Today’s product demo is the Mobi M8 (pronounced Moby Mate), a unique mobile phone charging service customers absolutely LOVE!
Think about how often customers ask to charge their phone and what an inconvenient interruption it is. You’re placed in the position of having to find a spare outlet, adding stress to your circuits. Or you must interrupt your work flow to root around the shop for a spare charger. Even worse, your customer may want to sit on the floor next to the charging phone so they can use it. Uncomfortable for you and the customer, and not the image you want!
Mobi M8 is a set of 8 mini power paks and a charging station hub. Whenever a customer requests to plug in for a phone recharge, you simply hand them one of these easy-to-use mini-paks. They select which connecting cord works with their phone – each Mobi M8 pak has two – then plug in and charge while enjoying their stay at your shop. It’s that simple!
Offering this sleek mini power pak as an added service is a thoughtful and much-appreciated gesture. Customers can sit back, relax and know they are getting a charge while enjoying your barbering services.
The Mobi M8 base looks fantastic on your front counter, since each sleek mini-pak features eye-catching purple lights when charging and a solid purple band when full.
I know you are thinking the paks will go missing in no time, but that’s not the case. The mini paks’ unique charging points mean they can only be recharged at your Mobi M8 base unit. And the pak is juuuuust bulky enough that it’s very unlikely a customer will walk off with it accidentally.
The Mobi M8 says a lot about you and your dedication to customer care. It is the kind of ‘extra’ people tell their friends about. I think no barber shop should be without one!
That’s today’s product demo; a very handy device that adds a touch of sophistication and thoughtful care to your customer service. I hope you enjoyed learning about it, and if you would like to know more, just shoot me a message at info@larrythebarberman, or watch me demo it on my YouTube @larrythebarberman.
Breakout Reality Star and musician revisits barbering roots at Myles Lewis’ new shop; reveals mental health struggles
In an amazing interview at the new Stag and Dagger Barber Shop in Basildon, breakout star, Love Island 2017 winner and #1 recording artist Kim Cetinay talked with me about coming up as a Hornchurch barber, struggling with anxiety and depression, his commitment to mental health, and his friendship with Guerilla Barbering founder Myles Lewis.
Kem also let on that he was doing cuts in the villa on Love Island, including contestant Marcel Somerville’s ever-fresh fade!
“Marcel with his Afro-Caribbean hair, everyone thought he must be getting a skin fade fresh every morning,” Kem recalls, looking relaxed in t-shirt and ripped jeans, accompanied by Stag and Dagger owner Myles. “But it was just me doing it with one set of clippers and a couple guards. I was giving everyone fades. I was a little bit rusty doing the cuts and trim, but I love the fades!”
Kem was on hand to help promote the grand opening of Stag and Dagger, Myles’ first owned shop. I enjoyed the banter back and forth between the two – it was clear they share a lot of mutual respect and affection.
“Barbering was something I was massively, massively passionate about,” Kem recalls. “Myles was the one who introduced me to the industry and he was a big inspiration for me, especially with what he was doing charity-wise, with Guerilla Barbering. He was the first person to do it,” he told me.
“When I first started with him, his fades weren’t on point but his long haircuts were,” Myles laughs. “We worked in the same area of Hornchurch and we used to do a haircut called “The Forte.”
“A proper Essex boy haircut,” Kem adds. “Basically, my haircut.”
“A forte with a taper,” says Myles “Then Kem’s fades just became like a madness.”
“It became my thing,” Kem agrees. “It was just fades, fades, fades and I became obsessive about fades. I was doing videos and everything. My fades were getting ridiculous.”
“People don’t realize Kem was coming up in the industry (before Love Island),” Myles insists. “He’d done the Great British Barber Bash, Salon International, he’d done Barber Connect.”
“I was on ‘Good Morning, Britain,’” Kem chimes in.
“I do get a bit obsessive,” Kem admits. “I wanted to be biggest in the UK. I was getting better and better so quick. Then Love Island came up and it was the same. I was adamant I was going to win. Now, I am adamant that I am not stopping there,” he said. “I just finished my other show, just threw out a song that got number one, and I just want to keep pushing.”
In recent weeks, Kem has used his new-found fame as a platform to discuss his struggle with mental health, another bond he shares with Myles. They each hint their difficulties are part of the motivation behind Guerilla Barbering.
“He was leader of the Guerilla gang,” Myles told me.
“I used to go to all the events, did a lot of the pop-up shops. We slept out on the street to raise money,” Kem recalls. “It is an unbelievable cause, what Myles is doing.”
“I am gonna soon be running a big campaign with Childline for kids with mental health and anxiety,” Kem adds. “Me and Myles are on the same wavelength on this. Any way I can help to keep pushing Guerilla Barbering I will, because Childline is obviously a huge, huge charity.”
Kem’s years-long struggles with anxiety and depression related to his mother’s illness are now well known, thanks to his forthright and candid interviews on the subject. “Anxiety and mental health, it is just all fear,” he says in our interview. “You get to a point where you learn that you’ve run it way from it all your life. It’s effect on me, well, there are a lot of thing people don’t know. I didn’t do my GCSE’s at school and I missed out on a lot of things.”
“You stand up and you think, ‘What am I gonna do in my life?’” he continues. “And for me, I thought ‘I am either going to sit here and not have a life, or I am going to make something of myself.’ And look where I am today.”
“I think regardless of people saying, ‘Yeah, Love Island and blah, blah,’ well, you put yourself out there to get these opportunities. Part of it is luck, but once I was there it was me that won the show, it was me that done all this, putting myself out there and making these things happen.”
Myles adds, “In my specific case, I had been on meds for 5 or 6 years for anxiety and depression, and what helps me are my missus, my kids and my pals – my mates that care.”
Looking at Kem, he adds, “We can talk about things and if someone is your friend they will listen to you. I can count my friends on one hand now; I’ve got my boys, I’ve got my family. That is who I talk to, who I open up to, and there are a lot of us out there who struggle with mental health and anxiety.”
Looking to Myles, Kem says “I think that’s one thing you’ve done is you was at a stage before we was working together you was kind of giving up on it, but you’ve stood up and you said, “I’ve got a family, I’ve got kids, I’m talented and I’m gonna make something of what I can do.’”
“Really, I’ll be honest,” Kem continues, turning his attention to me. “I don’t go and promote just anything. I’m not just here to promote today because Myles is my friend. I am genuinely here because I think he gonna smash it and I think everyone needs to appreciate what he has done personally and with Guerilla Barbering.”
Myles agrees. “I know it sounds stupid, but (if you have anxiety) turn yourself into a ‘public figure,’ push yourself forward. It helps doing interviews like this one. Me and Kem did an advert with Shell, but realistically we are anxious people and we don’t do our best with that kind of situation.”
“Riding the Tube all over London!” Kem recalls. “But when you put yourself in that situation, you overcome that.”
I asked them what a young person struggling with mental health should do.
“Call Childline,” Kem said. “They’ve got people who know what they are talking about; people who are a constant help and who understand.”
Myles agrees. “Call these people. I didn’t know about them growing up, so we need to keep telling people that there is excellent help available.”
Turning back to barbering, I asked Kem about the public perception that he is hairdresser rather than a barber. How did that happen?
“When I went on Love Island, I’ve got long hair, I’m from Essex, and so they wanted me to be that typical hairdresser guy that does all the girls’ hair.” he relates.
“But I am not hairdresser; I have always been a barber,” he say firmly. “When I was in there and girls asked me to do their hair, I was blagging my way through women’s haircuts. It was a joke!”
Hear that, UK? Kem is a loud and proud BARBER. Not a hairdresser!
“Completely!” affirms Kem. “Barbering has really taken off. Everyone thinks it is hairdressing, but it is barbering that is setting the trends. Everyone has got video on it. I think it has really taken over from hairdressing.”
I asked Kem for tips to young people just starting out in barbering and he answers very quickly: “Forget the shows! Just be around good barbers. Don’t put yourself in a shop where you might feel like you’re getting a lot of time on the chair but you aren’t around good barbers. Be around a good barber who is enthusiastic who will put the time in to teach you. That was the best thing with me.
“Don’t copy right off. Put out your own style,” Kem continues. “The people you look up to got there because they did their own thing. By copying them, you are only copying the crowd. Barbering is special because there is not a right way or wrong way. You see someone walking around with line in their hair, they might want that line. Three or four months later that might be a trend. There is so much experimenting, so put your own touch to everything, your own style. It’s not an office job. Do your thing!”
So what’s next for Britain’s newest star?
“I am sleeping about two hours a night,” he laughs. “The opportunities I’ve been given since leaving that villa I couldn’t have dreamed of. I’ve got so much in the pipeline it’s just crazy to take it all in at my age.”
“But the most important thing for me is just to stay grounded, keep my feet on the ground,” he concludes. “That’s why I do things like this, where I come see my boys and I got my family. Otherwise you will lose your heard. It’s a bit crazy going from that to this, but if you’ve got the right people to keep you grounded I think you will stay successful.”
“I am trying to do it the right way,” he adds. “I’ve said from the beginning I want to be durable. I want longevity in my career. I don’t just want to snap everything as soon as I’ve left. For me, I’ve got a goal with my long term. I want to stay on TV. I want to do presenting. These opportunities are coming now.”
And as for barbering, Kem says he is far from finished!
“I don’t think I will go back to cutting hair soon, but I’m gonna bring out a big grooming range. It’s gonna be huge. It could take a year or more, and like I said to Myles, I want him to be involved and get the shop involved in it but yeah, I’ve got some big plans with that.”
Just one more thing got watch out for in the future of a very bright, talented and focused young man! I was very impressed with Kem’s ongoing commitment to Guerilla Barbering and Myles’ work, and his openness about his struggle with mental health, plus his support of Childline.
Be sure to pay a visit when in Basildon to Myles’ newest place, the Stag and Dagger.
And be sure to stay in touch and get involved with the excellent work of Guerilla Barbering.
One thing you need to know about Leroy Garcia from The Modern Shave in Connecticut is he will be on time. And he expects you to be on time, too.
“An essential part of the craft is being professional,” Leroy told me when we met up in the US this spring. I had just asked him about his principles. “Part of being professional is being punctual.”
27-year-old Leroy is a young barber with a fresh, original approach and getting well-known for his firm views on professionalism, as well as his well-tailored staff and scrupulously clean, comfortable Connecticut shop. He welcomes both men and women while offering skin care and scalp care as well as haircuts.
“When the client arrives at ten, and the sign says you are open at ten, and no one shows up until noon,” he shakes his head. “And then the next day a customer comes at ten and there is someone there, but the day after, no one is there until eleven, well, we need consistency in something as basic as being open when you say you are open,” he said firmly.
Leroy’s professionalism is rooted a sense of pride in barbering history and his passion to revive that pride amongst barbers everywhere.
“You see photos from the 20’s and 30’s and barbers were some of the most dapper people, guys in dress shirts and ties, and that is how I want to approach it, bringing that old feeling (of pride and professionalism) back, which is now so rare.”
Ironically, it is the super-modern mobile appointment app BOOKSY that has been “a blessing,” in making things happen, Leroy says. Since every customer has a unique self-made appointment through BOOKSY, Leroy’s barbers have to be prepared and on time for every customer, ready with a clean work station, sanitized tools and a personalized greeting. Customers expect it. In Leroy’s shop, old fashioned professionalism gets a boost from 21st century technology!
BOOKSY is also saving Leroy time and money, he says. “In starting my business, I did not want to pay for an assistant, so BOOKSY allows your phone to be your assistant. We are reaching about 300 clients on BOOKSY now,” he said.
So what is the customer experience at Modern Shave so many are talking about?
“The first thing you will notice is a structured environment,” Leroy says, and I can tell this is a real passion for him. “There’s no obscene music playing; there is just smooth jazz instrumental. There is a nice aroma, nice and clean. You won’t hear people hooting and hollering. You will see presentable barbers ready to attend you. You will get into the chair on time and you will see a clean environment. After a hot towel, you will walk out with one of the best haircuts of your life. You will be serviced with the best organic products, and I repeat, organic,” he says with a smile.
That is just the beginning of the full experience, though. “There are brands out there that produce great products for your skin and for hair care, so although we specialize in all types of haircuts, it is not our only approach. We like to service skin and scalp, we like to do dermal therapy scrubs and skin detox facials, waxing services. All this comes from the knowledge I accrued from Todd Bernard at I Cut Pro, being part of that fraternity.”
Leroy believes gaining greater public respect for this range of professional services means barbers can’t “show up in flip flops and basketball shorts and sweat pants and think it is OK. It all starts with a presentation of what we are.”
I wanted to pursue the Todd Bernard angle, but first I asked Leroy how he got started. He told me he’s been cutting hair since he was just 15, and “the next youngest guy in the shop was my age now, 27,” he recalls. “Everyone else was even older, my father’s age.” What did he take away from that? “It showed me you only learn from the passage of time. If you surround yourself with experienced people who have learned through the passage of time, us younger ones can learn not to trip over the same rocks they tripped over.”
Back to Todd Bernard, Leroy says the man is a wealth of information and inspiration for barbers at all levels. “Even with ten years’ experience, it made me feel like a new student, made me feel like I had never picked up a clipper,” he said. “People want to have strong suits and stay in their comfort zone, but when you step out of that boundary and admit maybe your scissor game isn’t the best, maybe you don’t know how to part properly, maybe you don t know how to talk to clients, you become a better barber and a better person.”
Leroy told me Todd Bernard’s high quality products help him build Modern Shave’s brand. He says Bernard’s “It’s Butter” leave-in conditioner sold out his initial 12-bottle shipment in two days. “Our clients trust that what we offer and they know we aren’t just trying to take extra money out of their pocket. They know it is full of quality and will fulfill the need they have whether it is skin, scalp or hair.”
Leroy “100 percent” recommends the I Cut Pro web site, where a monthly subscription can bring all the benefits of attending live courses in New York. “It’s a blessing in my life,” he says.
As we wrapped up our chat, Leroy came back to what was learning is a favorite subject, and I want to leave you with his main point: the absolutely critical need for a commitment to punctuality, cleanliness, professional appearance, expanded services and a laser-like focus on the customer.
“Yes, we have urban shops and more classic shops, but these are the principles that should not be negotiated, that should not be missing in any shop,” he insists. “It is the foundation that we need to teach the new generation in events like the Irish Barber Expo.”
“We see people leaving their 9 to 5 to start barbering, but we need to lead them the right way, and if we take it upon ourselves, the new generation that is arising in the industry is going to start doing things the right way from the beginning.”
Well said by a man who clearly has been doing things the right way from the beginning, even though at age 27, he is really only beginning himself.
It was a pleasure to meet Leroy and I wish him all the success in the future. He is an amazing soul with a great passion for the profession. I hope you enjoyed meeting him, too!
Click over to my YouTube @larrythebarberman to watch the entire video with this impressive young talent, and look for another interesting post from me in the very near future.