Learning how to cut short hair can be difficult when it comes to making a transition from hairdresser to barber can be difficult. Even those who are learning how to cut short hair as general barbers usually can have a bit of trouble initially.
With those in the fashion industry demanding more and more intricate styles, it is important to keep up ones’ skills so cutting any style of hair becomes more natural. Whether it is knowing the step-by-step process or the right arsenal of equipment to handle anything thrown your way, continuing education is important.
Fortunately, I now have the opportunity to present educational DVDs that have been made with those in mind who are looking for a perfect way to learn quickly and easily. The success that has been seen already is a thing of beauty.
For more information on these fantastic DVDs and other resources for those wanting to up their skills, check out: “http://shop.larrythebarberman.com/education/”http://shop.larrythebarberman.com/education/ and, as always, check out my Instagram for more events, information and even give-aways here: “https://instagram.com/larrythebarberman”https://instagram.com/larrythebarberman.
With palm trees waving in the cool Californian ocean breeze behind us, I sat down in the warm sunshine with Dieuwertje. Malibu Beach was the perfect setting to get this interview going and find out the story behind Dieuwertje’s success as a barber.
Finishing high school, Dieuwertje had a million ideas for her future. She wanted to do a bit of everything, with dreams of being a Marine to running a beauty salon. Essentially, she didn’t really know what she wanted to do. Inspired by her mom who ran a beauty company, Dieuwertje went to study beauty with an attitude of nonchalance but dedication to her studies nonetheless. After two years of study in the beauty industry, Dieuwertje started dabbling around hairdressing. She spent much of her time from morning to evening, even on school holidays, learning about hair styling and using toy dolls as her models. Dieuwertje progressed in her career with a very relaxed attitude, telling me that she thought along the way that “why not, everybody can learn doing haircuts”.
As we chat more, I start to ask Dieuwertje about her interest in barbering specifically. It started on a bit of a whim, when she was doing hairdressing mixed for both guys and girls. Many clients would come to her asking if she cuts beards. Her response at first was that she could, but she just didn’t have the tools for it. This was no real obstacle for Dieuwertje however, laughing as she says she “just Googled it” to find out how to barber. Her interest grew more and more in barbering and eventually Dieuwertje just decided “I want to open a barber shop”. She didn’t care too much about the doubtful questions from onlookers wondering just how she was going to start a barber shop. Dieuwertje started off small, setting up a men’s corner in her mom’s beauty salon, and refining her barbering techniques here.
Barbering was a refreshing change for Dieuwertje. While she simultaneously still cut and coloured women’s hair, she enjoyed the chilled out vibe with the guys. Rather than listening to the typical gossip and relationship problems that women tend to spill out at the hairdresser, Dieuwertje felt more comfortable doing guys hair. She invested a lot of time in education and interest in developing new techniques.
Dieuwertje never really expected barbering to take her around the world, but that’s exactly what it has done. She started entering competitions and competed in five last year. She started at the Spanish Barbering Competition and going to other countries around Europe such as The Netherlands and Britain. Her talents even took her the Barber Shop Connect, a prestigious competition where a nomination meant a lot to her. All this barbering experience and skills is a real credit to Dieuwertje – especially for someone who is only 22 years old! Not to mention the impressive fact that she is self-taught as well – this is just another reason that I felt like I was talking to a 35 year old during this interview.
Her youth is certainly just another motivating factor. Deiuwertje demonstrated to me again how motivated she was, speaking of goals she wanted to tick off her bucket list, with travel being a huge part of this. Dieuwrtje is clearly interested in barbering for the right reasons. She tells me honestly that to her it isn’t “about awards or always being the best”, but rather just self-improvement and being the best she can be at something she loves.
Dieuwertje is clever in how she combines her formal education and her life learning together. Her accumulative life experience and awesome attitude make her a great teacher as well. She runs education courses for other aspiring barbers. In these, she explains step-by-step hair cutting processes and shares her top tricks and techniques. Dieuwertje’s vast experience in barbering and approachable personality make these educational course highly effective.
Being on the younger side means that the realm of social media isn’t intimidating for Dieuwertje. She knows what hashtags to use on her instagram account and knows the right people to follow. Dieuwertje also acts an ambassador for big companies, helping to give herself a good name as well as boosting the business of companies on her Facebook.
A real unique character in the barbering industry and an inspiring one at that, chatting to Dieuwertje was really motivating. Seeing how someone so young can achieve so much with the right type of attitude and dedication is refreshing to see. For more cool chats to some incredible barbering professionals, subscribe to my youtube channel, follow me on instagram, and check out some barbering content on my Facebook page.
I headed to the first ever Best of British Barbering Convention to check out what promised to be an informative day full of networking opportunities and informative stage displays… and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. A full day of educational events featuring some of the biggest barbers in Britain today – including Josh Lamonaca, Sam Wall, Paul Mac Special and Baldy – this was a great opportunity for younger, up and coming barbers to learn from their heroes.
The setting itself was also exceptional, as the event was based at the Surgeons’ Hall, a place steeped in history; this was where the barber-surgeons of the 18th Century and beyond would have gone to practice their trade. Now, the space is more focussed on the medical side of this old career, so it was great to see barbering have the chance to bring the space to life.
I also took the opportunity to meet with the organisers, Davie Walker and Adam Sloan to find out more about their vision behind the event. Both men were keen to focus on what the event could bring to young barbers – highlighting the inclusion of contests such as the Rising Star competition and the Apprentice Barber of the Year. As Davie tells me, this was an excellent opportunity for young barbers to have their turn on the stage.
For Davie, this was underpinned by one key focus for the event: education. The idea was that everybody who attended would be able to take something new away with them by the end of the day; Adam adds that they were keen to see something a bit different on stage, inviting barbers that offered something a little bit outside of the box.
With so many big barbering events taking place at the moment, it’s really nice to see Scotland getting it’s turn in the limelight, and the event also allowed Adam and Davie to launch the Scottish Barber of the Year contest, which will run alongside similar competitions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Adam sees these events as being both “inspirational” and “aspirational”, and as an attendee myself that was certainly the vibe that I picked up throughout the day.
So what’s next for the team behind the Best of British Barber Expo? Well, it’s still too early to say – however if you check out their Facebook page then you’ll see that they’re already teasing a 2017 event which is sure to be just as informative and exciting as this year’s expo. And, with so much great networking going on throughout the day, we may well see other projects spring up – which would certainly be no bad thing.
So for everybody who’s interested in seeing how the barbering industry develops over the next few years, my best advice would be to keep an eye on what these guys are up to – they’re keen to be a driving force behind pushing the industry forward. In the meantime, I’d love to see you on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, where you’ll find a lot more barbering news, as well as reviews of the latest clippers and interviews with barbering stars. You can also get in touch with me at any time, by heading over to my online contact page.
I have something really special for you today: an in-depth interview with Wahl’s Simon Shaw. As Wahl’s European Artistic Director, Simon has one of the most desirable jobs in the industry, so it was a pleasure to sit down with him. As Simon says, Wahl is ‘the jewel’ that so many barbers want to work at, so I was very interested to find out how he got started in the job.
In 1985, he was working as a hairdresser in Dimensions, and started broadening his work to include shoots, journal covers and trade shows. This led him to start working with Goldwell, joining their academy in Mayfair; over the next 5 years Simon tells me that he completed around 300 courses – becoming one of their most popular educators.
After this he was introduced to a Wahl rep, and started doing exhibition work, managing to juggle the additional workload while still keeping up with his other commitments. This is the first of many examples of Simon’s utter dedication to the industry, putting his all into everything that the job throws at him. Then, back in 1999, he was asked to help open up an academy to educate people on how to work with clippers. They started with just two courses, basic and advanced, and have just gone from strength to strength… the rest, as they say, is history.
To get a real sense of what it takes to live Simon Shaw’s life, he talks me through his schedule over the previous week. As a man who is often on the road myself shooting videos and meeting barbers, I know just how much it takes out of you to be constantly travelling and, in Simon’s case, performing. This is just a small sample of Simon’s life as artistic director at Wahl:
On the Monday, he started his week in Hereford, doing a seminar with one of Wahl’s biggest accounts. On Tuesday, he was meeting a tailor in Belfast, before flying all the way back to Bolton for a seminar. By Thursday, he was in London, doing an in-store demonstration for Debenhams accompanied by two barbers from Ted’s Grooming Room. He made it back home to Yorkshire on Friday for a couple of nights, before heading down to Kent on Sunday for a two-day course.
It’s tiring just hearing how much work Simon puts in, and this is one of the points that he reiterates throughout the interview; young barbers need to understand how much effort it takes to work at the top, with first-rate companies like Wahl. As Simon says, although it is important to find time for your family – he has two children and three grandchildren – when you’ve committed to a job, you just have to do it.
Working with Wahl
Renowned for clippers that set the standard throughout the industry, as well as world-class training and other exceptional products, it’s safe to say that Wahl is a giant of the industry. So, while I have Simon with me, I don’t want to waste the opportunity to find out more about the work that he does with Wahl.
He explains the two different sides to his job: on the one hand, devising the upcoming training programme and looking for the best educators for different courses, and on the other teaching his own students. Watch the full interview to find out more about these very different roles, as well as what Simon describes as his “forte”: the evening seminars where he mixes hairdressing, barbering and entertainment to create an excellent stage show.
These also include his trademark haircut, the flick and smack. I ask Simon a little more about it: “We’d devised a texture blade which could thicken add texture, but the results I was seeing looked too bulky. So, I practiced and practiced to make it better, got the flick of the comb and the clipper technique going.”
We also talk about the rest of the artistic team: Michael Damiano, 5ive, Carl Blake and Joth Davis. Simon finds that they all bring different strengths to the team, and gives me a real sense of what he calls the “orchestration” of the incredible barbers that he works with. He adds that he is taking notice of the other excellent barbers out there today, who may be interested in joining the team – but has to wait for the right moment to bring new people in. That said, there are other positions which top UK barbers are starting to fill: notably Hooker and Young, who ate coming in as creative directors in 2017, so that will be big.
One of the recent pushes from Wahl has been cordless clippers, using lithium batteries to increase the power and longevity. I ask Simon about this product range: “People think corded clippers will give them more power, but with cordless clippers you’re getting the same movement. They also think it will run down halfway through a cut – with our products, like the Finale, the lithium batteries make them quick charging… we’d love to convert some of the old-school barbers.”
Life on the Road and the Future of the Industry
So how does somebody as busy as Simon Shaw relax? Well, he admits that he finds it difficult to switch off, but he still finds a respite from work in his family. Spending time with his girlfriend, two children and three grandchildren is the most relaxing part of his life: “you forget everything when you see them”.
I also ask him where he thinks he’d find himself if he hadn’t got into this industry. It’s clearly something he’s thought about before – and he admits that he sometimes worries about it – but trusts in his winner’s instinct. At any rate, seeing how passionate Simon is about the hair industry makes it hard to imagine him doing anything else!
But, although it can be a busy life, Simon also finds himself very lucky to be able to spend so much time travelling around the world. At the moment, he’s particularly interested in India, seeing a whole untapped market of ordinary barbers, as well as Europe, where the barbering skills are becoming very strong and producing a lot of up and coming talent.
I also wonder what’s got Simon fired up about the barbering industry right now – after all, he must have seen some big changes in his 31 years in the industry. He tells me that barbers have “galloped the gap recently, it’s become cool to be a barber… barbering used to have such a low reputation, but it’s the fastest growing part of the industry. It’s like a tidal wave, with the style and the old-school chairs – now everyone wants to be a barber. There are academies where you can learn while doing your day job.”
On the other hand, he sees the huge egos that the industry creates as a possible negative, with some barbers becoming too caught up in the competitive element of barbering. While the barbers that I meet are very grounded, I’ve heard this same concern from them too. In the full interview, you can hear us talk a little more about what might be behind it – including Simon’ thoughts on social media – and how to overcome it, or keep it real.
We also spoke briefly about state regulation; while some states in America are considering deregulating barbering, Simon – who sits on the barber council – sees it as a good thing. That said, he thinks that the hair and barber council “need to up their game, get more information out there, explain what state registration really means (…) it’s about high standards, qualifications.”
To wrap things up, I just have a few final questions for Simon, including what he sees as his biggest achievement at Wahl?
“I can get quite emotional talking about this, my biggest achievement is going into the shops, going into Harrods and seeing a shelf full of products with my face on the packaging: Premier products. Everybody wants a product range, to see their products in shops like Selfridges, and that’s my biggest achievement in Wahl.”
He also shares some advice for barbers who aspire to reach the same heights in their own careers: “I’m a big believer in being at the right place at the right time. Make your own luck. Be seen at events, especially when you’re young. Go to ever award, every lunch, to be seen and meet people. You need to be seen out there, but you need to be nice.”
If you’d like to see Simon in action, then you can head to one of his seminars; take a look at the Wahl website for upcoming dates. He also has more courses coming up at the Wahl Academy if you want to work with him in a more intimate setting. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow me on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages; you can also contact me online to find out more information about my work.
Chris Vaughan, AKA the Beverly Hills Barber, was kind enough to spare me some time during the Salon International barbering convention. I took the opportunity to find out a lot more about his work as one of Oster’s ambassador, and as a high-end professional barber.
As always, we started out by talking about Chris’ initial step into barbering – and it turns out that barbering has surrounded him pretty much his entire life. In fact, as a child in Buffalo New York, the family’s hair salon was actually located at their house, making joining the family trade as a fourth-generation barber pretty much a given!
Now of course, Chris is one of Oster’s esteemed brand ambassadors, and I was very curious to find out more about how he got the gig, especially since I know that many barbers reading this will be wondering how to advance their career in a similar way. Well, believe it or not, Chris started by turning the job down – thinking that it would require too much prep work. Luckily for everybody who has experienced Chris’ work as an Oster representative, they kept asking, and eventually he decided to give it ago.
I want to know more about the Oster clippers that he works with, and it’s clear to see how highly he rates them. In my travels, I’ve found the rotary motors – or what Chris calls the universal motors – of the classic and ’76 models to be a slightly acquired taste, but as Chris says, they are also a standard of the industry. He tells me that “other companies make their blades to fit on our clipper, it’s the first and the best.” Of course, many, many barbers agree with Christ, giving Oster the excellent reputation that it holds today.
We also chat about their new clipper, the MX Pro, a clipper with a magnetic motor which greatly diversifies the Oster range. Chris tells me that this is “ergonomically designed, great for smaller hands, with easy adjustment. You get the standard four guides in the box too, it’s a wonderful entry level clipper. Perfect for people who are just starting out – then you can evolve into the larger line.”
As much as I love talking about clippers, there’s a whole lot more that I want to talk to Chris before the interview is over, not least his work as the Beverly Hills Barber. His career has taken him to the esteemed John Allan’s Men’s Club, a barbering an men’s grooming chain which has been going since 1988 delivering what Chris describes as “the spa experience, but for men”. Incredibly, this is another opportunity that Chris turned down at first, however yet again he ended up taking the opportunity and never looking back.
Their service consists of a shampoo, haircut, hot towel, manicure and shoe shine, with membership packages that allow men to simply enjoy the experience as often as they want to. You can find out more about the barbershop – and their partnership with the famous Saks Fifth Avenue department store by watching the full video, however in honour of my recent series on men’s shaving I want to run you through the shaving process that they offer.
As Chris says, even their basic shave is a truly high-end service. They use 5 towels, including 4 hot towels, as well as pre-shave cream and, most importantly, an incredible razor. Chris swears by the Duo Feather razor: “oh my goodness, it gives a smooth shave, and best of all consistency – the key to success!” They also have a hot lather machine that will provide the perfect, relaxing, warm lather to assist with the shave.
He also goes over the face for a second pass – and, where appropriate, shaves against the grain to get that closer shave. Now, if you’ve been watching my recent shaving you’ll know that not all skin types should be shaved against the grain, and this is something which Chris reiterates in the interview. He also explains how you can be safe if you are shaving against the grain, using a safety razor to avoid damage. We also discuss why the straight razor remains so popular even to this day; as Chris says, it’s all about the nostalgia.
Throughout the video, Chris talks with an amazing amount of passion, so the final thing that we discuss is how he passes this on to other barbers through his education programme. He tells me that the secret is to keep it “basic and simple”, both with his stair step method class and the more advanced demarcation class. These are clipper classes, and they’re great for hair stylists who may not be used to using clippers and need to learn how to serve their male clients with “confidence and dexterity”.
UK fans of Chris Vaughn’s work will be delighted to hear that he also has plans to bring private classes to the UK, partnering up with Kevin Corley of the K Barbers Emporium. For American fans, this also means that Kevin will be offering classes in the States, as both world class barbers will be offering training sessions on one and others’ home turf. Excellent news for every young barber reading this or watching the video and wondering how to learn from one of the greats!
I’m delighted that Chris ends the interview with some very kind words about my own work! I love providing barbers with all of the information that you need to do an even better job, and I hope that you’ve learned something from this video. To see more, don’t forget to head to my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages; you can also contact me online to get in touch directly.