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Barber: Marc Republic’s Interview With Larry The Barberman

Though his name is easily recognizable, Marc Republic distinguishes himself immediately with a humble story and a progressive attitude both towards barbering, education and what he believes will come next in either industry.

Marc started young: in eleventh grade, between sixteen to seventeen years of age, he got his start by studying cosmetology and managed to finish high school having acquired his license. Despite that, some five years later, he would also have accomplished getting his barber’s license and be working his way up towards a high demand for his services. “I wasn’t popular in school,” he admits, “and my African-American friends wouldn’t trust me to cut their hair, but my Caucasian and Asian friends did – they were more relaxed about it. By the time I got started, though, I had worked with all the different textures and ethnicities in terms of cutting and styling.” He reveals that, by the time he was seventeen, he was doing everything women’s hair and updos, but that by the time he got started in barbering he had gotten his diverse skillset sharp enough that he essentially got started as a professional straight away.

He might not have been popular then, but his shop and classes are certainly roaring now. When asked about the idea behind his shop, about what he was aiming for, Marc tells me that he wanted something “comfortable”. “I wanted everyone to feel welcome there, no matter the age, gender – all demographics. Everything is customized to give it that feeling, from old school barber chairs to old school lather machines, I really wanted to have a place where a grandfather, a son, the father, his wife – anyone, could feel welcome.” When I asked what he loved the most about barbering, he reflected the style of his shop perfectly. “My everyday clientele is the most satisfying part of it. Just seeing repeat customers who appreciate my skills and what I do, being the barber and stylist for generations of a family – that means the world.”

Asking him on what his greatest satisfaction after sixteen years of barbering, styling and educating people was, as a follow-up, his answer was: “Being able to give back. A lot of people get to where they are and they pretend like they did it all by themselves, with no help. I had lots of help getting here, and that is what I want to give back – that ability to help people get their licenses, to learn the skills they need to be successful cosmetologists or barbers; to give them the education that will get them started right out the door, basically.” Though his passion for giving back to the barbering and cosmetology communities was inspiring, I had to ask him his thoughts on UK based education for barbers. Marc gave me a little smile in response and answered, “They’re OK – a bit basic, but alright.” He stuck to his answer even when I told him that the UK doesn’t require licenses. “I designed a program that can get them licensed and taught the skills they need: barbering, advanced barbering, cutting, styling – all of that. You guys are good and all, but I made it so they can get advanced learning and practical training in the same go. I gauge their natural talents, try not to bore them with too much theory, and then I get them out there and get to work.”

Marc’s passion for education, his desire to help students obtain and train for their licenses and the care he has put into his desire to build himself, his brand and keep learning is a prime example of why I love being “the Barberman”.

What about his go-to style? Marc is a man of many trades, knowing how to cut and style for men and women alike. “Last year, on my birthday, I came to London,” he tells me, “and I took this weekend class because I try to aim to learn something new or educate myself on my birthday each year. I picked up the UK crop from it, and brought it back home with me – there were clients requesting comb-overs and I gave them the UK crop or fringe anyways!” A great choice, for sure. His reasoning behind it is that the UK crop or fringe is a style that calls for a lot of different tools and techniques at once. “It feels like a complete cut. You get to work with all different sorts of tools, show off these great textures – it’s just great.”

When I asked him about his tool kit, Marc admitted he was what he called a “fast-cutter”. “I work fast, I cut fast, even though I’m very meticulous about each one. I like to keep my station uncluttered and light, so I stick with my Andis BGR, Andis cordless outliners and a Wahl cordless super taper – I don’t have to worry about tripping over any cords and I can move around the shop fast and keep up my pace.” Marc adds that his Andis BGR is his every day, go-to clipper for bulk cuts and styles. When asked for his opinion on the Wahl Super Taper, he gave it a thumbs up. “If I had to take it with me, though, and plug it in in the UK, I wouldn’t have even been able to before the convertor you invented” he admits; shout-out to the Frequency60hz!

What’s next for the talented Marc Republic? “I’ll be hosting lessons again soon as well as an event at the end of October.” His words to the London School of Barbering? “Bring me in! Set something up!” He laughs, “I’d love to teach in London, really – live like a local for a month, too. I’m hoping to arrange something soon so I can do just that.” And what does Marc see coming on the horizon in general for the industry?

“The merging of cosmetology and barbering, for sure. I see Beattles’ style hairdos coming back in season for men, sort of a longer, natural look coming back –it comes full circle, you know? Back when that sort of do was popular, there were barbers who had no idea how to handle it. Shops were closing left and right; you gotta keep pushing your skills and educating yourself.” Marc advised. “Don’t be close-minded. Develop friendships and relationships with cosmetologists and get those skills ready, because the world is becoming a smaller place and so is the industry.”

Wise words from the educator extraordinaire. To those who want to see more of his work, check out his Instagram @marcrepublic and his site here: http://www.marcrepublic.com/.

For those interested in more information about using U.S hair clippers in foreign countries to achieve interesting new styles, check out the Frequency 60hz here: http://www.larrythebarberman.com

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