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Best 3 Corded Professional Hair Clipper Review With, Harry Pirate

If there’s one man in the business that knows his stuff as far as clippers are concerned then it’s Harry Pirate; he loves getting into the technical details of different tools as much as I do – and that’s why I wanted to bring you Harry’s knowledge for this review of our three favourite corded clippers.

The importance of getting the right clippers for your needs can’t be overstated: without great clippers, even the best barbers struggle to make great cuts. That’s why professionals like Harry, who runs the Pirates Barber Shop in Bromley, spend so much time investigating what different products can do… and it’s why I’ve decided to use this space to pull together reviews of three top corded tools, so that you can be sure you have power and precision behind your cuts.

We’ve split our line-up into three categories, looking at our favourite trimmer, mid-range clipper and bulk-busting heavy duty clipper, so if there’s a gap in your collection then hopefully we’ll be able to give you some pointers on choosing the right clipper to bring into your collection.

 

Clipper Pick #1: The Andis T Outliner

No surprises here: the Andis T Outliner has a wonderful reputation to match its incredible performance. Harry isn’t shy about admitting that he has fallen in love with Andis tools recently, getting to grips with their guard system and really enjoying the quality of the tools that they put out. Even among this crowd of great tools though, the T Outliner stands out as something special:

“Every barber around the world knows how amazing this trimmer is; that’s why everyone uses it.  The power, the cut, the ergonomics, the toughness… everything about it is 10 out of 10. I’ve used the Wahl detailers, I’ve used the Andis Superliners and they’re fine but these to me are brilliant.

I know a lot of people cut the top off, they skeletonise it, and that’s because they do run a little bit hot. But you just can’t rival the quality of these lines: If you want crisp lines, get a T Outliner. The great thing about these is that you don’t need the converter anymore – obviously, the converter is great because it allows you to explore different clippers and raise your game – but now these come with the convenience an English plug, and they’re just as powerful: it’s the same clipper, the same motor.”

There are a few other factors that make this tool stand out, too:

  • A bigger surface area with the blade means that it takes fewer strokes to get the cut you want.
  • The rocker switch is well positioned so that you can’t accidently hit it while you’re cutting, and as a barber who has to be thinking about regular, daily use this is something that makes a big difference to Harry. When you’re looking for a clipper that will be used in a busy barbershop, these little details are essential.
  • The T Outliner also has a good weight to it: a nice, solid build without being so big that it becomes awkward or cumbersome.

One final thing to note is the fact that you can also get a Blackout model, which is very similar but with a few key differences that make Harry describe it as “the upgrade model”. These do still need a converter, and come out of the box already zero gapped, with a flat blade that gets a much closer finish but is also a lot less forgiving.

Harry Pirate’s Score Out of 10: “I’ve not used a better corded clipper. I’m going to have to give it a 10. I’m going to have to!”

Clipper Pick #2: Wahl Legends

The Wahl Legends are great corded clippers with a magnetic motor. Wahl’s motors are strong and reliable – not to mention powerful – which means that they make for a great all-round, everyday clipper.

Another thing that has really won Harry over is Wahl’s blade system: “The Wahl blade technology is second to none – they’ve got the crunch blade, the stagger blade, the surgical blade, the bevelled blade – they’ve got around 5 different blades. I prefer this to a lot of the other similar clippers that are available from other brands; I love the ergonomics and it definitely looks good too – which is important for making a good impression.”

With the Wahl Legends, you’ll be benefiting from the crunch blade, which gives sumptuous texture as you cut and really sets it apart from other mid-range clippers, letting it do a lot of the hard work for you.

Harry Pirate’s Score Out of 10: “As an umbrella rating I’d give this 7/10 – and that covers the super taper, the magic clip corded and the other similar models from Wahl too, you can’t go wrong with any of them.”

Before moving onto the final category, I’m also going to sneak in a quick honourable mention, a great all-rounder that Harry was keen to highlight and awarded an impressive 8/10. This is the BaByliss Pro Super: “a lot of people don’t know it but it has been gaining credibility over the past year or so. It’s completely metal, no plastic casing, and well-built – great switch placement. It uses a pivot motor rather than the magnetic motor. This means that there’s no loss of power, and although I know it’s considered that a rotary motor is the most powerful, I always find this pivot to be particularly powerful. They say that this is the highest speed motor on the market, and whether that’s true or not it’s an absolute beast. A lot of top barbers have turned onto this and love it.”

Clipper Pick #3: Oster ‘97

This is the real bulk-buster, and Harry wastes no time before he starts gushing about everything from the build quality to the power behind it:

“It’s a lightsabre, just look at it! I feel like Luke Skywalker when I hold it. It’s sick. This is a UK plug, you don’t need a converter, and it will stick to your hand – you’re never going to drop it. The power is unrivalled: there’s a rotary motor and also a detachable blade so you can use Andis and Wahl blades as well as Oster blades. I love these clippers. This is the tool for cutting a lot of hair down, and I wouldn’t use anything else!”

Harry also tells me that he’s even seen the Oster ’97 hanging up in vets’ clinics, because it’s so powerful that it can take down the thick dog hair. If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the power behind these tools then I don’t know what will!

Harry Pirate’s Score Out of 10: “As a rotary, corded clipper these get 9/10; the only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s got a couple of funky little ergonomic design features that I don’t really like.”

 

I hope that these reviews help you find better clippers for your own barbering career: just remember, barbering tools are very personal so it pays to experiment and find what works for you. Harry’s YouTube channel is an excellent resource, where he gives his fair and honest opinions about everything he loves and everything he’s not so keen on. And remember, Harry Pirate doesn’t work as an ambassador for any of these brands, so you can trust his thoughts to be impartial.

There are also clipper reviews and advice for getting the most out of your tools on my channel YouTube channel at Barbers.tv, as well as on my Instagram and Facebook pages – just look for Larry the Barber Man. Drop by and let me know which barbering tools you couldn’t live without!

If any of these clippers have piqued your interest then you can find them at my store – just use the links below and feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions. I’d also like to invite you to come and join me on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, where there are plenty more views, reviews and interviews to watch and read.

 

Featured Clippers:

http://shop.larrythebarberman.com/products.php?product=Andis-T%252dOutliner-T%252dBlade-Trimmer-%28UK-Plug%29

http://shop.larrythebarberman.com/products.php?product=OSTER-97-HEAVY-DUTY-CLIPPER-240-volts

http://shop.larrythebarberman.com/products.php?product=Wahl-Legends-5-Star-Series-Hair-Clipper-With-Preminum-Guides-%28240v%29

 

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A Must See Barber Interview, With Danny Amorim A.K.A Success Addict

When I met Danny Amorim at the International Beauty Show in New York, I was overwhelmed by his electrifying energy. Danny is the kind of man that speaks, and everyone in the room takes note; his wisdom and charisma are the perfect match to motivate anyone feeling a little slack. In fact, Danny’s resume is packed with job titles such as owner of multiple barber shops, international educator, Gibs Grooming ambassador, and, of course, motivational speaker. So when I sat down with Danny for our interview, I took notes; who wouldn’t when they’re in the company of someone so successful?

 

But more importantly, I wanted to know how Danny built his empire, and how his journey in this industry began. When I asked Danny how he got into this business, he said, “Picked up my first pair of clippers at 14-years-old… The craft just turned into something I loved.”

 

When Danny graduated from high school, he knew that college wasn’t the right path for him, so he went to work at a barbershop. “I took it seriously, and I built a strong clientele,” Danny said.

 

There’s no doubt that Danny took the job seriously, and I loved hearing his story about how he opened his first shop. “I asked the owner of the shop how much it would cost for me to have my own landline in his shop. He looked at me like I had three heads,” Danny said. “I wanted my own line because I was tired of the customer service his clients or his barbers were giving to my clients. I had my own shop in his shop at 20-years-old.”

 

I find it motivating – and humorous – that Danny was able to open up a shop within a shop, but it shows that Danny was always going above and beyond for his clients, even during the beginning of his career.

 

It’s that same work-ethic that allowed Danny to open up his own shop, Klippers Barber Shop, within a year of obtaining his own landline (for all of you Gen Y kids, that’s a home phone). Today, that same phone number still works at his original shop, but Danny has gone on to open up three more barber salons.

 

Barber battles and the value of networking

 

“Right now, our craft in our industry has risen at an all-time high,” Danny said. He’s seen the rise of the barber industry, and how the profession is becoming more valued.

 

“It’s become cool to be a barber now. When I was a kid, I never had that barber I looked up to, that I want to be him when I grew up,” Danny said. “I walked into a barber shop, they’re charging seven dollars, and everyone’s smoking cigarettes in there – that wasn’t something I really wanted to do all of my life.”

 

Now that the industry is booming, Danny knows young kids (his son, included) that want to be a barber when they grow up. One of the reasons that the barber industry is seeing more of a “cool factor” is because of barber battles. When barber battles were just beginning to become popular, Danny was one of the competitors.

 

“I started competing in barber battles back in 2002, 2003 – when they were way smaller scale than here. They would happen maybe, once a year if you were lucky. Now barber battles are popping up every corner you can think of. If you go on social media, sometimes there’s two, three barber battles going on the same weekend,” Danny said. “It’s become a little saturated, you could say. When I used to go, It was more than winning those trophies. I remember going to these battles, and meeting and networking with people. I am where I am today because of my network.”

 

Personally, I think Danny is right. While it’s great to win trophies and new titles (who doesn’t like a resume booster?) – it’s more important to build up a strong network with people in your industry. You never know when an opportunity is going to arise, and knowing the right person can open many doors.

 

Motivational words for those trying to make it

On that positive note, I’d like to note that Danny is, in my opinion, one of the best motivational speakers in the business. Danny isn’t going to tell you what you want to hear, but he will say what you need to hear; and really, that’s the kind of inspiration that we all need.

 

“My speeches will touch you way more, and change your mindset way more, and make you want to grab a pair of clippers,” Danny said. The man knows that he’s good, and he wants you to know that you can succeed as well. But he’s going to be honest with his intended audience.

 

“Some guys, they have the gift. But they don’t have the responsibility, the reliability, customer service, or respect for this industry. They act like people owe them something – no, you owe them something. They’re paying for a service,” Danny said, serving up some realness.

 

I’ve gotta say – Danny is absolutely right. It’s not enough to cut hair well; you’ve got to make your clients want to come back, and to feel comfortable recommending you to their friends. This industry is about the people, and you’ve always got to treat others with respect.

 

While Danny was upbeat and positive during our interview, I was still dying to know what he dislikes about the barber industry. He told me, “What I can say hating is.. the unprofessionalism,” Danny said. “Certain people go to a certain barbershop, and feel like we all run our business like that. No, they run their business like that. I run my business as a business; he runs his business as a playground. There’s a difference there. It’s customer service.”

 

I can understand where Danny is coming from since he wants everyone who visits one of his shops to be comfortable – from the alternative-looking kid to a suburban mom. There’s an atmosphere that he likes to create where everyone is welcome. He even said, “I don’t care if you’re purple, yellow, or green – I want to cut your hair and service you.”

 

But before I let Danny go, I needed to ask what he would tell a barber that is down on their luck. He said, “Just hang in there. We all have rough days… Whatever you do, just go hard at it.” While the advice is simple, it’s also something that we all need to hear occasionally. You don’t become successful without a struggle, so just keep hanging in there. And don’t forget to work hard for what you want.

 

I’ll leave you with those final motivational words. All that’s left to say is thank you to Danny for the interview, and thank you all for reading – come find me on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Danny Robinson started his barbering career with few opportunities – but that’s never kept him down.  He now owns two successful Oldham shops – Danny and Co Barbers – and also holds the Men’s Hairdressing Federation Young Fed title while on the road as European Artistic Ambassador for the Oster clipper company.

Any one of these achievements would land Danny on my list of incredible barbers, but his multi-faceted successes – and his fight to break into the industry – make him a compelling figure I knew I had to meet.

Humble Origins lead to TV

As I always like to start at the beginning, and Danny told me his beginnings were humble indeed.

“I’m from a single-parent background,” Danny says. “My Mum brought me up on her own when she was just 15.”

If you think Danny’s face might be a bit familiar, there is a reason.  The acting bug found him in his humble abode – and bit hard!

“Throughout school, barbering was never something I wanted to do,” he told me. “Instead I went to Manchester and studied at a performing arts school, landed a TV agent and went on to get loads of TV credits on shows like Shameless and Spooks.”

But the lure of the bright lights didn’t last.

“I started to fall out of love with it. It’s a very fickle industry – you can quickly move to the bottom of the pile and find you’re just waiting by the phone for auditions for scrap roles,” he said.

“It was my Mum who pushed me into getting a fall-back job, and she always noticed that I’d enjoyed messing around with my hair, so she suggested barbering.”

Initial foray into Women’s Hair

Danny started working with women’s hair, but it wasn’t the right fit.  “Women were scared to death of someone across from them in a La Coste tracksuit with a pair of scissors!” he laughs.

“The salon pushed me towards the men’s side and I enjoyed it; I found I had things in common with the clients, so it progressed quickly.”

From there Danny began a 5-year journey to find his identity in the industry. “I went from shop to shop, eventually breaking away from Manchester City Centre as you couldn’t make much money in a salaried role,” he told me.   “I worked on a self-employed ‘rent-a-chair’ basis at a local shop in Oldham and stayed there for 5 years learning my trade there. My old boss showed me the ropes, and taught me the business side.”

Breaking into Business

Having steady work at a job he enjoyed might be enough for most people, but not Danny.

“I’ve always had to stand on my own two feet,” he said. “ I think I’ve got a little bit of a reputation in the industry -I say what I think and I don’t hold anything back.  That’s because of my background; I’ve had to learn to fight, to stand out.

“In the end I thought ‘Look, I’ve been working in the same shop for 5 years, lining the owner’s pockets, pretty much running the shop when he’s not there.’ A lot of the clients were coming in for me, and so I realized I could do it myself.”

Gas Explosion Creates an Opportunity

Danny’s search for his own place was made attainable by…a gas explosion.  “(The explosion was ) nearby, blowing up a lot of buildings in the area,” he related to me. “This shop was quite rundown, so I bought it cheap. Renting my chair cost more than running the shop!”

“From there I guess you could say the rest is history: it just rocketed off.”

Danny is always shifting his sights to the next level, and once he had his own shop and excellent barber skills, he began looking at the bigger industry picture, entering competitions and following big names on social media.

A career-defining victory soon came his way: being named one of Men’s Hairdressing Federation’s ‘Young Feds’.  How did it happen?  Danny acting training paid off: he focused on image and presentation.

“I’d figured out that iPhone could only get you so far, so I started putting up pictures using a high-end camera. This meant that, three years ago, my work just popped out because… it looked so professional. Especially at competitions, it got me noticed very quickly. Now it’s the norm, but it wasn’t then.”

Danny’s savvy self-marketing got him the final of the Simon Shaw Search for a Star contest, where he was noticed by Joe Sloan from the Men’s Hairdressing Federation. They eventually met at the Shaw Salon International Competition, which is where I also met Danny for the first time.

“I completely reworked (model) Abdul’s hair (at the competition), doing a completely different look on a different stand, completely mixed it up. Adam and Joe Sloan loved it, like ‘Wow, this is unreal!”’

Once again, Danny’s performance training paid off. “Because I come from an acting background, I could get a crowd going around me. Adam and Joe saw this…and asked me to come down and replicate the cut on camera.”

Two weeks later, Adam and Joe Sloan called to tell Danny one of their four Young Fed winners had to drop out, and they had chosen to award him the position.

He also named the cut he’d created at the International Competition “The Bombay Pompadour,” and it completely blew up on social media.  Danny was on his way.

With doors opening, Danny was soon cutting hair for celebrities such as Craig David, Tinie Tempah, Stomzy, Matt Bellamy from Muse and the international Drum & Bass DJ Wilkinson.

And great things just kept happening.

Stepping Up to the Oster Ambassadorship

Every barber covets the chance to serve as a brand ambassador, and Danny recently became the  European Artistic Ambassador for Oster clippers. He says he fell in love with Oster’s clippers – specifically the Oster ’97 – at an American Crew course:

“American Crew are known for using nothing but Oster ’97 clippers, so I bought a pair and absolutely loved them, thought it was one of the greatest machines I’d ever held,” he recalls.

“I worked them to death, but I didn’t know you had to change the carbon fibre brushes and thought they’d broke!  So, I sent them back over to the distributor,”

Danny met Oster’s Maria Stafford and began sending her pictures of his work and accomplishments, noting he could help Oster in the underserved UK market.

They met again at Pro Hair.

“I did a haircut with a pair of Pro Powers and she asked me to jump on their stand and do a cut,” he said.  Danny began doing shows free of charge “because I believe in the products, and helping Oster bring brand awareness to the UK.”

Oster soon brought Danny on as paid rep.  He loves the products, saying of the Oster ’97  (or ’76 in America):  “The key word is clean – you get clean, clean cuts. It’s your all-in-one clipper, and every barbershop should have one.”

This wouldn’t be a proper Larry the Barber Man interview if I didn’t end by sharing Danny’s advice, and his success lends extra weight to his wise words:

“Always develop yourself – don’t just look at Instagram. A lot of it is smoke and mirrors. Stop looking up to American barbers and look at the great talent we have here in this country.

“Think outside the box. Look at my photography work  –  it’s different to everyone else’s.  Be creative, and be you – every top barber is the best at being themselves, so you need to be you”.

I hope you put these words into practice in your career, and remember:  there is always support, advice and inspiration for barbers at my YouTube channel Barbers.TV, or my @LarrytheBarberMan Instagram profile.

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Kevin Vorley’s Of K Barbers Emporium, Barbering Story

I recently sat with Master craftsman, Kevin Voley, founder of K Barbers Emporium in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex to discuss the success of his brand and how he and his team developed what has become known in the industry as the ‘K Way’ of doing business.

 

Kevin, also a UK ambassador for Andis, is known internationally as an educator/consultant who is able to train people of all abilities, sharing his 25 years’ experience of barbering and his extensive knowledge of the tools, techniques, and methods that not only work but have helped to shape the industry.

 

Starting his working career as a plumber, Kevin saw the opportunity to go into hairdressing during the 90s recession. He had been plumbing for 5 to 6 years before economic pressures meant that he was doing a 3-day week and he felt it time to consider going in another direction.

 

Kevin worked as an apprentice/assistant to Calum Jade in Blackfriars, put himself through night school, and discovered his love for cutting, which he describes as his forte. Inspired, he went on to ‘volunteer’ with Roger Wigmore (inventor of Denman Pro Edge comb), while he finished his hairdressing units – eventually working with Wigmore for over a decade.

 

“It’s been a very very interesting career,” says Kevin, explaining that he never looked back, “amazing actually.”

 

Putting in the effort

 

One of the most important aspects of Kevin’s approach to both business and life is education or self-development and he says that he learned what he did through volunteering and putting the work in. “I think the most important thing for me is the will and desire to self-develop and improve and progress and adapt all the time,” he says,  “That’s what this industry does.”

 

Kevin has been witness to more than 20 years of industry highs and lows and what he describes as the recent massive surge in barbering. Dividing his interests among education, helping people and developing his business has given him a unique perspective and says Kevin, “the developmental part of barbering” is now “incredibly progressive.” He advises that one of the most important things that barbers can do is discover how they learn because individual learning styles have a big impact on personal development.

 

K Barbers Emporium’s Client Focus

 

Having worked for other people, Kevin says that he brought his observations to the development of his shop. K Barbers Emporium is one month shy of being 10 years old and while many shops revolve around the personality of the barber, Kevin says that he wanted to ensure that his business followed in the footsteps of the industry, by being centred around the needs of clients. Describing his perspective as coming from a “left-field angle,” Kevin created a 3-part system that forms part of what has become known as the ‘K Way’ or the way that K Barbers Emporium does business. The 3 focusses are:

 

*Quality – which Kevin says has to produced every single time.

*Consistency – or how to get the same results again and again and again and

*Continuity – an area that Kevin says he takes responsibility for and is about ensuring that everyone in his team is “singing from the same hymn sheet.”

 

Kevin admits that it is a challenge to take barbers from diverse backgrounds and train them to be effective behind a chair at K Barbers Emporium, but he says it is an incredibly rewarding journey. This is because everyone wins, he explains, especially the clients. Services match the clientele and barbers at K’s can handle everything from a baby’s first haircut to meeting the exacting standards of retired barbers. “All the barbers have the quality and armour in their toolkit to approach any haircut and nail it!”

 

K’s has a huge client base, he says, who appreciate the “care, attention, and service quality” they receive, as well as, the little things, like how staff at the shop help them with their coat and say goodbye at the end of the experience. It is the small things Kevin believes that barbers already have control over, that can help the barbering industry to move forward.

 

 

More about the ‘K Way’

 

The way that Kevin and his team approach the business of barbering has earned them a number of awards including one from the British Barbers Association and another from their local newspaper, Echo. Kevin himself has been honoured with the title of Master Craftsman in Barbering.  The fact that most of the awards earned have been for business is one of the things that Kevin is proudest of. K Barbers Emporium has sometimes competed for awards with big businesses in everything from retail to manufacturing and plumbing, and “outgunned” them all. “As a business, I think we have the perfect business model,” Kevin says by way of explanation, “and I am always refining and polishing [it].” Part of that model is the ‘K Way,’ that interestingly was borrowed from the way that other people described the experience of the shop’s service. “We knicked it,” says Kevin, who went on to define what it is as a reproducible system.

 

For me the word SYSTEM is an acronym for “Save Yourself Significant Time, Energy and Money,” and the truth of this becomes apparent in what Kevin has developed.

 

The ‘K Way’ may have 3 legs (quality, consistency, and continuity) but its foundation is structure, says Kevin. “For me, structure starts at the foundations,” he says, “and K Barbers Emporium has an absolute concrete foundation.” According to Kevin, he and his team have put in an incredible amount of time into the development of their structure, which has led to the ability to build their foundation even higher. Many barber shops fail in structure and struggle with discipline in the areas of barbering, themselves and even clients, says Kevin, who also has a consultancy arm to his business that offers other barbering shops the value of his expertise in this area.

 

While structure is the main thing, it is supported by technique and design. “Techniques are extremely important,” says Kevin, explaining that they are what go into the structure of a haircut, while design is about “understanding the geometry and shape of the cut.”  Returning to his commitment to education and qualifications, Kevin says that this is why qualifications matter. They teach discipline he says and provide the basics.

 

 

The Evolution of the Barbering Industry

 

Developing his business alongside his role in the educational team for the Andis clipper company, Kevin says that he has noted the shift from show work’s focus primarily on hairdressing to sharing an equal footing with barbering. He says that barbers are now holding their own and perfecting their skillsets. The strength of the UK team, which includes the likes of MK and Kieron Price, and the opportunity to connect with professionals on stages in places like Florida and New York, has been part of his professional development, says Kevin. He encourages that every barber shop should have a team as diverse as the Andis team.  “Andis has taught me a lot,” he says, “… again it’s win-win. Our knowledge and experience help Andis in developing their tools and increases sales for them. We get exposure and education, and we learn from each other.” Kevin underscores the importance of not only the opportunity to share skills with other masters but also how indispensable it is that all of the barbers have equal respect for each other. This is one area in which Kevin feels that the industry can develop, explaining later that it isn’t uncommon to hear people talk about an absence of “barber love.” Social media has offered barbers who may not be at the same level of their career as Kevin, the opportunity to connect with barbers across the world, share their work and see what others are doing. This makes you want to up your game, says Kevin, and to learn more. However, not everyone uses social media in a supportive way and he says, barbers should use it to show love and respect for their international counterparts rather than be negative.

 

“Learning from each other,” he says, “is key to development.”

 

“Work Hard, Aim High, Be Nice and Stay Humble”

 

My interview with Kevin really highlighted the depth of the knowledge that he had to share and it was incredible that we covered as much as we did in only 30 minutes.

 

One area in which Kevin definitely excels is in brand development and K Barbers Emporium is synonymous not only with quality haircuts, but also professional training, coaching and consultancy, and even its own line of professional products. Only K products are used in the shop and according to Kevin, their sales make up 10-15% of the business bottom line. The most important aspect of K’s product development, however, is that it is used as a business calling card, reflecting the importance of taking a “left field angle’ to all aspects of business including marketing.

 

Apart from his own systems that Kevin so generously shares, he advises that those interested in opening their own barbering business discover their strengths and build their business around it. He suggests deciding on a market and learning everything there is to know about it before taking an unconventional approach to capturing it. Surrounding yourself with other barbers who support your vision is critical, says Kevin, who shares the motto he lives by – “Work Hard, Aim High, Be Nice and Stay Humble.”

 

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Barber: Rob The Original Shares His Barberbing Story

We often talk about barbering as a craft and an art-form, and that’s never more true that with Rob the Original, a barber who combines his artistic vision with incredible clippering skills to create hair designs that pack a real punch. I’ve been following Rob’s work for a while now and he’s been high on my hit-list of interviewees. Well, we were both at the International Beauty Show in New York last weekend, so I took the opportunity to tear him away from the BaByliss stand and find out his story.

First thing’s first – as with every barber that I speak to, I wanted to know what led Rob into his barbering career in the first place. A huge number of barbers that I speak to found their way into the profession almost by accident, and Rob’s seems to have had a similar experience:

“When I was 16 years old, I first picked up the clippers and started cutting my own hair. My parents didn’t have the money to get our hair cut often, and those very short buzz cuts were in style and I wanted to have one. Later on, when I turned 20 I first got introduced to the barber world. I walked into a barbershop for a haircut and walked out with a job. I was helping out in the shop and I started picking up skills, so I went to barber college and got my license.”

That’s really only the beginning of Rob’s journey, though, as once he started working in the barbershop back in 2006 he discovered that he had a real talent for creating hair designs, creating logos, patterns and just about anything else that his clients could think of. Clients and barbers alike loved to see his work, and when his friend suggested that they started creating YouTube videos showcasing Rob in action he found that there was a huge audience out there interested in watching him create new designs.

From here, he began getting talent spotted by everyone from the owner of BaByliss, who saw Rob’s work and decided that they needed to get him onto their team, to TV producers who invited him to appear on programmes such as the Queen Latifah Show: “I think that a lot of TV producers find me interesting because I do artwork that is random, you don’t see it very often and it catches the attention. That’s why I’ve been shared by a lot of big pages, and my following has grown. The world cup was a big step for me because I was doing artwork on haircuts of the soccer players, so I was doing interviews with people from different countries. I also recently did a last supper haircut, and that one went viral too and gave me a lot of exposure.”

Rob’s creative drive has also seen him move beyond hair, creating artworks with just about any material that comes to hand.  This includes sand art and brush carvings, as well as more unusual mediums such as food and even the dust that builds up on windows. The idea is to show that great art can be created with “basically anything”, since Rob “sees art everywhere”.

The results are always incredible, so it’s no surprise that Rob has had his work picked up by so many different people – including Instagram themselves, who asked to interview him and shared his work. As I mentioned, this has included a relationship with the big-name brand BaByliss, a company that Rob tells me have looked after him every step of the way.

Of course, anything worth doing is worth fighting for, and Rob has at times had to battle his way past people who haven’t necessarily had his best interests at heart. However, he tells me that separating the people who really cared about him from those who wanted to take advantage of his hard work helped propel him forwards, ultimately inspiring him to open his own shop where he could do things the right way.

There’s little within the barbering and styling industry that Rob hasn’t experienced, so I’m sure you’re eager to hear what advice he has to offer. There are two key points here: the first being to “follow your passion”, to find what you love and keep doing it! His second suggestion is to make use of social media, and Instagram in particular, to keep your audience interested: “Using social media helped me very much, you’ve got to stay very active, constantly be posting and make sure that you keep putting out new artwork, new material. People want to see new things.”

Check out the full interview to hear everything that Rob the Original has to say, or head to robtheoriginal.com to see more of his work and get in touch with him if you’re interested in purchasing any of his custom clipper artwork. I’d also love to see you over at my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages, where there are plenty more interviews coming your way in the very near future!

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Instagram Sensation Harry Karolis And Team, Of Ego Barbers Tell Their Story

EGO Barber’s are pulling no punches, calling themselves ‘the next generation of barbering.’  Just a glance at the work they’ve published on Instagram (@egobarbers) reveals they have the skill and the flair to back up such a bold claim. I knew I had to share their story with a wider audience, so today we will dive into their barbering careers and discover the story behind the EGO Barbers brand.

Putting the Team Together

I met up with director Harry Karolis and barbers Tabby, Stell, and Alex at their shop in North London. I always love group interviews; there’s something special about bringing a barbering team together to get the full picture of how they work. But first, I wanted to hear the unique stories that brought them to EGO.

First up is Tabby, who fell into barbering because he wanted to find a decent job that could bring in some money: “I was about 18 when I started – I was at uni studying business property law.  I liked where it was going, but I’d been in the industry for a couple of years by the time I finished and realized I just really like the atmosphere of a barbershop.”  His specialty? “I’m the celebrity barber in here… I’m also very down to earth and a very bubbly character so I can entertain people.”

Next up we have Stell: “I’ve been doing it for about 17 years now. I started with barbering and then moved into women’s hairdressing, found that it wasn’t really for me and moved back into the barbering scene. About four or five years ago I got into education.  That’s a real interest to me and I think that’s where my special touch resides.  I like to embed knowledge and just watch people grow. I think it’s a lot more satisfying”.

Alex started barbering in Cyprus before heading to London and discovering EGO.  According to Harry, “Alex literally told me ‘I am going to work here’ after coming in as a client”.  He came into the shop and blew Harry away with impressive cuts and particularly flawless fades.

Introducing Harry Karolis

Harry Karolis is the man pulling it all together.  Harry’s career has taken him from Daniel Galvin to New York as a session stylist, then back to London as a session stylist and freelance barber in Shoreditch. He tells me about the journey:

“I was taken to Daniel Galvin by my Uncle – my Uncle was a hairdresser from Cyprus – and at the time I was a young man who was up to no good, hadn’t really been doing anything after leaving school, so my Uncle decided to take me to learn a craft. He took me to Daniel Galvin and that’s when it all started for me. I was lucky enough to have one-on-ones with Joshua Galvin. After that, I wanted to further my career and got the opportunity to move to New York as a session stylist.”

Harry was working on film sets and fashion shows – but missing his Mum brought him back to London, where he decided to cross the gap from hairdressing into barbering. He focussed on the traditional values of the trade, going beyond fading and focussing on classic skills and techniques.

“Then I got married about seven years ago, and my wife wanted me to be closer to home, so she suggested I open my own shop. I bought this shop when it was six months old and pretty much started from scratch”.

Introducing EGO Barbers

 

 

EGO Barbers has picked up a huge client base, and I was interested in what keeps clients coming through the door. Harry believes the atmosphere they’ve created attracts people, plus “when they leave the shop, they’re well -groomed.”

The EGO ethos is strong:  “We focus on shape before fade,” Stell told me. “We construct a haircut by looking at the shape first because we feel that’s the most important element. The fade comes in after. We want our client to have a haircut that will last, however long they’re away from us. The fade grows out quickly, so the haircut needs to last”.

Everyone on the team uses the same structure, so clients can relax, knowing they can get the same result from any team member. “We call it the EGO way, and it’s as simple as that.”

Blowing Up Instagram

The @Egobarbers Instagram page blew past the magic number of 200,000 followers recently – despite team members’ initial trepidation about the site. But Harry soon realized how much inspiration Instagram offers barbers everywhere, and after seeing some great barbering videos, he started sharing his clips.

I’ve looked through their Instagram work.  They’ve posted some incredible one-minute clips focussing on stunning angles, all backed by great soundtracks. Although Harry doesn’t speak on camera, you get a real sense of his personality.

Instagram success inspired the team to move into education, “born out of the demand that Harry was getting on social media,” Stell said.  With her educational background, it was natural Tell was involved from the start.  “Harry messaged me after I left the London School of Barbering, and we spoke about what people would want from an education system. “

“We’re focussing on what we do in the shop. It’s very much about shape before fade. We’ve found many barbers are excellent at fading, but when it comes to structuring a haircut from start to finish and bringing all the elements together, there’s a lack of understanding. And vice versa for hairdressers, who are very comfortable with their scissors, but don’t feel comfortable with fades and clippers.

I wanted to know what Kings of Tomorrow would look like from the consumer’s perspective. “We’re going to offer seminars here in EGO, and we want to make sure it’s an intimate setting. We also want to offer going out to people and working with them on a practical level”.

They team is even producing a course-related textbook so barbers take away a reference to help them maintain their skills. Stell says they want people to “leave and think, ‘Wow, that was too cheap. That was more than I thought I was going to get.’”

Taking to the Stage

Harry is not one to seek the spotlight, but since EGO blew up he’s had little choice.  He will make his barber stage debut at the upcoming Irish Barbering Expo. I imagine there’s a lot more of that sort of work coming his way – a crowning achievement for any barber.

Harry has been in the hair industry for 21 years, so who better to ask about today’s state of the barbering industry?  “Everyone wants to be a barber now; it’s a phenomenal craft,” he told me. “The industry has grown so much, and there are a lot of passionate barbers out there.

“Instagram has given us that platform to showcase. It’s an amazing craft and if you want to become a barber, do it. We have fun all day.”

 

 

Stell adds, “If you were a barber, people used to think you were thick.” Now barbers wear the title proudly, and feel the profession has earned recognition it has long deserved.

In my opinion – and the EGO barbers agree – a lot of this is down to education, with barbering catching up with hairdressing in the breadth and depth of training on offer.

With so much experience behind him, I have to find out what Harry sees as his greatest moment.  It’s a good one:  Harry is a huge Tottenham fan, and he got to cut the hair of Tottenham’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino.

“My other great moment is having such great staff; we’re like a family in here. We’re all from Cyprus, so we have banter in Greek as well, and the clients are all such characters. Honestly though, Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, was the big one.

Before I left the guys at EGO, I just had time to get words of advice for barbers still finding their feet:

“Surround yourself with positive people who think alike. Once you surround yourself with positive people just don’t give up, keep believing and never stop learning. Your dreams can come true,” Harry said.

Tabby adds that the more you practice, the better you become, and Alex shares a key example from his career: “I remember a time when I thought I was never going to get fades, ever. I just wanted to give up. But I kept going and it worked”.

For Stell, it’s all about persistence. “Complacency kills off a lot of people. Someone said to me that talent will only ever take you so far, but when you have persistence, you’ll outdo somebody with just talent every time.”

The EGO team gave me so much to take away and I hope it has inspired you, too.  Please do find them on Instagram at @egobarbers, and look out for the Kings of Tomorrow course, as it’s sure to be exceptional.

You will always find new, exciting content from me @LarrytheBarberMan.  There are plenty of interviews just as entertaining as this one. To see my full on-cam interview with the EGO barbers, head to my YouTube channel, Barbers.TV.

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Babyliss 4 Barbers: Educator, Sofie ( StayGold31) Tells Her Story

When I caught up with Sofie Pok  A.k.A  Staygold31 at the International Beauty Show, it was hot off the back of an incredible achievement:  being named BarberCon’s “Best Female Barber of the Year.”  All the more remarkable is this L.A.-based artist won the coveted prize after just seven years working exclusively with men’s hair.

Every barber has to fight to make it to the top, but as a minority within the industry, female barbers find an amplified struggle.  I’ve met many formidable women barbers, each one unique.  Sophie’s tale is a fascinating blend of heart, creativity and hard work.  I am delighted to share more about this delightful person, so let’s get to know Sofie!

Barbering: Something that makes you want to wake up in the morning

Sofie started as a hairdresser in Los Angeles but found the field didn’t generate the excitement and creative sparks she was seeking. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this from both men and women barbers.  I wanted to know more about what motivated her jump from one side of the hair styling industry to the other and how she  felt about the journey.

“I started doing hair about seven years ago, the first year I got into cosmetology,” she says. “Going through that first year was a little bit tough because I couldn’t find that feeling where you’re just excited to get up every day.”

“So, the second year I thought, ‘ before I give it all up, let me try men’s hair and see how that works.’ I jumped into a barbershop, “she said.  Sofie is an incredible presence, an Asian American with magnificent blondish hair and a fantastic scheme of tattoos covering most of her visible skin, many of the inspired by her Cambodian heritage.  Despite the power of her look and personality, she says entering a barber shop “was probably one of the most uncomfortable and intimidating moves I’ve done, working by myself as a female, with all guys who had way more experience.”

But Sofie had found her calling, and went for it hard. “Pretty soon it developed into a passion where it was challenging, it was fast-paced, and it made me want to go to work and keep learning. And my main focus was just to do what I could and try to make it work – because it was fun and I enjoyed it.”

Sofie was soon discovering the creativity for which she is becoming so well known, crafting exceptional haircuts. “You have to!” she said.  “We are the minority of this entire industry in just the barbering world alone, so we’ve got to cut twice as hard. That helped me separate myself from everyone else”.

While reflecting on her barbering roots with me, Sofie was still expressing amazement at her BarberCon achievement.  She says it was a total shock, not least because her only intent in going was to showcase her work.  So how did it feel to be told she’d won a huge barbering prize so suddenly?

“I was completely speechless,” she says with a smile. “To be recognized after all these years of knowing how hard it is first of all to be a barber, but then to be a female which made it extremely difficult in the beginning”.

At my prompting, Sofie shared a theory about why she was selected for the honor, telling me what she puts out is very real, never sugar-coated, and she loves connecting with others who are still coming up, offering advice, inspiration and the energy to keep going.

 

 

 The rise of female barbers

Seeing a woman cutting hair on the barbershop floor used to be rare, but the growth of the industry has gone hand-in-hand with a very welcome rise in diversity, Sofie said.

“Now,  I see growth in a lot of States where women are not afraid anymore. They are coming into this world and trying to hold their own.  It’s starting to change where people aren’t just saying, “Oh, you’re good for a girl.”  No. “You’re good, period.” And that’s what it should be.  It shouldn’t be segregated. “You’re OK for a chick.” But those little things that have pushed me to where I am now; you’ve got to find those moments that drive you even further”.

Sofie is finding ways to help people find that drive, including a YouTube channel of how-to videos: “I think it’s important to show people that you’re not just taking shortcuts and making it look nice,” she said. “I represent BaByliss for barbers, and it’s important for me to show that I’m actually using these tools to do things.”

Sofie’s message is that tools connect you to your work…and bring out your creativity.  “People want to feel like it’s real and attainable,” she said. “I want to break it down and make it easy because I know what it’s like to just be handed a pair of clippers and not really know the specs or what is out there,” she added.  “I break down tool knowledge because it’s important for us to understand why we’re using it so we can do it better.”

Sofie’s Instagram – staygold31- is home to many of these videos and I encourage barbers everywhere to follow her not just for the videos,  but for her inspirational posts and background on the BaByliss products she reps.  Picking up an ambassador role for an excellent product line is a big dream for many barbers, so I asked  how Sofie landed the job:

“A lot of companies are looking for people who can already sell themselves,” she said.” The first four or five years I’ve built my page off of things that I enjoy. You have to find what’s pure to you and that’s how you’re going to build an audience because people want to follow real people.”

She said she was initially skeptical of going into product promotion, but  BaByliss tools are a real part of who she is and what she is doing. “I took the risk and I’m so glad I did,” she smiles.

BaByliss has grown in credibility recently, and it’s great to see barbers embrace another set of tools -after all, the more diversity in your clipper collection, the more opportunities for you to provide different styles. For Sofie, this means getting up on stage and showing what these clippers can do, a role she is clearly good at and enjoys.

The final element to Sofie’s work is building her personal brand, with a range of Stay Gold apron pins for barbers.  You can check these out on Instagram right now and her new website, coming soon.

She’s also focusing on building her photographer chops. “It came with cutting hair,” she told me. “ I used to use an iPhone, but with higher quality photography you can not only put your work out there better but also study your haircuts a little more, see the details.  Overall, you create a better portfolio for yourself, and I think that’s really important as well as your presentation. .”

Sofie stresses a topic in which I believe too many barbers lack awareness: marketing and promotion. “You know you could be a good barber but if you don’t have good presentation, how are you going to get clientele, build business opportunities?” she asks. “People will notice the little details, it separates you, because of the quality that you invest in yourself”.

 

 

Reflecting on the industry

Before I let Sofie get back on stage, I wanted one final insight: her take on the state of the industry today.  I love getting reaction to this question since everyone has a unique insight. With that in mind, and to embrace the positive spirit of the IBS show, I asked Sofie what she loves about the industry:

“How much men’s hair has grown,” she said enthusiastically. “ Because a little while ago men weren’t into their hair as much, but that stigma for men who want to get their eyebrows done, that’s gone.  Now men want to look better and feel better. Men are getting their hair cut 3 or 4 times as much as women now, so the industry is coming up to the same point as female hairdressing.”

That should be a motivating message for every barber!  Hope you enjoyed getting to know another wonderful up-and-comer like Sofie, who bring so much energy and enthusiasm and have inspiring and practical insights to share.  Don’t forget to find her on Instagram as StayGold31.

To get more motivating interviews with the principal industry figures, follow me on Instagram – larrythebarberman- and then head on over to my YouTube channel at barbers.tv.

I’m planning more barber profiles soon. ‘Til then, happy clipping!

 

 

 

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Interview: With Barber Mark Gaye & Founder Of Irish Barber Expo

 

At the ripe age of 23-years-old, most blokes are only beginning to figure out what they want to do with their life. But Mark Gaye is not your average 23-year-old man. He is already a multiple barbershop owner and founder of the Irish Barber Expo.

 

Sure, there are young people who find success early in life and then aren’t capable of dealing with its stressors. However, Mark knows what he’s doing, and he didn’t get to where he is with luck.

 

He did, however, begin his journey in the barber world much like the rest of us – by cutting his own hair. “I got fed up with one of the barbershops not getting exactly what I wanted,” Mark says. At first, Mark saw cutting hair as a hobby, but eventually went on to cut hair in college. Mark did decide to leave Uni once he began making money through his business endeavors.

 

Fast forward to present day, it’s been two years since Mark opened his first shop, and he already owns three salons and is planning on opening two more. Owning that many barbershops would be a lot for anyone, but I’m impressed that Mark has the maturity to run his operation in a way that promotes growth. I know that at 23-years-old, I could not have done the same.

 

When I sat down with Mark in Athlone, I wanted to know what inspired him to name his salon Notorious Barbershop. But when I looked around the shop, I saw iconic photos of Notorious B.I.G., and I knew that Biggie Smalls was a source of inspiration for Mark. However, Mark did not originally plan to name his salon after the late nineties rapper. “I planned on calling it King Cuts,” Mark says. “When I went to go register the name for King Cuts, it was gone to a shop about 45 minutes from here… I was sitting there with Biggie [playing] on my headphones, and I had two weeks to open a shop and no name.”

 

Now, Notorious Barbershop and Mark are flourishing. In fact, the shop offers a 12-week course for aspiring barbers and those looking to improve their skill set. “We started advertising a course, and we got a huge response. The first course sold out within the first two weeks, and that was just word of mouth,” Mark says. They’ve also created a Notorious wet product line. But Mark insists that they don’t want to be seen as “too commercial.” He says that when a client comes in for a cut, they’ll advise them on a product, but they don’t push the product.

I think that says a lot about Mark’s products. When your product is good, you don’t have to oversell it. Your client will want it because they want to go home, and recreate the same look that you were able to achieve in your salon.

 

But Mark has expanded his horizons outside of the barbershop; right now, Mark is gearing up for the Irish Barber Expo on April 30th. The event has become larger than Mark anticipated, but I know that it’ll be a hit. With big names like Rob the Original (who has been on Oprah, so you know he’s a big deal), Lou the Barber, and SharpFade

aka Byrd Mena attending, it’s hard to imagine that the expo won’t be a success. “I didn’t plan on it being this big, but it just took off,” Mark says.

 

Mark decided to create the Irish Barber Expo to bridge a gap in the Irish barber community. He says, “Predominately in Ireland, we have go on a plane and fly over to the UK to see a good show.” But now, Mark wants to help put Ireland on the international stage. More Irish barbers will have the opportunity to learn, network, and compete in barber battles without having to deal with the hassle of traveling too far.

 

I know that I’m excited to see what Mark has in-store for us at the Irish Barber Expo. I’ll leave you on that note, and I hope that this interview taught you a few things about young people acting as pioneers in our industry. I’d like to thank Mark for taking the time to sit down with me for an interview – it was greatly appreciated! I can’t wait to see you at the Irish Barber Expo! I’d also like to thank my readers for following me on my journey. If you’d like to see more of my interviews with professionals in this industry – follow me on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Barber: SharpFade Shares His Social Media Success Story

During my time at the International Beauty Show: New York, I had to interview Byrd Mena, better known as Sharp Fade, to get the scoop on his branding and marketing techniques. Byrd has one of the more interesting stories on how he rose to prominence in the industry; he managed an anonymous Instagram account, named – you guessed it – Sharp Fade, and gained a large following. In fact, when I interviewed Byrd in March, he had around 450,000 followers. Now, as I write this blog post in April, he has approximately 479,000 followers. The man doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

 

Eventually, Byrd decided that it was time to go public with his Instagram account. When I asked him about how he came out to the barber industry as Sharp Fade, he laughs and says, “That’s a funny story.”  Byrd tells me that people would invite his Instagram page to events, and he decided to show up even though no one knew who he was. “Slowly, it started to reveal itself who I was,” Byrd says.

 

When Byrd revealed who he was, he had been running his Instagram account for 18 months. When I asked him why he stayed anonymous for so long, he says, “I figure these people would get jealous or envious because I’m young and trying to do something new.” Byrd even admitted that he told a few people about his double life as Sharp Fade, and he received negative feedback that he says kept him from sharing his identity.

 

But ultimately, most people were supportive. “I told my barber around the same time I told everybody else,” Byrd says. “He was like, ‘Wow, bro! How’d you keep it a secret for so long?’”

 

Yet Byrd has extended his influence beyond his catchy Instagram handle. He’s savvy with online marketing so it’s not surprising that Byrd would come up with an event as innovative as online barber battles. “I’d say six years ago, the barber battle started to pop a lot. No one took it to where you could do it online,” Byrd says. “I decided to do it online, so we can battle with people all around the world. Having the chance to battle with someone in London against somebody who’s in New York – made it more fun for the industry.” As Byrd notes, it also gave these people the opportunity to network through social media.

 

But online barber battles were not an overnight success. In the beginning, Byrd only had about 30 barbers sign up for the battles. The numbers began to increase once Byrd stepped away from promoting behind the screen, and met with people face-to-face at events to get the word out about online barber battles. Now, Byrd has to chose specific barbers to participant because around 400 people will sign up.

 

I think that Byrd’s experience with promoting the online barber battles is a great learning lesson for all of us in this industry. Byrd had a forward-thinking idea, but he still needed to outreach to people for the online barber battles to become a success. While it’s always great to promote our work online, sometimes the best way to get people interested is to have that face-to-face interaction.

 

However, I still think that it’s important to build a social media following, but don’t underestimate the networking opportunities at events. Even Byrd says, “Just networking in person is probably the best networking that you can do.”

 

Through Byrd’s networking, he’s been able to work with companies such as Elegance, Red One, JRL, Bevel, and many more. Byrd has been working with Elegance for a few years, and they provide him with different products that he gifts the winner of his online barber battles as a prize.

 

It’s hard to keep up with all of the projects that Byrd has taken on, but he’s also created a Creative and Elite Program for barbers. If barbers join the Creative & Elite Program that Byrd has created, they can get a discount on products from the companies that Byrd has worked with. They also get a certain amount of posts on Sharp Fade’s page, and the location of their barbershop on his website. When I asked Byrd about the Creative and Elite Program, he said, “I wanted to change the whole game, and help these barbers in a unique way.”

 

As successful as Byrd has been with his online marketing techniques, he’s not done growing and expanding his brand yet. Right now, his newest project is an email newsletter – or as Byrd likes to call them, email blasts. He’s been working on the project for a few months, and only has around 250 subscribers. But knowing Byrd, with his determination and network, he’ll have 250,000 subscribers in a few years. I’d bet on it.

 

I’ll leave you on that note, and I hope that this interview helps inspire you to build your network and expand your online presence. I know that it has reminded me to keep working at building a strong network – through social media and in-person opportunities. I’d like to thank Byrd for taking the time to sit down with me for an interview – it was greatly appreciated! I’d also like to thank you, dear reader, for following me on my journey. Without your continued support, I would not be where I am today. If you’d like to see more of my interviews with professionals in this industry – follow me on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

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Young Fed, Men’s Hair Dresser: Joe Sloan Speaks Out, About Barbering

When I sat down with Joe Sloan at his shop in Essex, I was interested to learn more about his perspective of the industry. Joe is a third generation barber, so he’s aware of how the industry has changed over a span of decades. His grandad – who he describes as a six foot hero of his – had a shop in Glasgow, Scotland. Joe’s father, Adam Sloan, followed his own father’s footsteps, and opened a few salons in Southend. So it’s safe to say that Joe has barbering in his blood – or at least, he’s been exposed to the industry his entire life. When Joe was 13-years-old, he started working in his dad’s salon; at 29-years-old, that means he has 16 years of barber experience. Now, Joe uses that experience that has been passed down from generations in his own barbershop, The Big Yin. But like most industries, barbershops have had to evolve with the times. “What gives us significance over everyone else is that we’re very forward-thinking,” Joe says. In fact, The Big Yin Gents Division has been allowing clients to make appointments at the shop for years instead of the traditional walk-in system. Only recently, have other barbershops started to allow clients to make appointments ahead of time. Joe says, “When you’re running a business, I need to foresee what we’ve got coming in. And to guarantee longevity for my staff, for their trade – appointments are a necessity.” I also think that a big part of Joe’s success has to do with the people that he surrounds himself with. During our interview, Joe spoke about all of the incredible people that he works with. In his shop, he works with Steve Crocombe, Stephen Potter, Paul Harrison aka “Weird Paul”, and Chris Muskett aka “Granddad” or “Money.” Joe had plenty of kind words about Weird Paul and says, “To work alongside this young man is a breath of fresh air. He’s going to be better than I could ever be.” He also spoke highly of Chris, Joe says, “Without Chris… I wouldn’t be where I am right now.” ​ I find it refreshing that Joe is open about how his business partners, coworkers, and employees contribute to his success. A good barber cannot run a successful barbershop alone; in order for a business to succeed, you need people who are not only talented but also dedicated, reliable workers. With Joe’s educational training courses, he is trying to create and mentor the kind of people that are going to become those hard-working and inventive individuals. Joe and his father, Adam, created the Men’s Hair Dressing Federation with the mission of giving the barber industry the respect and popularity that it has today; Men’s Hairdressing Federation also aims at educating individuals within the barber industry. “This is what’s out here for you, if you want to do that,” Joe says. “It is about education, and uniting people, and inspiring people. We’re educating people correctly. We’re not trying to plug any equipment or brands. We want to give people that fire in their belly.” When Joe is looking for an apprentice, he wants someone who comes with the correct skills already, such as common courtesy and the ability to provide excellent customer service. So that when he begins to train his apprentice, he can teach them more advance skills like how to structure and look after a barbershop. Basically, what Joe and his father have created is an organization that aims to give barbering the credit that women’s hairstyling receives. Before I let Joe go, I had to ask him what he think the industry is lacking. He says, “I think everyone is looking for this pot of gold that ain’t there… It’s about earning your right, and using people correctly on platforms. There’s lot of people doing shows, doing seminars that aren’t quite seasoned enough to be in that environment.” What Joe is trying to say is that he sees a lot of people in the industry that aren’t ready to be leaders or teachers – it’s still relatively early in their career and they’re still learning. I do believe that we’re always still learning, but I can see what he saying. When it comes to social media, Joe has similar thoughts. “You don’t want to shut down someone’s passion. I love that people are passionate about what we do. However, when you’re putting social media out – maybe thinking just a bit more,” Joe says. “We need to be a little bit more real.” While Joe’s opinion might be considered a little controversial, (he even admits that he doesn’t want to offend anyone) it’s always a good idea to only promote individuals or “give barber love” to those that we really believe in. Now, before we go, I do want to say that I enjoyed my interview with Joe, and I want to thank him for his time. His interview was very real, and I know that Joe isn’t the type to put on a facade. If that’s your style, then check out some of his work with Barber Cake on Facebook or Instagram. I also want to thank you, the reader, for following along with this blog post and my journey. If you’d like to see more interview with talented professionals in the industry, come find me on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.