We do a ton of research into the products. We try to deal with top end suppliers and have exclusive agencies, whether it is blue-chip perfume houses or brushes, we stock in-depth.” From what they tell me, if you can’t find it on the high street, you can find it there – treasure hunters rejoice!

A large part of their success is the knowledge and discretion they put into each sale. As Dan explains it, “No client comes in and says I want to buy so-and-so razor. They turn to me and ask what’s the best razor for me? You have to have that knowledge of the product in order to list the pros and cons.” Robert adds, “If someone asks about a perfume that will make them smell like a jasmine tree, we will have a recommendation off the bat.” From perfumes to brushes, whether it is badger brushes, horse-hair or synthetic, they can tell you the details from the brush material to the very timber.

Each sale, Dan explains, is handled in a consultative manner rather than the pushy sales that everyone is afraid of dealing with. He relates a sale where he sold over two-hundred pound of product and the gentleman told him that he was a salesman and appreciated how he had handled the sale – that stuck with him, and the consultative mindset has remained. They go out of their way to understand the clients, partners and products and this has proven greatly successful for them. The staff is trained by Robert and Dan personally, so that sales and service never change in quality. “We bring them through the National Hair Federation scheme and it is a three year involvement. They have to qualify at level two and level three.” Robert explains, “Because I also educate I can keep a close eye on their training – we simply insist on having the best.” When it relates to their clients and the exponential growth, it is clear that this is a method that many barbers can learn from.

Robert tells me their specialties lie in razor cutting and scissor cutting with extreme precision. In fact, they usually shave by using hot towels and then lathering the client as the apprentice does the finishing work by washing the rest off; he quotes having a preference for shaved hairstyles and shaves in general, and with the numbers they are pulling in, it is easy to see that his preference has become something of a trademark. “Customers found us online and come in, wanting flattop crew cuts or styles from the 50s’, like the pompadours,” Dan laughs. “That’s a big part of the requests we get, anyways.”

Another of their major specialties is in after-care retail services. Utilizing their experience and thorough understanding

Robert and Daniel both have a lot to offer in the way of inspiration to others looking to be barbers. Robert teaches hairdressing at West Lancs College as well as teaching advanced work to other hairdressers in a studio above the Master Barber’s Shop on Lord Street. Robert and Dan plan to eventually grow to an even larger operation with more recruits on board. If any barber out there really wants to learn from the masters, they should plan an adventure out to the Master Barber’s Shop and see these retail-selling and shaving superstars in action for themselves!

If you enjoyed this interview then don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more, follow me on Instagram, and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com.

 

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Competition Winning Barber Tariq Howes Talks Barbering

At Fadez Barber Shop Cardiff in Wales, I stop in to speak to barber Tariq Howes and get the scoop on his journey as a barber. Tariq is part of the exclusive group the Young Feds and has practiced as a competition barber in his decade long career.

Tariq started his journey after leaving school. Like many young school leavers, he was set out to look for a career path and his eyes set on barbering. “It just seemed like a cool place to work,” Tariq tells me. “You could socialize, the environment was great and it just seemed to be right for me.” That can-do attitude led him towards finishing up his education towards barbering and eventually he got a call back from a shop where he put in four years of hard work. “I learned if you work hard enough to even break your boundaries, you’ll get even more than where you want to be.”

The competitions would take him even further. “I ended up winning the Barber Bash and, with the Young Feds, you have to win in order to even join up. Competitions are outstanding when it comes to helping expand talent as well as progression in your career – I do it for those reasons over the money, for sure. Being part of the Young Feds has given me a lot of opportunities to compete, learn, and have a team where we can really just bounce ideas around and keep getting better.”

As for the Young Feds, Tariq had been following their journey for quite some time on social media. “Danny (Danny Robinson) and I – you know Danny – we had been speaking for quite some time on Instagram, and I had been following the journey of the Young Feds and his journey, in particular, for a long time. I thought they were superstars!” He laughs. It must feel fantastic to have risen through the ranks all the way to superstar! Though, Tariq is a modest sort, so I spared calling him as much. In fact, he talks a bit about how he feels that social media is especially important. “I used it to showcase some of my work and it really helped me actually believe that I am good at what I do.”

The award winning barber talks about his style and signatures when it comes to his cuts: “I’m partial to fades, really.” Goes with the shop name, for sure! “- when I had hair, I was working with a lot of afros and Asian styles. Honestly, I think it really depends on the area and what is common where your shop is located, but I like to do all kinds of hair: styles, colors, all of it. I started out doing flat tops and high fades with my Wahl Five Star Legends and it helped me work my way up towards being more professional with styles.”

Ah, another fan of American clippers! Tariq comments that he is more used to American clippers due to growing up around them. “I tried other clippers, but they never felt quite as powerful to me as the Five Star did; it helped me get where I am, so I almost feel like it has a special power to it.” He also notes that he likes using scissors frequently for most hair types, especially when it comes to afros and flat tops, as they give them that Tariq-patented look.

What does the future hold for the Young Fed? Tariq admits that he is focused on just staying a barber for now, before he shoots further for the stars. He enjoys being known for his particular style and approach. “Adam (Adam Solan) has got some stuff in the pipeline for the Young Feds, though,” he smiles. Fans of the Young Feds should be sure to keep an eye out.

With a decisive jump into barbering and the dedication to recognize his own talents and work hard to keep getting better, inside and outside of the competitive barbering world, Tariq is another great example of where hard work can land a barber if they’re willing to put in the time.

If you enjoyed this interview then don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more, follow me on Instagram, and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email Larry at info@larrythebarberman.com.

 

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Sarah Of Fox And The Barber Hong Kong Talks Barbering

A nostalgic twist to an old interview of mine, I spoke with Sarah, the owner of the innovative Fox and the Barber located in scenic Hong Kong. Last time, I spoke with Alf about his experience moving out to Hong Kong and the differences between it and London. Sarah was the one that brought him out and had just as interesting of a tale as Alf did.

She got her start as a hairdresser in London, and wanted to steer towards working in the city. As it turned out, she found her perfect job working Monday to Friday in a barbershop, where she coincidentally met her husband. Sarah ended up falling in love with him, and barbering at the same time. “Men are very loyal,” she explains, “and very trusting. If you think something looks good, they are more likely to trust you, and it feels great knowing that I’ve helped them feel their best at the end of the day.” Her training comes from the Toni & Guy and Vidal Sassoon academy in London, but she also admits that she is largely self-taught when it comes to clippers. She also notes that she gets a lot of her inspiration from Instagram, and Oliver Kutz in London.

It is clear that she is an enterprising woman. She’s had experience in traditional barbershops in London as well as Hong Kong, at present. “I’m still learning,” she tells me. “I liked some things in these shops, and I’ve tried to recreate some of the things that I liked and do other things better. Fox and the Barber feels much like a classic London shop, and that is how I want it to feel – Alf contributes a lot to that.” For Sarah, she pays more attention to the people than to the looks of her shop overall. “It’s all about the people. The people you have in your shop are going to be what bring clients back for more, and that’s far more important to me.”

With her shop becoming more and more established in Hong Kong, I asked Sarah what she was looking to achieve within the next few years or so. “I’d like to continue to grow our clientele and bring in new customers, of course.” She smiles, “And have another barber or two, eventually.” Wink, wink to barbers looking for an adventure! Her plans also include more shops in Tokyo, London, Singapore, and she’d absolutely love to see Alf managing one of them at some point. Understandable – Sarah wears a lot of hats: mother, barber, manager, etc. If her plans go through on the education front, she’ll be wearing even more. “I’d like to open a school here at some point. Learning that I loved barbering was a major turning point for my life, and I want to play a part in helping others who want to become a barber. I want teachers who are entirely passionate, encourage talent and someone who will work hard.”

It seems like Sarah’s plan include a lot of new talent in the upcoming years. “I’d like to see some more imports, like Alf,” she laughs, “But it’d also be great to get local Chinese barbers in – I just want to have a mix that meshes with the team, has the skill to back themselves and can really add to the team.” Sarah is classically trained, which has proven to be in high demand in Hong Kong. She doesn’t have a favorite style or specialty. Instead, she explains that she loves all types of hair and people, and loves being able to leave her shop feeling great. “That really makes my day.” Sarah adds. She does some traditional shaves, largely just for Alf and her husband at present, but says she might get into doing more when she isn’t wearing so many hats.

Her ambitions are impressive alone, but she also tells me that she would like to eventually make a Fox and the Barber product line: pomades, razors and some super badger brushes. The product line used in the shop is already pretty impressive. They conduct shaves using Penhaligon products – Penhaligon noted for their classic style, and having actually approached Sarah to work with them on doing a signature shave using their products within the shop. They also use products from Baxter of California, Schorem, Truefitt and Hill aka as the oldest barbers in London, and D R Harris. With such an incredible line-up, it is clear that Sarah will have a lot of inspiration for her own product line when she gets started.

She and Alf both definitely have a lot of aspirations and, no doubt, big things coming their way. I can only hope that when they get there, I’ll be able to return and speak with both of them, as their journey into semi-uncharted territory for barbers is nothing short of inspiring.

If you enjoyed this interview then don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more, follow me on Instagram, and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email Larry at info@larrythebarberman.com. I also invite you to check out my blog at: WWW.60hz.me/ihbar – The Frequency60hz defied what was a set cultural problem in the barbering industry; perhaps the future for barbers is in thinking outside the box.

 

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Why Every Barber Most Sanitizing Their Tools…

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Sanitation is an absolute in any shop, no matter the circumstance. Yet, many often either neglect it in some ways or approach it without the caution and commitment necessary – saying “it’s the law” just isn’t enough sometimes.

So, let’s go a bit into sanitation and why it is nothing to take lightly.  Shops have people coming in and out of it every day in vast numbers. Barbers and hair dressers are often more focused on giving the clients good service and catching up than a sanitation routine. While good service is easy to admire, it often doesn’t occur to them why these sanitation procedures are in place.

Experts on the matter such as Alan Murphy of BARBICIDE compare a shop to a hospital floor. The main difference is that hospitals are allowed to ask all about a client’s medical history – I doubt anyone of us could get away within a shop environment. That leaves it up to you to make your shop, your clients and yourself able to withstand these interactions. High risk clients are especially to consider. Of course, most of the time they don’t even realize they are high risk nor do you. The risk factors are, as an example: clients with an impaired immune system, recent surgery, diabetes, chemotherapy, breast cancer survivors, and organ transplant receivers. Those who have traveled outside the country recently or with risky careers, such as a nurse / doctor are also at high risk.

But, how are you going to know all of this intimate knowledge about your client? You won’t – it is just that simple. That is why it is so important to employ the “universal protections” standard, which starts by assuming everyone has something that could be potentially harmful to you, and vice versa. No one wants to be wrinkling their nose at every client, but keeping that mindset will help you train yourself to make sanitation as natural as the rest of your routine.

Alright, so now everyone is figuratively suspect. The next step is, you might have guessed, cleaning / sanitizing your area. This might sound like common sense, but it is something that many neglect. Tools, clippers and surfaces should be cleaned regularly with the proper tools and products – gloves are infuriating, I know, but again, assume everyone is a potential harbinger of the flu and they’ll seem a lot less bad.

The next step is disinfecting. No, that’s not the same thing as sanitizing, believe it or not. Sanitizing scratches the literal surface, but disinfection is incredibly important for avoiding the three big baddies: viruses, bacteria and germs in general; more on that in a bit. Disinfectant requirements varies per area, but an example from the states is that they require hospital grade disinfectant that has been registered with the EPA (environmental protection agency). Be certain to check with the appropriate parties before setting out to purchase things. BARBICIDE has several products that are hospital grade disinfectant, as an example again, but it still helps to know. Before diving straight in be certain to read the label on the disinfectant and absolutely understand it; hospital grade disinfectant is not a good thing to mess up with.

One of the biggest mistakes many shop owners, barbers and hair dressers make is failing to note the contact time of their disinfectants. Contact time is how long the spray, wipe or general product needs to be applied to the surface before it has been disinfected properly. Many range from between five – ten minutes of contact time; so no quick sprays and wipes, I fear. Again, BARBICIDE has wipes that have a contact time of only two minutes, but most will take up five – ten minutes.

Aside from adopting the cautious mentality and properly arming yourself with the right tools and practices, another important factor is identifying problem areas in your shop. The issue with any virus, bacteria or germ is that they can thrive on any surface in your shop, no matter what it is: soft, hard, wet, dry, etc. Bacteria especially thrive in moist, dark areas, so your towel bin is a prime target for bacteria to multiply into the hundreds of millions if left unchecked; bacteria can still survive in lit areas, mind, but darker areas are more at risk.  This doesn’t mean you just get some water riddled towels that need to be washed: the bacteria MRSA is one example of a bacteria that strikes very commonly in shops from areas just like the metaphorical towel bin. MRSA is a drug resistant bacteria and can lead to permanent scarring and death; the statistics are frightening. During flu seasons, there is also a high chance to spread viruses around more abundantly.

It’s a pain, I know – but a proper sanitation routine in place could be the difference between life and death. The effort to integrate a proper procedure in your shop will help counter these threats and work to keep you, your staff and your clients much safer going forward. You don’t have to be a hypochondriac, of course, but I cannot recommend adopting the “universal protections” rules highly enough.

Follow me on Instagram @larrythebarberman and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com.

 

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Possible Fix, For A Wahl Senior Hair Clipper Power Cutting Out

From Slicks Barber Shop in Glasgow, I received a Wahl Senior clipper that was cutting out while in use and being powered on. Obviously, in the middle of a busy day, this just isn’t going to fly, so I am writing up a quick fix guide – Larry the Barberman style.

The first thing you will want to do in this scenario is make certain that the Wahl Senior is shut off from being powered. If it has a cable, unplug it and set it down on a clean surface. The Wahl Senior comes with three screws on the back that will need to be removed with a Phillips head screwdriver. Set those screws aside in a safe place where they cannot easily roll off or be lost; I’ll explain why, shortly.

Because of the nature of the business, once you have removed the back, you’ll no doubt notice that there is a good bit of hair inside the machine. For my fix, I brought in the Hare Blower, a powerful, anti-static device that can be plugged in and used whenever needed. Keeping it just a bit above the open belly of the clipper – be cautious about where you’ve placed your screws here. The Hare Blower and similar devices can easily send them flying to the other side of the table.

With the majority of the hair cleaned out, you’ll next want to turn your attention to the switch resting in the side. On the Wahl Senior, there will be a small black switch resting in a nook on the side with two small holes around it. The issue, in this scenario, is that the finer hair from the daily work routine sometimes get stuck in those holes and essentially causes a blockage where the necessary components cannot function properly to maintain power. The collected hair and dirt stop the conductor from lining up, which is necessary for the machine to be powered. To clean out the hair, I have used a contact cleaner, which is essentially alcohol based cleaner. The can will come with a long, narrow straw attached to the nozzle, and you’ll want to have something to catch any excess liquid put underneath the clipper.

Next, for the Wahl Senior, gently lift the power cable from where it rests at the bottom of the clipper and the white box that holds the switch will rise up with it. Pulling the switch carefully outside of the clipper itself, you will want to apply the straw of the cleaner to first one side of the switch and then flip the switch over to the other side so you can clean the rest thoroughly. For any excess liquid, give the box a few gentle shakes and the rest will dry quite nicely on its own.

With that done, all that is left is to put the clipper back together and clean up. What you’ll want to do is relocate the power cable back into its proper placement. The Wahl Senior is built so that the switch will need to clip back down into the side where it was situated before, so be sure and gently push it back into position and be mindful of hearing the tell-tale clicking noise for when it has been seated. After that, all that is left is to put the back on once again and to return the screws to their proper place.

Voila! After testing it, the Wahl Senior sent to me from Slicks Barber Shop now works without the power cutting out.

For more great tips, fixes and interviews, check out Larry’s instagram @larrythebarberman and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com.

 

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Larry The Barber Man Interviews Moroccan Street Barber

Hussein is a street barber that lives a life much different from how most barbers live. Why call him a street barber? He offers his services on the Moroccan streets, in short. He is an example of how some barbers in Morocco operate: little electricity, with minimal tools and room and offering extra services such as circumcisions!

He has been operating this way for thirty years. His journey began with his inspiration to be a barber, having always wanted to do and already being quite used to it due to barbering being a family tradition. Jovial, Hussein travels by bike consistently. His bunker that he operates out of is hooked onto the back of the bike when he travels as well; the distance on a Friday, he tells me, is as far as thirty kilometers. He makes the journey happily, however, driven by the two children he wishes to support through college.  From his wooden tool kit, he uses a variety of manual tools – combs, a straight razor, and everything else he needs. While he prefers a range of manual tools, he does have on battery operated hair clipper that he uses in conjunction with his other tools to achieve the various layers and styles he can manage.

His prices are not set either. Instead, Hussein sets his prices so that it depends on what the family or person can afford to give; his standard earning is 300 dirham for a circumcision, which equals out to about 20 BGP, as one example. He will also accept as little as 5 dirham for cuts and shaves, which is the equivalent of 30 pence. It goes without saying that while I sat with him and talked via a translator that he exemplifies the spirit of a barber who makes the most of their situation and is passionate about his work. More fascinating still is that, along with his barbering services and the aforementioned circumcisions, Hussein also offers teeth extraction and even bloodletting. He, and many other barbers in the Jamra Rmat market, tend to be in their fifties or sixties and must provide these diverse services that Hussein explains they are often unqualified for starting out. Bloodletting is especially interesting – it is the process in which a person points out where they are experiencing pain and the barber will make an incision to release blood from the area with the intention to aid or cure them; in essence, draining a bit of blood. It is not so foreign, however. Bloodletting was a common practice from the old days of British barbers, as British surgeons and doctors felt that it was a service that was beneath them and would send patients to the barbers in response.

The one major downside is that the limited access to water and electricity makes sanitation of his tools and equipment very different from what we are used to. He uses hot water to cleanse his tools after use and fire to cleanse his straight razor, much like cowboys setting out to pry bullets out heating their knives. After he is done, he uses a sponge to clean the clients’ head.

Like select barbers in the Jamra Rmat market, Hussein has limited resources and makes do with what he can. Most areas do not have the same resources that most take for granted in areas like London. From the outside looking in, it is easy to see him and other barbers in Morocco as street barbers – moving constantly, working where they can and bringing their talents not for profit but for the joy of doing it and helping their community. Hussein mixes a style between both the modern and classic, and enjoys offering shaves as his calling card.

One has to wonder what street barbers like him could do if more resources for sanitation and barbering were brought to them. Having had the experience I did while speaking to Hussein. After speaking to Champ recently about the concept of his charity in Columbia and how it has brought barber life, barber love and barber brotherhood to disparaged areas and gang rivals simultaneously, my imagination is racing with ideas.

Larry’s instagram @larrythebarberman and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com or visit: http://www.larrythebarberman.com

 

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Paul Hewitt And Shane Nesibitt’s Talk “Barbers Trend Day”

Outside of my hotel in Malaga, Spain, I speak with two familiar faces after a four hour long intensive session. Four hundred plus attendees compose of motivated Spanish hair stylists, all with a thirst for information – all their eyes were on Paul Hewitt, AONO and Shane Nesbitt, Shane’s Barbershop. The event in question was a hosted seminar from Vishal Baharani’s VBD Education tour. On either side of the two-foot stage are two massive screens that were complimented by the theatre lighting. With a chair for each of the three presenters, Shane and Paul would find themselves overwhelmed afterwards.

Hip-hop music was pumping through the room while the haircuts carried out on stage. The cut comes from Shane in the form of a low skin fade to the nape. Paul follows by a low skin fade to the nape as well, and a top styled topin pomp, aka the pompadour, styled with pommade in wet hair. The last cut comes from the head of the VBD Education program himself, Vishal Baharani, as a high tight skin fade – all cuts were carried out at the exact same time! Each tutorial was shown on the big screens so that all attendees could see each step in vast details – you could see each tattooed finger running through the hair masterfully, each movement of the scissors, and hair clippers running through their models’ hair to finalize their perfect cuts.

Shane’s film crew from Northwest Production were also in attendance, filming his every move for an upcoming documentary on his life and work; they got some priceless moments, without a doubt. Shane was continuously applauded for his hard-hitting points concerning customer services and its relation to getting paid the highest amount for a barber as well as the clients’ willingness to pay that price. He did an excellent job in making a concept many thought difficult into a few simple steps.

Paul bore all of himself as well: his personal life, his business failures and successes, as well as some key barbering techniques. He held the whole of the stage show together wonderfully, especially coupled with his partner.

Champ of Champ’s Barbers also made a return, kindly being my translator for the Spanish event. He described Vishal as being captivating, enthralling in his knowledge when it came to teaching and imparting his knowledge to the attendees. He presented an amazing lesson on trends and what the next trend will be next year and why in the fashion industry. His lesson, in fact, catapulted me six months ahead of most barbers in terms of what will be in vogue and what will not. The three speakers captivated their audience, myself and even themselves according to what Shane and Paul told me about the event afterwards.

“It was super overwhelming,” Paul tells me, both he and Shane knackered after the event. “I never thought we’d be here, doing all of this – all of those eyes on us. I mean, the academy was five floors! It’s all thanks to Vishal.” He and Shane agree that Vishal was asking all the right questions in discussing subjects beyond just barbering: sacrifice, what it takes – “It got pretty deep,” they tell me.

They plan to follow the VBD Education tour all across Europe, to Argentina and even America. Even as we spoke at my hotel, the crew was packing up behind them and getting ready to head on to Seville. “We’re just following the VBD crew,” Shane laughed. When asked what either of them thought students could gain from the VBD seminars, they elaborated: “We covered so much more than just haircuts in there, from: different techniques, how to use clippers, the next fashion season, building and maintaining clientele, sanitation and the morals of being a barber.” This was all throughout four to five parts of the same seminar, and Paul and Shane both agree that Vishal was firing on all cylinders throughout.

Even I felt myself being overwhelmed during the seminar. All three presenters agreed with me that American hair clippers are the way to go and all of them were using the Frequency60hz Converter on stage to demonstrate their own American favorites. I cannot describe how humbling it was for me, nor how excited I am to have attended this fantastic seminar.

To follow their incredible journey, follow Shane on Instagram @shane_nesbitt, Paul @aonoxx, Vishal @vishalbaharani, or me http://www.instagram.com/larrythebarberman for other free barbering content. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com or http://www.larrythebarberman.com.

 

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