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Barber: Joey Power, Talks Hair Collections & Photo shoots

Joey Power on his new collection, and what it takes to carve out a barbering career

Don’t be fooled by the fact that Joey Power spent many years as a scrap metal dealer – he’s as committed to barbering as anybody I’ve interviewed. In fact, he gave up a good career in order to take a gamble on doing something that he loved: his barbering achievements show that the gamble paid off.

After heading to the London School of Barbering, Joey started in a local barbershop before being taken under the wing of Dale Ted Watkins. Now he’s the head of the show team for BarberBarber, a barbering educator and a member of the Young Feds team, all alongside shooting his own collection. Clearly this is a man who knows his stuff!

There’s so much to talk about I barely know where to start, but before getting into Joey’s own work I want to know how the wonderful BarberBarber owner Johnny BaBa has contributed to his career:

“Without working here, I don’t think I would have got noticed. He mentors me throughout the industry and he constantly, constantly pushes me to achieve what I’m going out to achieve. Johnny gives me a kick up my arse massively in the right direction”.

His other mentor, of course, has been Dale Ted Watkins. Dale also helped Joey put together his ground-breaking Temporal Shift collection, and it was fascinating to hear more about that process too:

“Dale was a massive part of that collection. I’ve never done a photo shoot before – I’ve been on shoot with Dale but only to assist. So now I’m art directing my own shoot I needed that backing from Dale.”

This meant getting involved with everything from directing to making suggestions for the hair itself, and Joey tells me that he stopped him from feeling like a “fish out of water”. It’s very clear, though, that Joey was the driving force behind Temporal Shift, and his creativity breaks through every shot – so let’s hear more about his inspiration, and the work itself.

 

The Collection

“I wanted to mix heritage and the now. Temporal Shift is a movement through the past, bringing it into the present. I wanted to mix traditional suits with a bright pattern. Colourful, yet classic and timeless. Hair wise, I wanted it to be very edgy but still using the traditional techniques”

This allowed Joey to put his own twist on timeless classics, a bold move… but clearly one that payed off. Putting the collection together meant working with a range of different team members, from Andrew Gilbert who took the shots to his makeup artist Gareth Harris and colourist Sophie Dale. Please take the time to look through the collection here, where you’ll also see the credits for everyone involved.

“What we got out of that collection wasn’t just photos. It was the whole shebang: that’s what I wanted to do on my first collection. And what was good about doing that collection was that it’s shown me something that I’m really interested in outside of the barbershop.

“It’s opened my eyes to so many different things, actually realising what goes on behind a collection. And looking out of the box for inspiration – you’re always looking for different ideas, different ways that you can show your creativity. It’s given me a nice little look into the fashion world as well.”

Following on from this discussion of Temporal Shift I was curious to know more about Joey’s general concept of hair, and what he thinks is important when doing a cut:

“First and foremost, it has to be suitable for the client. End of. There is no point putting a mod haircut on a rocker. I like to work with long hair. I’ve kind of found a little niche. I really like the dirty, distressed lengths.

“You’ll see in my collection, there was a lot of mid length hair and then we did some really cool textured stuff. I like hair that kind of explodes, that’s got a lot of internal shape and structure. For me that’s kind of the nuts and bolts, it’s all internal work, shattering the hair lines and things like that to build character but the shape must come from within.

“It’s given me more hunger to do stuff outside of the barbershop. And it’s shown me that there’s more to hair than the average short back and sides.”

 

Never Do Anything by Half

I was also extremely interested to hear the motivation behind Temporal Shift: why did Joey feel the need to create a collection to this extent?

“My old man told me never do anything by half. And I truly believe that if you’re gonna do something, do something proper. This was important because it was kind of my debut into the industry. I did it primarily to get noticed”.

It was also a great way for Joey to do the haircuts he really loves: many barbers will know that it can be difficult to find clients who want more outlandish cuts! I really believe that this collection is going to blow people’s minds – particularly younger barbers who might feel inspired to create a collection of their own:

“If you’ve got an idea, run with it. Get it down on pen and paper and as soon as you wake up in the morning, think about that idea. And as soon as you go to bed, think about that idea. That’s what built the fire in my belly. If you’ve got a dream you’ve got to think about it day and night. It’s got to be everything and all to you.

“You’ve also got to have a very strong team, and you’ve got to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and everyone on that team has to have that same vision that you have”

This means really selling your idea to the team that you work with, and getting them on board with what you want to do! Joey adds that it’s important to be open-minded, but not to the point where you’re compromising on your vision.

 

Always pushing to the next level

We’ve talked a lot about Temporal Shift but, as I mentioned at the start of this post, he’s done a whole lot more in his time as a barber. One bow on his string is education: Joey is currently training new barbers at the BarberBarber shop.

Finally, we talked about the Young Feds: what does it mean to be part of that team?

“It means so much, because it takes me back to my grassroots. Once I met Dale and Dale took me under his wing, I begged him that wherever he went I wanted to go after him. And I was at Salon International and I was watching the young feds and I was thinking maybe one day if I work hard enough, I might be on stage.”

The chance finally came when Simon Kibler left the team: Joey jumped at the chance to let Adam Sloane know how interested he would be. A little while later, they decided to give him a shot as a fill in for another barber. Clearly his work impressed, as they went on to offer the full-time gig.

“To be a part of that team, it was a dream come true really.”

A truly fascinating barber, and one to watch for the future: believe me when I say that this is just the beginning for Joey Power! I can’t wait to see what he brings us next – in the meantime, you can see what other top barbers are up to by following Larry the Barber Man on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube: I’ll see you there.

 

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STOP!!! Barbershop Diseases, Trichologist Explains All Part. 1

Stop barbershop infections – top tips from trichologist Tracey Walker

No barber wants to see a client receive bad service, and that includes health and hygiene as well as quality cuts. Of course, in the busy environment of a working shop it can be easy to let standards slip. That’s why I invited former hairdresser and trichologist Tracey Walker to share some information and advice that will help you keep your shop safe and clean.

But first thing’s first… what exactly does a trichologist do?

“Trichologists diagnoses and treat hair loss and scalp disorders. We are almost a specialised type of dermatologist, but we only deal with the scalp and hair. We’re not medically qualified, but we are medically trained in the areas where we need to be.”

So, this means that trichologists can help with scalp and hair issues or conditions. Tracey is also part of the Institute of Trichologists, set up by doctors, hairdressers and scientists to help build awareness and offer training. What better person to have in the interview chair?

 

Common conditions to look out for

Tracey kicked things off by telling me about the most common conditions that might affect clients after a visit to the barbershop:

  • Bacterial infections in general, and specifically impetigo. This is highly contagious, and often seen around the mouth or on the upper lip – so particularly relevant when a client comes in for a shave. Look for symptoms that are “almost like a crusting of the skin”.This happens when bacteria in the nose drips down onto the upper lip and becomes pathogenic. It may just look like regular dry skin, and could be passed on by a barber not washing their hands or sanitising tools.
  • Fungal infections. These are particularly common in children, and easy to spread from person to person, either on your tools or on your hands. One common fungal infection is ringworm, which my just look like a patch of dry scaly skin on the scalp and is easily misdiagnosed as flaky skin or dandruff. Tracey points out that it is “easily transferred from person to person on tools such as brushes.
  • Folliculitis. This is particularly common in young black men, as it is caused by the way in which afro hair regrows after a very short haircut. Unlike the other conditions, this isn’t contagious, however it certainly can affect people visiting the barbershop:“We do see it a lot when people have had very short haircuts, or had their heads shaved. What happens there is that when the hair is shaved, and it goes slightly lower than the scalp’s surface, then when it grows is starts to bend up and scratches or tickles the scalp. It’s very itchy, so the client can start scratching and cause secondary infection.”So how could you safeguard against this? “Avoid any scratching, or excess scratching to the scalp. So keep the scalp healthy, use the right shampoo for the scalp type. If the scalp is itchy then there are lotions that can calm it. And if someone comes in suffering from folliculitis and they have quite a short hair cut then encourage people to grow their hair a little longer”.

As always, then, prevention is the best cure! Tracey also points out that the scalp is just like the rest of your skin – so, for instance, if it’s dry then you’ll need to moisturise it.

I decided to follow up by getting Tracey’s take on some specific barbershop scenarios, and she certainly didn’t disappoint. So, without further ado, here is some in depth info to help you keep clients safe in specific situations.

 

Scenario one: A guy with long hair comes into your barbershop for a quick trim. You put the cloak on him and then spray his hair damp. Water starts to drip down the guy’s neck and collect at the collar.

“This may not cause an immediate problem if the person is healthy, but what we have to keep in mind is that somebody’s susceptibility to infection will increase if there are open wounds. So, for example, if somebody has eczema that affects the back of the neck, or psoriasis, then bacterial infection will get into those open wounds, and that’s what we call a secondary infection.”

This could also affect very old or very young clients, or people on medications such as immunosuppressants. Not cleaning the gown could also increase risk.

Tracey recommends: Use a necktie, or work with one use, disposable gowns.

 

Scenario two: A client comes in for a skin fade. You get them settled in the chair and then set to work… down with the brush, up with the clipper, down with the brush, up with the clipper and so on.

Tracey’s first thought is that brushing the hair vigorously is rarely a good thing – it causes so much damage, both to the hair itself and the scalp. “Once the skin is abrased, and the top layer of the skin is taken off, then bacteria and fungus can actually get into the skin, and get down to the deeper layer”. This can cause the types of infection that we discussed before, especially if things aren’t cleaned properly.

Tracey recommends: Proper sanitisation! “It’s alright to have a barbicide jar, but what I’ve seen is that after using a comb people will just put it straight in. That’s no good, you have to clean it first. Putting it in water is not going to remove that oil and dirt. You have to clean it first with a detergent, then rinse it, then put it in the barbicide jar with fresh barbicide”.

 

Scenario three: You’re giving a client a hot towel shave, using a towel that was cleaned in a domestic washing machine and a blade that was used on a previous client. You’re also using a barber brush that was rinsed with hot water.

  • Many of the issues we’ve discussed would apply here – such as bacterial or fungal infections being passed on via the equipment.
  • If the towel has been boil washed then that will offer good protection, but a standard wash cycle won’t sterilise equipment.
  • Water on its own isn’t sufficient. Equipment needs to be washed with detergent and, ideally, sterilised too. You can sterilise the brush by dipping just the bristles in barbicide. It’s also fine to use Milton sterilising fluid, which is commonly used for sterilising baby equipment, especially if you want something slightly gentler.

 

So many useful tips packed into this interview! Mostly, though, it all comes down to keeping things clean – and that means washing your hands properly as well as sterilising tools. Look out for part two of this interview, where I’ll share some more quickfire tips from Tracey, and hopefully give you all the information you need to put the tips you’ve read here into action.

Follow me as Larry the Barber Man on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to make sure you don’t miss what’s sure to be one of the most important interviews of the year.

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STOP!!! Barbershop Diseases, Trichologist Explains All Part 2

Quickfire hygiene tips from trichologist Tracey Walker

 

Hopefully you’ve already checked out part. 1 of my interview with former hairdresser and trichologist Tracey Walker. If not, I’d recommend taking a look, as Tracey gives some fascinating insights into the possible infections that can be picked up at a barbershop… as well as genuinely useful information for avoiding them.

Now, though, it’s on to part two, and I wanted to ask Tracey’s opinion on some specific barbershop issues that have been on my mind.

 

First up: does she think it’s a good idea to use gloves instead of washing hands between cuts?

“I don’t really. There are situations where gloves should be used, but if you’re sitting down for a haircut and somebody comes along all gloved up then you might sit there and wonder what they’re going to do to you!

“Also, I think it’s important that we do touch people’s heads. If there’s the smallest bump or abrasion we may miss it – wearing gloves, you don’t always feel what’s happening.”

This could also make you too complacent about washing hands in general: not a good thing for a barber. Finally, if somebody was infected to the point that you felt you had to use gloves then you shouldn’t cut their hair at all, as you may move the infection around”.

 

Next up, I asked whether the dusting brush can be an area of concern.

The main issue here would be head lice. Specifically, if you draw headlice out with a comb and then leave the comb next to a dusting brush, then they may migrate to the bristles. The best thing to do is to avoid cutting the hair of anybody who has lice – and if a brush does pick up lice then just get rid of it!

 

What does a trichologist like Tracey think about industry regulation?

“It’s a difficult one. I think it would be important to try and regulate the industry, and even have inspections. In hair salons the chemicals that are used are so strong, and the blades, the clippers, all the electrical equipment – you have to be trained in these areas”.

 

Finally, then, what is Tracey’s overall advice to barbershop owners?

“First of all, hairdressers and barbers in my experience are people who care about people. They want to make them look good, give them the latest style, make them feel good. And I feel like looking after your client, you not only give them the best cut you can, but you’ve got to look after their health as well. You have to keep in mind what can happen.

“So just simple little things like remembering to wash your hands between each client – we don’t know what they have, and they may not have anything, but it’s just good practice. And to wash them properly, and to dry them as well.

“Have a couple of barbicide jars, and give your comb a good wash with some detergent – it doesn’t need to be time consuming. So just two simple things there: washing your hands, and making sure that equipment is actually put in the barbicide jar, clean, would go a long way towards making sure that you’re looking after your client in the best possible way.”

A big thank you to Tracey for providing so much useful information – I genuinely think that these tips could make or break a barber shop so definitely put it into practice! And don’t forget to come and find me as instagram, Facebook and YouTube, as that’s where you’ll find more great interviews with industry experts.

 

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Irish Barber: Leah Cassidy Shares Her philosophy To Barbering Success

Leah Hayden Cassidy (find her on Instagram as Hayden_Cassidy) is an Irish barber working out of Berlin. After just three years cutting hair she’s done so much that it’s difficult to know how best to describe her. Suffice to say that her barbershop work has covered everything from fades to shaves to afro cuts, while she’s also claimed victory in barber battles, taken to the stage and appeared in magazines. It was a real pleasure to have her in the interview chair.

 

The path less travelled

When you first meet Leah, it’s immediately clear that she’s not somebody who would be satisfied resting on her laurels. It’s no surprise that she took a path less travelled into barbering, teaching herself the trade after her original dream – becoming a footballer – fell apart thanks to a bad leg injury:

“I had to rethink basically my whole life. It was hard at the start – I had numerous jobs including being a dance instructor. I also did bar jobs… any job, you name it.” After this, she fell into barbering by accident, when Conor Taaffe decided to let her give it a go and liked what he saw. “He said listen, you can hold the clippers well, as soon as they were in your hand it was comfortable. Did you enjoy it? I did enjoy it, so I decided to take it from there.”

Armed with just a basic set of clippers, Leah started her new career by cutting hair whenever she could find the time. The journey took her to Ryan Cullen’s salon, where she swept the floor whilst watching Ryan and Conor work and falling in love with the industry more by the second. Her initiation came as Conor handed her a first pair of scissors, and she hasn’t looked back:

“I found that same passion and love which I’d found in football and didn’t think I was going to find again. I became addicted to the industry.”

 

Talking her way to the top

While there’s no doubting Leah’s talent, she also started out with a lot of bravado – blagging her first barbershop role:

“I went in and said I’ve been cutting hair for a while, will you give me a chance. He said ‘I tell you what, come in on New Year’s Eve and you can have a trial.’ Looking back now I don’t even know how I got through it. I was just cutting hair and talking to clients as if I’d been in the industry for 5 years. At the end he just laughed and said ‘it’s obvious you haven’t been doing this a while but I’ll give you a chance and take you on as a junior barber.’”

Despite being back at the beginning in terms of a career, Leah was finally doing something that she lived again. She stayed in her first job for 6 months – and you can still see the early cuts preserved for posterity on her Instagram page. Eventually, she moved on to Demon barbershop, another Dublin barbershop, and a chance to take things to the next level.

There was still plenty of opportunity to learn and grow, though, and Leah started to get itchy feet. This took her to a new challenge in a completely different country, after Miguel invited her to join him at the Nomad Barber in Berlin:

“He’s amazing. He was one of the first barbers I actually followed online. I watched all his videos, and they helped me to learn. I was amazed by him, still to this day he’s a very inspiring barber to me. He contacted me and said he was setting up this shop in Berlin and asked if I was interested. I knew this was the direction that I needed to take with my career – two weeks later I jumped on a plane and started working in the Nomad.

“It took me into a whole other world I remember the first time I sat in the shop, it was my first day. Miguel was in the middle of a shave and I was in awe. It was actually like the blade was attached to his hand. It brought a little fire into me.”

Long term Larry the Barber Man followers will have certainly seen Miguel interviewed here in the past – if you have then you’ll know just how inspiring he can be. After speaking to Leah, though, it’s also no surprise to hear that she eventually started getting itchy for another new challenge:

“I was there a year and I felt like I had done what I set out to do. I wasn’t ready to leave Berlin, but I felt I was just too comfortable in what I was doing. I wanted to get myself out there and learn something else. A client I had who is a barber in England told me that he’d been to the London barber school, and then he’d done a hairdressing course, then worked at a Turkish barbershop for a while, then an Afro barbershop for a while and so on. Then he opened up his own shop. It got into my head, that’s the way to do it: throw yourself in the deep.”

This took her to Ebony and Ivory, a big salon in Berlin specialising in afro hair: “There was such a buzz. If you’ve seen the movie barbershop then you’ll know, it’s a proper community.” Yet again there was a little bit of blagging involved, as Leah bigged up her minimal Afro experience to make sure she could land an incredible learning opportunity.

 

Taking to the stage

It’s a testament to Leah’s skill and work ethos that she managed to excel in this afro cutting environment without much prior experience – not least because it’s incredibly difficult to cut afro hair if you don’t have the technique. Not content to simply cut well, though, Leah took to the stage of an underground Berlin club to participate in a barber battle. No prize for guessing what happened next:

“I was up there with 3 other barbers. I only knew a handful of people, I was the only female barber there and these were all afro barbers. I could see everyone sort of thinking… who is this? But it was great going into that environment, I just went up there, got on stage and cut this drunk guy’s hair. I had 20 minutes, and I did the haircut. Then it was the crowd that chose the winner – whoever got the most screams won. They left me until last, and I swear I have never heard my name screamed that much!”

But Leah is no stranger to getting up on stage, as she’s also done educational displays and performances at a number of different events:

“My first show was actually at the Great British Barber Bash. Alan Beak was sort of pushing to get me up there, which was great because I didn’t believe much in myself at the time – I’d only been cutting for about a year. It was amazing, but nerve-wracking as well. I think my hands shook for the whole 45 minutes. I am quite used to talking to a crowd, it doesn’t bother me. That show was semi-successful, and I was asked to do more and more – London, Glasgow again, Amsterdam, Ireland. It’s so nice to get on stage and vibe with other barbers”.

Paying it forwards

We’ve talked a lot about Leah’s skills and experience – it’s also important to point out just how friendly and welcoming she is. This comes across in her barbering philosophy, which is all about giving something back:

“Whatever you gain yourself, give it back out. I’m currently in the process of making YouTube tutorials. I’m flying back tomorrow and going to start filming – I just want to create a tutorial that’s a little bit creative. I’m self-taught, so I always say: how I do things, it’s not right and it’s not wrong. It’s just the way I do it.” You’ll be able to find these videos under the name Hayden Cassidy Hair.

So after three very different years in barbering, what has been Leah’s favourite challenge?

“What I’m doing now. Seeing a whole different type of hair and community. It’s just challenged me so much more, taking it to the next level. But in the future, I might try and step back into hairdressing a little more.”

We also talked briefly about the challenges of being a female barber – although Leah prefers to think of herself simply as a barber. “I’ve never used it as an excuse, but there are challenges. I never really noticed it in Ireland or the UK, but in Germany there have been more issues with clients who say things like ‘you don’t have a beard, how are you going to cut mine?’ But that’s fine – get out of my chair and I’ll cut the next person. Basically, a barber is a barber. Don’t put too much attention on it.”

Finally, I wanted to find out which figures have inspired Leah’s barbering journey, and get some words of wisdom for others who might be just starting theirs. Conor Taaffe, Jay Murray, the Beak brothers and Kevin Luchmun are the lucky barbers are all namechecked as big sources of inspiration – an impressive array of barbers who have all brought their own creative spin to the industry.

When it comes to Leah’s own advice, she says: “it’s not all about social media. Take yourself back to the barbershop and realise that your clients are the people that are there for you. Gain as much knowledge as you can. I don’t think you’ll ever know enough in this industry. Keep sharing knowledge the that you’re receiving, and just step back from the bigger picture and focus on you, that chair and your client.”

 

Wonderful advice from a wonderful barber. Don’t forget to follow me on YouTube if you want to see more – and, as always, I’m on Instagram and Facebook as Larry the Barber Man, posting regular updates that keen barbers shouldn’t want to miss.

 

http://www.larrythebarberman.com

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