How to prolong the life of your lithium clipper batteries
Sometimes it seems like while the price of clippers keeps rising, the battery life only gets shorter and shorter. This can be a frustrating challenge for any barber – but it’s also a challenge that can be easily overcome once you know a couple of simple tips that will give you maximum performance from your new clippers.
Don’t forget, these facts apply to lithium batteries – so if you’re not sure how your clipper is powered then double check to make sure that they apply to you.
Fact 1 – Give your clipper five times the battery life
Never allow the battery to run down all the way to zero (or virtually zero.) Instead, you should aim to plug your clipper into the charger as soon as it reaches 70% battery. This will give the clipper five times the battery length when compared to charging carelessly or randomly.
Fact 2 – Get more run time from your fully-charged clipper
Keep your clippers cool: exposure to excessive heat is known to reduce the run time of the lithium battery. This is because the chemical reaction of a battery running low will occur far more quickly if the tool is also exposed to heat. So, ideally, please store your clippers away from direct sunlight or radiators in a nice cool spot.
If you found this helpful, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, as that’s where you’ll find more how to tips to help you get the most from your clippers. You’ll also find me as @LarrytheBarberMan on Instagram and Facebook – follow me and get in touch to let me know what tips you’d like to see next!
The founder of Barber Connect Russia, Kristina Murtuzalieva has crashed into the barbering industry in a big way, making her mark with a show that must have exceeded all expectations! I met up with her to find out what she’s got planned for the next convention – but first, let’s hear about the inspiration and motivation behind her first show.
“I think it’s to do with travelling to be honest. Travelling gives you the ideas, the contacts, the inspiration. Before I even opened my first barbershop I travelled a lot, I visited many shows and I had the inspiration to go into a male industry. And that’s how I got the idea of entering the barber industry in Russia – which wasn’t very big at that time.
“To be honest, we didn’t really think our show was so big until I started visiting other shows. And then I realised that it was a little different from everything I’ve seen so far. We had our first barber con last year and some of the barbers were saying Kristina you should be proud of yourself. I just thought I was doing a small thing.”
Russian barbering isn’t something that we often get to discuss on this show, so I’m very keen to find out where Russian barbers get their inspiration from.
“To be honest, before I had my show – 2, 3 months before – I had no idea who the celebrities of the barbering industry were, or what the shows in America were. I didn’t even know the CT Expo existed. I just thought it was my own thing. So, I just picked randomly.”
The expo actually featured 24 barbers from across the world, including Julius Caesar, Donny and Diego. I asked Kristina what influence these international barbers have on the Russian barbers attending the show.
“I have no idea! That’s the thing, I don’t depend on the opinion that anyone has on how the barbering industry in Russia works, who the good or bad barbers are, anything like that. We just do our own thing.”
Some of the more spectacular elements of the Russian con included their decision to collaborate with a custom car convention, as well as performances from some of Russia’s biggest rap stars. Kristina told me more about these special finishing touches.
“There was a custom car convention in Russia, and as soon as they found out that we were doing a show they wanted to take part. They brought retro cars from all over Russia, and some bikes as well, and we had some car races in the convention centre!
“We actually had three, very famous rap stars. One of them was from Black Star label, some of the guys may know from around the world. Two of them were older generation but very popular. So we had them to close the show – two on one day and one on the other day.”
It seems like there’s a lot to live up to, so I have to ask… What’s planned to help make next year just as exciting?
“Next year is going to be very different. We actually have two shows planned – a barber show, and a tattoo show. We have invited 7 world famous tattoo artists from America, from Japan, Spain, Mexico… Some of them have a four-year waiting list. Very, very good.”
This should excite quite a lot of barbers, since the two industries have become so integrated in recent years. It’s also a great opportunity for vendors – Kristina tells me that they had around 12,000 barbers attending last year from across the world. This means that you could look forward to a lot of benefits if you decided to exhibit as part of the show.
“First of all, you’ve got quick sales – you can sell as much as you bring with you. Second, if you are a new brand in Russia and you don’t have a distributor then you can easily fin one there. It’s a very good opportunity – one of those events where you can get your product noticed very quickly. We also provide translators for every international vendor that we have. Last year we had people from Indonesia, Mexico, Japan and Spain and we found them interpreters.”
There are also some exciting changes being made in terms of education, with more learning opportunities available.
“Last year, we only had barbers on the main stage. This year we’re doing classes. So, you can see one barber perform on the main stage, and then you could see them, or another barber, in a class which might go on two or three hours.”
This means that there will be even more opportunities So now for the most important details of all: how does a barber get ahead of the game and grab tickets for what’s sure to be a fascinating show?
“There are three options. We have an office in central Moscow; you can come and buy the tickets there. You can find us online on our website, and then obviously Instagram (@barberconmoscow).”
Thank you once again to Kristina, for explaining how she’s made her show that little bit extra special. Don’t forget to check it out online if you think you might be interested in reaching out to the Russian barbering audience, or if you’d like to see one of the most extravagant barbering shows for yourself. To keep up to date with all the latest industry updates, and make sure that you don’t miss out on interviews with great innovators like Kristina, make sure you’re following @LarrytheBarberMan on YouTube and Instagram.
Dan Wild is the brain behind Quarter West barbershop in Belfast, as well as the Quartered Steel scissors brand that many barbers now swear by. He welcomes me to Ireland and agrees to tell me more about his brand: “Our motto is essentially precision is everything. We try to make tools that are practical, that are functional, and that are easy for people to use.”
Dan actually started out as an engineer, building bridges for a living, before eventually finding his way into barbering. So how did that come about?
“The recession sort of kicked it all off to be fair. I decided to retrain, I retrained about 7 or 8 years ago and I wanted something that was a great sort of social event as well. Because when you work on building sites all your life you tend to find that you love being around fellas and it’s great crack, and you want something that sort of echoes that: barbershops are fantastic for that.”
After that, he retrained with his friend Peter – after about a year, he decided to open a shop. Renting a space in a tattoo parlour ad naming it ‘Dapper Dan’, he started on the adventure that would eventually lead to rebranding as Quarter West. Now, they’ve been going five years.
“This year alone we’ve had 738 new customers, our business is going from strength to strength. Within another 3-4 months we’ll be opening a shop in Belfast city centre. Hopefully that will be based where all the students are. So that’s how I started and where we are now.”
Growing the business with Booksy
One of Dan’s secret weapons for growing the business is the excellent bookings and marketing tool, Booksy.
“Booksy is great for marketing to your clients. You can send emails out, push messages, SMS – so we would send messages out saying recommend a friend you get 10% of your haircut or something like that. So, we use that for marketing. It’s fantastic because there’ll always be the customers who will forget to get their hair cut. You can find your slipping away customers – we found that we had 200 clients who hadn’t been in in a two-week period. And normally they’re on three-week rotations.
“You can just send a message. As a tool it’s one of the best in the industry, if not the best in the industry. You’ve now got where you can book with Instagram, so there’s a book now button that integrates with Booksy. It’s been fantastic for us.”
Of course, Booksy alone can’t create repeat business! Dan explains how Quartered Steel have honed their cutting style.
“We tend to do a lot of classic styling. Because our demographic tends to be mostly office staff, so it’s real classic cuts. Nice, easy styles – styles that guys can just get up in the morning and just style. We don’t tend to get a great deal of the skin fades – we do a good bit of it, but not a great deal. And that’s probably why we’ve been nominated for male grooming salon of the year, because we are a male grooming salon rather than a chop shop barbershop.”
Let’s talk scissors.
“When I first started I was using probably the worst tools available. Because you think scissors are just scissors. And I could sort of sense that there must be better out there. Then we started visiting the likes of Salon International – me and Andrew, my business partner – we looked at all these different brands and there’d be 500 different pairs of scissors that basically all did the same thing. I thought this can’t be right, there’s got to be a functional side to this.
“So that’s when we decided that we’d start travelling over to Japan and Korea and China trying to find manufacturers who would make what we wanted to make but would also make it functional and easy to use. We found loads of manufacturers. Not all of them were fantastic, but some were brilliant, and we set our hearts on the ones that we work with now.”
With big name barbers like Danny Robinson and Adie Phelan testing their products and giving them feedback, it’s no wonder that they’ve been it’s no wonder that they’ve been able to develop such an excellent range. In fact, they’ve managed to have no returns in two and a half years – quite a feat!
“If you buy a second-hand pair of scissors then what you’re buying is somebody else’s problem. That’s why we looked into leasing. Leasing is fantastic because it’s tax deductible. As long as you’re making the payment every month, at the end of the year we’ll give you a statement that you can give to HMRC and offset it against tax.
“Leasing makes it affordable for every single barber or hairdresser out there. If they come to us and say I’d love a pair of your scissors but I can’t afford it we’ll say okay, but can you afford £25 per month.”
They offer a 3-year maintained programme, which includes servicing the scissors to ensure that they stay sharp all year around. If you want to get involved, then you can head to Quartered Steels for Life on Instagram or quarteredsteels.com; they’ve got all the information you need to lease (although you can also buy direct)! Fill in your and you’ll get the information back in a couple of days.
You can also head to larrythebarberman.com, or find Larry the Barber Man on Instagram or Facebook, if you want to see more great interviews with fascinating barbers like Dan. It’s also a great way to catch up on all the best barbering tips and tricks to make sure you’re top of your game.
Earning a spot on Wahl’s Education and Artistic Team is a great achievement for any barber, so when Benny Machado saw the opportunity to win his spot by taking part in their online barber battle, he knew he had to give it a shot:
“I had been cutting hair for seventeen years and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to not only use my experience but to try and get into educating. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to in my career.”
The outcome? Benny emerged victorious from the contest – third time lucky, as he’d managed to scoop second place in two previous battles before this one. So how did it all work?
Well, Benny actually spotted the competition on Instagram, where Wahl were calling for barbers to show off their skills by submitting three videos: one fade, one pompadour and one creative cut. Benny explains how he managed to create the shots – from choosing the model to getting the design just right:
“Fades and pompadours are very common but there weren’t too many willing models for the creative cut I wanted to achieve. I noticed a lady while I was eating at a restaurant and managed to convince her to model for me. I really wanted to do something different. I looked to Google for inspiration and noticed some flowers, hibiscus, in fact. I incorporated that design onto her hair and my first attempt worked out!
“We recorded the videos with such anticipation but the filming, editing and having to travel for work in the shop in between was really tough but it paid off. I was exhausted but it paid off. Choose your canvas, create the right design on the right model. Preparation is key and let your personality shine through. The clippers do the work, the metal is always stronger than hair. Let the tools do their job.”
The one part of the process that Benny couldn’t prepare for was actually finding out that he had won! The Wahl Education and Artistic Team sent Rick Morin (Flawless Barbershop) along to Benny’s shop – Executive Barber – under the pretence of wanting an out-of-hours haircut. When he arrived, though, he had a full camera team by his side. “I had no idea, I really just thought I was working late to cut a client for $100!”
So how has life changed for Benny since winning this prestigious award? Life has certainly got busier, and now he’s rushed off his feet responding to all of the emails and social media messages from people who want to benefit from a little of his expertise. Alongside this, there’s the new educational side to his career, and he has plans to keep growing into his new role. After all, as he tells us, it’s challenging yourself that keeps your work fresh:
“I chose to take part in order to challenge myself. I was completely out of my comfort zone and that is what makes you grow. That pushes you to be better. It was very challenging. I was nervous making my stage debut but if we don’t face our fears, we can’t grow. Ultimately that’s what I’m doing here, pushing myself. It’s scary but exciting and without that feeling people get complacent.”
The other big change is the introduction of exclusively Wahl tools into his shop. ““I had other brands in the shop before I won the contest but now we are solely Wahl. I don’t think I’ll ever buy another set of clippers. I look for power, reliability and speed for the haircut I want to execute.” And is there one clipper that stands out above the rest? “If I want to snip a lot of hair in one shot, I go for Wahl’s Legend clipper. I mostly use that alongside the Wahl Detailer trimmer. With these two tools I can create anything.”
But Benny’s success hasn’t been all about boosting his own profile – he also wants to see other barbers challenge themselves and raise their game. One way of doing so is to join Wahl’s new Wahl Professional Ambassador Program. It gives you early access to new products, news and special deals, as well as useful industry insights. We also recommend looking for @mr_executive_barber on Instagram and Facebook if you want to follow Benny’s work and see what one Virginia barber can create with a pair of Wahl clippers.
“My dad bought me my very first pair of clippers when I was a teenager. They were Wahl and it led me to where I am now. Dad always wanted me to be a barber. Now, as a Wahl educator, I want to grow and become the best I can be.”
I interviewed Adrian Ward and Stefan Batory to find out more about the Booksy app, which already has 2 million people using it, and only seems to be growing. Stefan is the CEO of Booksy, and Adie is the VP of their ambassador programme – I catch up with them to find out more about the service they offered.
First of all, Adie tells me about the ambassadors that they’ve been recruiting and the work they’re doing worldwide:
“We find that most of our ambassadors come from guys and girls who have been using the product and are passionate about the product. They want to reach out and get involved and be more proactive with the company. So that’s pretty much what I do – I put people together and get them excited.”
What are you looking for specifically from barbers who want to get involved?
“It varies from nail techs to stylists to barbers – it’s not just in the barbering industry, it’s all over. When we’re looking to get them involved it’s really their passion for the product and how proactive they want to be.”
I’ve seen adverts on social media saying that Booksy can increase business by average of 20% – some people have seen an increase of as much as 40%. I ask Adie how this can be the case?
“It varies from merchant to merchant, but I think it’s the mere fact that they get focused and have more time for pampering their clients. This is very powerful for them. It’s about being more efficient with how they manage their customers – and because their customers can book 24/7, they find that the repeat business and the regular business grows.”
One concern that I have heard from some potential Booksy customers is the worry that using the service might cause their tax bills to rise, since the authorities will be checking details in the app. I ask Stefan to explain why this concern is a misguided one:
“First of all, I’ve never heard of authorities coming after Booksy merchants by checking the book against their financial statements. It’s a myth, no-one really checks that. But even if they did, I still believe that increase in revenue would be higher than the additional taxes. The benefit just outweighs the downside. When customers can book with you 24 hours seven days a week and the hassle is taken out of the process they simply become more frequent.”
Say you’re a business that wanted to sell your company, what difference would Booksy make?
“When you’re a company, Booksy helps you to understand what your best performing services are and who your best performing barbers are. How much money you make on specific services and products. By understanding your business better, you can make better business decisions. You can hire people before you run out of capacity. There are situations where we’ve heard from businesses that they have grown from two or three barbers to ten or even a dozen in just 12-18 months. So Booksy allows them to grow their business more efficiently.”
Adie adds that “The statistics don’t lie. Any investor will be interested in investing in a business if they can see the results.”
I also ask Stefan to explain the different analytics that Booksy makes available, a great tool for measuring your business performance.
“Booksy has pretty sophisticated business analytics, so basically you can use it to take the hassle out of running the business when it comes to day-to-day operations. If you need a monthly statement for your accountant or an investor, you can print it out and show them exactly how your business is doing. And it’s instant – you can see the high level KPIs or email yourself an excel spreadsheet.”
Booksy is a clearly an excellent service, but if you still need convincing then you might find it interesting to hear about some of the latest additions. It has recently integrated with certain Google services to help with bookings, and also has an integration with Yelp which will be particularly helpful for barbers in North America. There’s even an integration with Instagram on the way, which will let your customers book whilst they’re browsing your latest cuts! And if all that’s not enough, they’re also adding one of my
Recent additions/coming soon: – Recently integrated with Google reserve, and one with Yelp which is particularly important for North American companies. Now also finishing integrating with Instagram, so there will be a seamless integration for barbers who want to use Instagram for booking. And one feature that I find particularly exciting is the new waitlist, which is currently being finalised. This will give clients the ability to join a waitlist during busy periods, filling in appointments if another client drops out.
Aside from these excellent new product features, I ask Adie what’s new on his side of the company.
“We have seen a very high organic growth, and that’s just lovely to have. That’s very encouraging. We’re conscious of the fact that we need to have more professional videos, and to really bring our merchants together. So, we’re working on some very exciting ideas and how we can make it easy for merchants to do videos and upload it onto our system. A great idea that our technical people are working on at the moment is to allow customers to do short video reviews. Exciting things are coming.”
And what about moving into new countries?
“We’ve got Brazil and Columbia, we launched in Spain at the end of last year. We’re constantly rolling out into new markets. This year we’ll also be going to a lot of conferences and shows.”
One final question, then, to both Adie and Stefan: Why would you say that Booksy is the very best?
Stefan: “I think there are three reasons for that. The first one is that it’s the easiest booking app that’s out there, both for merchants and for clients. So, the ease of use. The second one is that we have great customer success teams helping our customers 24 hours, 7 days a week and nobody has that level of support for their clients. The third one is that we have people like Adrian who just make Booksy feel like a family. This is the love and passion that we are all sharing.”
Adrian: “To repeat really what Stefan just said. I mean, we just had an interview with a chap in North Carolina. He’d been using Booksy 6 months and he said “I don’t have to work when I go home anymore. He said it’s saved my marriage! So, we find that it’s been a massive game-changer for the customers. We have a saying: it’s all about service first and we make our money afterwards.”
Interested in making life easier by using Booksy? Head to booksy.com to find out more about how it works and decide whether it could work for you. I’ve certainly seen the results, for everyone from barbers to beauticians, so I would recommend checking it out if you’re in this type of industry. You could also benefit from looking at the Larry the Barber Man Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels, where there’s loads of great information from other barbering professionals.
Today I’m bringing you an interview with one of the superstars of British barbering, and a man who needs no introduction: Adee Phelan. From starring on TV Show The Salon, to cutting David Beckham’s most infamous haircut, Adee has certainly left his mark on the industry.
I visited his SKNHEAD shoot in March to hear his story. So, Adee, what are we doing today?
“It’s my new luxury men’s range, called SKNHEAD. The concept came about 17 years ago, and I’ve waited and waited – I know it seems a long time – but if you’re bringing out a new range it needs to have products with unique selling points. Products that haven’t been done before.
“One of the products is actually called the game changer, and it’s a product that can be used as a moisturiser on your face and body, or as a hair styling product. The concept came about many, many years ago – when I had hair, believe it or not. I went to the Men’s British Hairdresser of the year awards, and I used to use this stuff called Coconut Butter: I’d put it all over my body and then run it through my hair. So, I wondered if it was possible to create a product that was light enough as a moisturiser but heavy enough to be a hair product.”
Achieving this has taken years of preparation and perfection: I’m sure that it’s something a lot of you will be keen to try out. The full range will include sea salt sprays, serums, clays, pomades… everything that you might expect from a unique luxury range.
On the day that I catch up with Adee he’s excited to be shooting the content that will surround the launch of his new brand. This includes behind the scenes footage and a huge range of different hairdressing looks on a diverse group of models.
“The thing about the modern barbering world is that you need to be able to do more than a fade. To make yourself an accomplished hairdresser or barber, you really need to know the fundamentals of hair cutting. Some of these young cats I see now dropping in these fades are amazing – but there’s always still a lot of foundation that needs to be done.
“I’ve tried to bring out a range of fundamentally barbering products that can also drop into the hairdressing world”.
So, for younger barbers who don’t know your story, you started back in 1999 – what stirred you, what motivated you to get into hairdressing?
“Long story short, I moved from Manchester to Southend-on-Sea and ended up not doing so well: I was basically sleeping rough for about 4 months. Then I got introduced to a really cool hairdresser called Lee Stafford, and I ended up designing his salon, The House That Hair Built.
“I went with Lee to the Men’s British Hairdresser’s of the Year awards in 1999 where he won British Hairdresser of the Year. On the way back in the car he said I’m going to get you a pair of scissors, teach you to cut hair and in a couple of years’ time you’ll be on the stage. Two years to the day, I was picking up that same award.”
Adee describes it as a sort of “rough boot camp”, where there was no room for mistakes – if he messed up a haircut then his mentors made sure he knew about it. But this – alongside the professional courses he took any time he had the cash – gave him the solid skills he needed to start experimenting further.
“There are a thousand ways of designing a house, but there’s only one way of building it: good foundations. I learnt the art of good foundations. And then I won Men’s British Hairdresser of the Year and my life changed. 9-months later I had the opportunity to work with David Beckham.”
While Adee’s career has clearly been built on his own hard work and talent, I think it’s fair to say that creating that haircut for David Beckham – the World Cup mohawk which everybody reading this should be familiar with – helped him push his career to the next level.
“It was everywhere. That haircut just became the most iconic haircut of the past 20 years. And then I had the opportunity to win all these awards and from there on it was just like I had the wind in my sails.”
And that wind took Adee to the heights of a hairdressing/barbering career: he’s had the opportunity to work on TV shows, to cut hair for many different celebrity clients, and to really build a personal brand within the industry. But aside from all this hairdressing glory, I’m also interested in his role as an educator.
Prior to you doing the TV shows and the celebrity style consulting, you were actually a prolific educator. It was said that, at one show, you mad 36 appearances: tell us about that.
“I got right into the helm of education. I think I did about 1500 seminars in six years. I was at Salon International working for five different brands: I hold the record, I did 39 shows in 3 days, haircuts to music. And I took that concept to America and it was brilliant: I wanted to bring something fresh to it; when you get to that level of talent you can’t be telling people how to suck eggs.
“BaByliss supported me the whole way, and then other brands took on this new approach of haircutting. Lots of technique, lots of foundation but doing it in this very freehand, visual, quick way.”
The big brands were happy to get behind Adee’s new way of doing things – BaByliss even went ahead and gave him a range of electrical goods. Barbers reading this are sure to be envious, and in many ways he has achieved the barbering dream. But there have also been some drawbacks:
“Business started to take over. I was watching these cool cats half my age on stage and thinking I need to get back to the drawing board: these guys are making me look silly here. So for the past few years I’ve just been working on new cuts, new techniques and I’m about to get back on the road and go back to where it all started.”
So, Larry the Barberman goes out to all of the barbering community. Will SKNHEAD products be a range that those barbers can actually retail?
“Yes. It will go online and go into shops like Selfridges, but then the quality needs to be at a very high level, so it can go into barbershops. That’s the idea.”
This product has already launched and is available for you to buy: head to this link https://www.sknhead.com/.
Because you started nearly 20 years ago, I also want to hear about how you think barbering has changed from where it was then to where it is now.
“If we’d had the technology that we have now: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I used to have to do interviews and then wait 6 weeks for it to come out. Some of the models I’m using today are Instagram models, cool cats – they PR themselves, they manage themselves. It’s kind of insane: you do a haircut, it’s global within minutes. So that’s the difference.
“The downside to this technology is that everyone wants to be famous without putting the work in. They want instant success. I just think that they have all the weapons now to be very successful. You can pay a famous person to do a post for you and you’re kind of out there. But at the same time, it can destroy your career: you have to police your brand.”
You spoke about an artistic team. Maybe you can tell me about some of the artistic team that you have here today?
“Barber wise I’ve got Tariq Howes and Aaron Dorn. I’ve cot Jez Wilcox who is creative director. We’ve got three video photographers, two photographers, two make-up artists… so it’s a big shoot, trying to get a lot of stuff in.
“Besides that, I’ve been working on two or three new clipper techniques. New section patterns, new haircuts that are going to be taken out on the road. I want to go back to the days of being able to execute a beautiful, beautiful haircut in six or seven minutes.”
And what could be improved in modern barbering?
“I think what a lot of barbers need to learn is the scissor work. You need to be able to work from the baseline to the top of the head. I think barbering will always be in fashion, but the longer thing is going to come back. Barbers these days have mastered the art of fading, now they need to master the art of haircutting. What happens in 12 months when the fade goes slightly out of fashion and longer hair starts coming back in?
“There’s great dudes out there though. Josh Lamonica: lovely guy, technically gifted, wonderful speaker -can do a great fade but can also do a great haircut. And you’ve got Danny Robinson, a new kid on the block, I mentioned Tariq Howes earlier. Kye Wilson, Dale Watkins, my teacher from back in the day. There are so many talented guys out there. It’s all about inspiring the younger generation though isn’t it.
Finally, then, what are your words of advice for that next generation?
“Technique, technique, technique. Education, education, education. Watch, watch, learn, learn. Mouth shut, eyes open. Be obsessed, be obsessed, be obsessed. Training videos, salon international. Be obsessed. Because to be at the top you have to be obsessed with technique and being at the top of your game. And then it’s a little bit of luck.”
I’m quite excited to hear that Adee is going to be spending some more time getting stuck into cutting hair, and it will be interesting to see what he comes up with. Don’t forget to check out https://www.sknhead.com/ to hear more about the products that are available; while you’re there, head to Instagram and YouTube to follow Larry the Barberman and see more great interviews.
For many, “Eric Pacinos” is just another way to say “international celebrity barber.” When Eric is not cutting Nas’ hair at the Cannes Film Festival or trimming up Jay-Z for an album cover shoot in New York, he is promoting his wildly successful line of quality hair products and speaking at hair shows all over the world. He definitely has it goin’ on like no one else in the industry.
So you can imagine how excited I was to get a few minutes with him, one of my biggest goals since I started my interview channel. We met up at Premier Expo in Orlando and Eric did not disappoint. You will want to view the whole interview on my YouTube, email@example.com
Eric: Started with no food in the fridge, young son
Eric’s life story is more inspiring than most, so I asked him to dive right into it.
He said he started cutting his own hair in his childhood bathroom, then graduated to cutting his friends for a small fee. “I was going to school with money in my pocket, and it felt good,” he told me, “not just because of the money but because I was making my friends look good. That was the defining point. Always trying to transform all my friends; more than just a haircut.“
Even joining the Navy couldn’t separate Eric from his calling. “I always found myself cutting hair on the ship, and even when I was going out with my friends, I would say “Before we go, let me cut your hair.” That is when I thought I should go to night school to get my license.”
But post-Navy he was still 500 hours short in his studies and had a young son to care for. The times were desperate. “At that point my son was three, and I had hit rock bottom. I could not find a job, and it was like, ‘Man, my son’s got to eat!’”
“That is when I took barbering seriously,” he continues. “Because I did not want that feeling of being hungry anymore, that feeling of not seeing my child eat. I know what it feels like to know you have nothing in the refrigerator when you open it up. I know what it feels like to use the restroom in your own house and not have toilet paper. I literally would go to McDonald’s and leave with extra napkins. Don’t tell this to McDonald’s, but I did it just to have toilet paper in the house.”
“It was hurtful as a man,” he continues. “ So I think I attribute any success or whatever you call it – I just don’t feel I am as successful as I could possibly become – but I attribute that to desperation and the necessities of living. I never want to go back to that.”
Eric eventually obtained a license and found work. For many, that might be the happy end of the story, but Eric found the fire inside was burning hotter than ever. “I knew I wanted more than just being a barber,” he told me.
Sacrifice and persistence to build barbering success
Before we got into Eric’s accomplishments, I wanted to know more about his trials and tribulations coming up. As usual, he was candid.
“One of the biggest was all different types of sacrifice, from working long hours to having a dream and not having people believe it,” he said.
“Not knowing, not being educated was the biggest trail, having no blueprint,” he recalls. “I had to create ways of figuring things out because we didn’t have social media, there was no book about creating a barber shop and creating a product brand. There was nothing. That was the biggest trial, just not knowing where to start.” This experience, he said, makes him an eager mentor to other young barbers today.
“Thank God, what has helped me is Google. If it weren’t for Google I wouldn’t have done a lot of things. But you have to do your homework; you have to the studying.”
Eric: Every barber can increase sales by offering products…and a variety of brands
All along, Eric kept his entrepreneurial eyes open. “I created my own brand because a lot of the products we were using weren’t really good, they weren’t for the types of haircuts and hairstyles I was creating. I had to combine three or four different products, and I said, ‘Man, if someone would come out with a product that did these three or four things; from the hold to the texture being better, to it not being so diluted.’ I wanted something like a pomade-like matte with no shine finish.”
“I created these products to give my clients the best aids without sending them to a store to buy three or four different products to create that hairstyle.”
Eric strongly believes every shop should sell product. “I can’t emphasize enough: it is one of the easiest sells! It will increase your sales dramatically,” he told me.
He added: “Once a client’s hair looks good, the first thing they will ask is, ‘What is that you put in my hair?’ If you have it on your shelf, if it is already there, they are going to leave with that. They are going to try to emulate the same style that you just did.”
Providing better customer service and increasing your sales – a no-brainer!
“And a month later they will be back for another haircut and more product. Some of these products cost as much as a haircut – our product is $16. You are selling another haircut by selling product.”
He recommends everyone step up and negotiate with product sales people, varying brands and asking for wholesale prices. “Diversify,” he said. “It’s like when you walk into a sneaker store you don’t just see just Nikes. Give your client something to choose from. They might just ask you, ‘What is this?’ They might want to try it out ‘Will this work in my hair?’ ‘Sit down let’s try it.’ ‘Oh, yeah! I want this!” It is that easy.”
Eric has realized enormous success with his high-quality products.
“Right now we have three men’s hair grooming products. One is the matte finish, which is a great hold but has no shine to it, which a lot of people like with the pomade haircuts.
“We have pomade that is a more flexible hold. That one does give some shine. Then we have a crème; a cream styling wax that is in between the pomade and the matte and it does have a semi-shine finish.”
We also have a beard oil. We have a beard and face scrub. We have razor bump soother. We got a shampoo and conditioner and a black mask. It is really popular can’t hold it in stock! Matte finish (is number one), then black mask and the pomade is number three.”
Customer service: No phone calls, please!
When Eric talks about customer service, he says he focuses on the person in the shop and in the chair. That’s why he doesn’t accept phone calls on the job and prefers online haircut appointments. His favorite app is the grooming-industry-only software booksy.
“I am very old school, and I like to speak to my clients,” he said. “But I’ve learned I would rather speak to my clients in the chair rather than on the phone, because (on the phone) it’s never ‘Can I get a haircut?’ It’s about, ‘So what are you doing this weekend?’ It is hard to tell somebody ‘Hey, I will talk to you when you’re here.’ So the client doesn’t know better if you are in the middle of a haircut or something. So you have to respect people’s time.”
Advice from a successful barber: Write it down, learn the craft, fix your weaknesses
Time was running short with Eric, and I wanted to get his advice for young barbers just finding their legs. From a man who came from ‘borrowing’ McDonald’s napkins to Cutting Nas and JayZ, this is the kind of advice you should take to heart.
First, very practical: “Write everything down. You will see a long list on my iPhone of things I need to execute. Write it down and do not erase it until it gets done. That is one of the biggest things I have learned.”
“After that do your homework on it, Google it, find out more about it get out there and get it done! Nobody is going to do it for you nobody is going to put in the hours and the work that you are going to put in.
“If you want to be a great barber, do as many cuts as you can do not get intimated by the different textures. That is what happened to me early on and I would mess up some curly haircuts. But I would learn and get better at those haircuts than I was with straight hair. “
Lastly, Eric shares hard-won honesty that will benefit anyone in any profession: “What you are not good at, work extra hard and get better. That is the biggest difference of somebody who continues to grow. That is how you become complete. If you are only good at one thing – if you are only good at a #2 and a skin fade, but you’re not good at shears – you are never going to grow. When somebody needs you at a movie set, or when you’re needed to cut a client who is paying top dollar, or might want to take you on tour with them, but you can’t use the shears, your opportunity was there and it’s gone. It’s gone because you did not want to get better at something you know is your weakness.”
With that, we bid farewell, and I got busy sharing this unique moment with you. Hope you enjoy and find Eric’s words inspiring! ‘Til next time, happy barbering!
Instagram: Want to know what it takes to get to cut Kevin Hart, JayZ, Nas and other big time stars? Or have your own hugely successful line of grooming products? Check my incredible interview with celebrity grooming ace Eric Pacinos, whose story of struggle and success will inspire you to work hard, work smart, and dream big!
Facebook: My amazing CAN’T MISS interview with all-star men’s grooming icon Eric Pacinos is now online! VIEW AND SHARE my sit-down in Orlando with one of the biggest stylists on the planet, and learn how Eric went from desperate straits to cutting stars like JayZ and Kevin Hart, all while launching an array of top flight products. Eric is open and honest with excellent life and business advice for up and comers in men’s grooming. DO NOT miss this!
Multiple award winner, owner of two successful shops, Andis educator and clothing line entrepreneur – not bad for a young man who has yet to celebrate his 30th birthday!
I was delighted to meet the amazing Angel Raws at the Orlando Premiere at the suggestion of my friend Eileen Nunez from Great Clips. I discovered a creative person whose barbering relationship with fellow artists – such as many hip-hop stars – is no surprise. I always love sharing with you the many ways people find barbering success, and Angel’s story is a great one.
Angel surprised me immediately with this opening story: he initially picked up clippers to support his professional skateboarding dream!
“I was 16, riding for a couple of companies,” he told me. “As far as a sponsor for skateboarding, the shop I was riding for closed. My mom had clippers sitting in the garage; she is a cosmetologist. So I picked them up and started doing haircuts for buddies for a little extra cash so I could buy boards and shoes.”
It didn’t take Angel long to realize he’d found his true passion. “Once I picked up the clippers, I left it all behind, and I just fell in love with the industry,” he told me. “I got my license in 2010 and ever since I have been in 50-plus shows and all across the US.”
Angel is the kind of person open to growth and opportunity. What he saw in men’s grooming gave him immediate motivation.
“When I first came into the industry, it was a Bronner Brothers hair show my mom told me about, and it opened my eyes to what the barbering industry was,” he remembers. ”I did not know there was so much you could do with a barbering license, that there were people cutting celebrities’ hair. I couldn’t even fathom that you could be an educator; you can go and compete and do all this. It gave me inspiration.”
Angle seized another opportunity when a contact invited him to a “Barbers at the Roundtable” networking event. “It was by Curtis Smith,” he said, “and the whole XOTICs team was there – Jesse Lima, Denny from Andis, Kenny Duncan – all the big names, and I was just watching. It inspired me to compete and do the things that they were doing .”
Angel realized he had to “get my name out there” and it was his fierce skateboarder competitiveness that suggested a way: “I started to look up competitions (I could join) so people would know who I was ‘cuz I felt I had the skill to get to where these people were.”
His teachers funded a trip to the New York Barber Battle, “my first time even traveling by myself,” he says with a smile. “I ended up taking the trophy! I was so amped up after that. I mean, I went to New York, I win this big trophy, I got this $1,000 check, it was an amazing experience.”
“But that wasn’t the one that meant the most,” he continued. “I came back to Bronner Brothers and they had the Andis overall competition, where you had to dress the model and do the haircut to match. Andis has been my favorite company since I started, so it was a big deal to me to compete, even though I was still in school.”
Angel demonstrated another key to his success by the way he approached the competition: he planned, prepared and practiced. For months.
“I had it down pat by the time I did it live,” he told me. “I did a big shark on one side and an octopus on the other and I dressed my man up as a scuba diver with the air tank the flippers and everything – so when he walked out on stage, he was walking all funny.” The crowd and the judges loved it.
“My mom was there and everyone who was supporting me, and that was one of the biggest highlights of my career. “
As an Andis educator, Angel is influencing barbers all over, but he doesn’t specialize in a particular cut. “It is more of the style, a lot of the real close fades, bald fades,” he says. “The trendy cuts like the Mohawks.”
“People are into a clean-cut haircut, more of the skin fade, that has a lot of detail, that’s more my style. On Instagram you will see that I don’t leave a one guard on the side. I just do mainly skin fades with a lot of detail.”
When I pressed Angel on his strongest skill, I was sure it would relate to cutting hair but he had another surprise. His real strong suit is organization and service, something every barber should sit up and notice.
“Being organized,” he said to me, “taking care of my clients on time, being there when the client expects it.” It sounds simple but so many barbers neglect this basic service, he says.
“They might not show up for an appointment, or they are late,” he observes. “I pride myself on being punctual. I cut a lot of people like doctors and lawyers – people who have jobs and don’t have time to hang out in the shop. That is my specialty: being available and on time.”
Angel is on top of another trend in the industry: bookings by app. It has freed him and his clients from phone interruptions, another service issue. “There is no need for me while I am taking care of this client to be on the phone with the next client,” he says. “(An app) gives my clients access to my schedule, so it might be 2 a.m. and people are booking me. I might wake up in the morning and I have had 6 clients book during the night. They didn’t have to call me; they didn’t have to text me. It’s just convenient.”
In addition to his two Florida shops, Raws Cuts 1 and 2, I wanted to know about his growing clothing line, a fantastic idea he calls “Barber Life.”
He tells me his shops are family style with a relaxed atmosphere where wives and children feel comfortable, “a real tight family and with all my barbers you will feel that vibe.”
His clothing line is another example of an observant man seizing an opportunity. Angel contacted a screen-printing friend in New York with an idea:
“I reached out to my partner BV and said, ‘There is no barbering clothing line, no logo of barbering.’ So we came up with Barber Life, and we went to the Bronner Brothers show with a backpack full of these shirts and we sold out, people were eating them up right out of the bag. The next year we had a booth and it was just a hit. We needed to get a website together, and it has taken off. We have done 50-plus shows, we’ve done barber battles, the website – www.theprofessionalsbarbeshop.com – it has just been a blessing, man.”
What the future holds for this ambitious and talented barber and businessman is a mystery for now (“We’re taking it day by day”), though he loves working in barber education. As for his inspiration these days, he says there are many people he looks up to, but he feels comfortable now sharing his lessons with people starting out, which I am thrilled to pass along to you!
“Don’t be scared,” he says, very seriously. “It might be financial; it might be you don’t want to get up on the stage and compete. You can’t have it because with fear you aren’t going to go anywhere. You are going to be stuck in a box because you are afraid to do anything outside of that box.”
Angel says Andis once asked him to teach a class in Spanish, a task that drove him back to the books and made him nervous since he wasn’t sure he could pull it off. “I speak Spanish with my mom every day,” he laughs, but that was about it!
“But I did it. I studied and I learned the words I needed, and I was nervous, but I didn’t let the fear get to me. I would not be sitting here able to tell you that I am an Andis educator (if I hadn’t)
“So put yourself out there, any opportunity that you get, and don’t be afraid.”
I liked Angel’s humility; he’s grounded. When I asked him his biggest accomplishment, for example, he said without hesitation, “Getting my license.”
“Without that, I would not be here. I truly believe you aren’t a barber without that license. For me, that is the biggest moment. That is what opened the door for me. That is what made me a barber.”
A perfect ending to a great conversation. My thanks to Angel Raws for his valuable time and Eileen Nunez for suggesting we meet. Be sure to watch Angel’s interview and other fascinating conversations with barbering’s most interesting people at my YouTube at LarrytheBarberman. ‘Til next time happy barbering!
Instagram: It’s another Larry the BarberMan VIEW and SHARE special! Angel Raws has two thriving Florida shops, a clothing line, celebrity clients – and he is talking to me about it all! Check my latest as I travel to Orlando to meet Angel in this exclusive interview.
Facebook: VIEW, LEARN and SHARE! Men’s grooming star Angel Raws has celebrity clients, two successful Florida shops, a case full of awards, his own clothing line, and he is talking to me about it all in my latest exclusive interview. I traveled to Orlando and met up with Angel on his home turf. What he had to say is mesmerizing and inspiring for anyone, but especially barber professiona
Barber Frank Rimer: Revered Hair Stylist Jody Taylor Claims, “Frank is probably the best traditional barber in London”
In February2017 , I caught up again with Frank Rimer from the Shoreditch barbershop, Thy Barber, just before he and his team appeared on the cover of BarberEvo magazine.
BarberEvo’s cover illustration was a painting of the Thy Barber trio – Frank, Pauly Harmer, and Edmond Rowe – done by the artist Vince Kamp, whose barber-inspired collection ‘CUTS Portraits of Barbers’ was exhibited in March in London’s Hoxton.
In this video, Frank speaks to me about his own evolution over the last 18 months. As I predicted the last time Frank and I spoke, the shop has needed an expansion, and in the last year and a half, Thy Barber has gone from a one-chair operation to three chairs and Frank has been in the spotlight as the barber commissioned and entrusted to take the beard off Wolverhampton model and the man voted as having the “most influential hair in Britain,’ Ricki Hall.
Frank and I talk about that opportunity to help raise money to fund research and raise awareness of Mesothelioma, the cancer that Hall’s father died from. Franks says that it was a privilege to do the Captain Fawcetts’ sponsored event, and that it also opened up new horizons for Hall too, who now plays with the design of his facial hair and is no longer afraid to just go beardless!
Thy Barber is known as the place to go in London for classic cuts like the Rockabilly and Psycho Quiff. While the team behind the reputation is fairly new, Frank says that they not only fit together perfectly, but share the same ethos of professionalism and a certain way of doing things. He describes Pauly and Ed as humble barbers, who are open to learning and always willing to up their game. The team is lucky, he says, to work in the “hub of fashion central” with its great underground scene and status as a trendsetter. “Everything happens in London 2 years before it happens anywhere else,” he says.
Described by Jody Taylor as “the best traditional barber in London,” Frank who shares a mutual admiration for the London fashion week hairdresser and stylist extraordinaire, has built his brand on among other things, a network of relationships. His alliances bring a variety to his work and for instance, he and Pauly, have been working with the workwear specialist behind LaneFortyFive, to design a smock for barbers that will be available by mail order in the next few months. The unbranded handmade garment has a scissors pouch, internal buttons and can be tapered by the wearer. A lot of thought has gone into it, says Frank, and each smock will be handmade and custom-sized.
Thy Barber has also become the ambassador for the Camden Watch Company and more recently has become a retailer of a new brand of male grooming products called Copacetic, available for purchase in-store. One of Frank’s earlier relationships, of course, was with the duo behind the Bike Shed, Vicky and Dutch. Frank dismisses any speculation that he owns the shed and explains that the store’s location evolved out of being part of a pop-up show idea that originated with the pair behind the Bike Shed brand. At the annual event, hosted at the Tobacco Docks, Frank showcased his skills and worked with a range of talented guest barbers, known in the biking community. As for how he actually feels about bikes, he says that he loves to look at them, but wouldn’t risk riding them for fear of damaging his hands, the tools of his trade.
The inspiration for Vince Kamp’s signature piece from his collection of barber portraits, Frank, and his team, were also happy to introduce Kamp to the people Frank describes as “the cool looking guys” or the “more respected” barbers that featured in the artist’s work. In exchange, they each have a portrait of themselves done by Kamp, which frames each of their mirrors and is a “huge talking point” of the shop.
Apart from planning to run some courses this year, dates to be announced, Frank whose upcoming nuptials is soon and has been dividing his time between Canada and the UK, says that he won’t be doing many events this year. Fans of his work can catch him at the Bike Shed event from the 26-28th May at the London Tobacco Docks and at the Big North Tattoo Show in Newcastle on Sat 29th April.
At the CT Barber Expo in Connecticut I landed one my best video interviews ever, and it was a stroke of luck: I bumped into 360Jeezy, the barbering sensation from California with the biggest YouTube following in the industry.
His big smile, high energy and cheerful camera-ready personality come off as completely real. It’s no mystery why the30-year-old (he doesn’t look old enough to have a pint!) has more than 600,000 people following his wave tutorials and haircuts.
I knew I had to interview him for you, and he graciously agreed. As Jeezy settled into a Takara Belmont chair at the Hartford Convention Center in April, I realized having no questions prepared was no problem, because Jeezy, aka Jarrod Stovall, loves sharing the journey from unhappy rug salesman and homeless student to YouTube star and product endorser. It’s all about faith and determination.
YouTube journey: from a few thousand to more than 600K
I asked Jeezy about the phenomenal growth of his YouTube channel, which he launched in 2012.
“I wanted to teach people how I got my wave,” he said. Inspired by other YouTubers, Jeezy started filming with an iPhone 4 and brush before he was even a licensed barber. He added haircut videos “because I love doing haircuts, too.”
“I wanted my career to be barbering so I started uploading videos throughout my journey at school and I got a big, big, huge response,” he said. “I kept uploading and I kept getting good response. As people showed me love, I couldn’t help but keep the energy going and give them love back.”
Homelessness and struggle
What his YouTube followers did not know – nor did people at school – was that Jeezy was broke and struggling during his studies. “I dropped everything (to go to school) and I lost everything,” he said. Those months included a stretch with no fixed address. “I was basically homeless,” he said. “People at the school didn’t know I was living over here and over there and trying to keep the school thing going.”
Amazing. I wanted to know more. Jeezy told me he got motivated for school by working unhappily as…a rug salesman.
“Yeah, the Oriental rugs, the carpet that you have in your home, the really expensive rugs, we were basically selling those out of Costco,” he says with a smile. “I was traveling around northern California, selling rugs.”
“I was miserable,” he continued. “I was telling my uncle and he said, ‘You need to go to school.’ I took his advice.”
But it wasn’t that simple. In fact, it took a near-miraculous event concerning a past student loan (he had debt from a brief stint at a San Francisco art school) just to get him through the barber school door. The school said he couldn’t enroll until he had a history of paying on the debt…at least a 6-month history.
That’s a pretty big roadblock, but Jeezy was ready to face it down.
“I called the loan people and they are like, “Give me your info and we can do something for you,’” he recalls. But they could find no record of his debt. “They were like, “What are you talking about?” and I was, ‘Come on, man! ‘”
Then the voice on the other end made the big reveal: “…I can’t find anything (about your debt), because you paid it off!’” Jeezy recalls with a laugh. “I was like ‘Huh?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I can fax you over the information and everything. It’s all good.’”
Not one to question good fortune, no matter how mysterious, Jeezy got started in barber school immediately.
YouTube: from 3,000 to 50,000 to blowing up
“When I first went to school I had about 3,000 subscribers,” Jeezy recalls. “As I was going to school, which took 7 months, I was recording every step of the journey and I was able to get up to at least 40,000 to 50,000 when I graduated.”
“After that, we opened up the shop, and I did this one video on how to cut your woof off – at the end of your 360 wave journey when you grow out your hair and you cut it all down and it’s real refreshing – and that video got crazy views, like over 3 million now, so that kind of launched me into like, “Oh, he cuts hair? He makes barber videos?” The buzz just kept going from there.”
Velocity Kutz and the love of family
“The shop” Jeezy refers to is Velocity Kutz, an 8-chair establishment in Vacaville, Calif., he operates with his uncle, Kevin Stovall. “My uncle owns it and I am the manager. I want to be clear,” he says laughing. “We are basically partners. It is a family-owned business and we both look out for each other.”
How did Jeezy and his uncle become close enough to open a business together?
“I have to say it was a God thing the whole time,” he says with a smile. “Because we were talking about what we were going to do after (leaving the rug sales job) and it just hit him – BAM! – that raiment from God hit him and he said, ‘You need to go to barber school!’ and I was, “What?” He was like, “Yeah!” He was so emotional. He called his wife and he was, ‘I know what we need to do. Open a barber shop.’”
With a professional platform for his talent, Jeezy now devotes his time to waves, cuts and video. “100 percent of my time goes to work, I am always at work,” he says. “If I am not cutting, I am editing and filming ‘cause not only do I have to give my audience haircuts, I have to give my other audience, my wavers, my hair tutorials. So it is nonstop.”
Jeezy is definitely not complaining, though. It is obvious to me he loves very minute of what he is doing, and he’s smart at managing himself, like when he’s editing video at home after a long day: “I rush and go home while I am inspired, ‘cause if I don’t, the video will just sit and I will be like, ‘I’ll get it next time,’ and I will be inspired by something else and that video will get pushed back and then I’m like ‘Dang!’”
So, “I put out videos back-to-back-to-back. It’s all about consistency.”
The future for Jeezy360: a million subscribers and testimony
Anyone in business knows success builds on success, and Jeezy gets that, too. Opportunities have opened for the man from Vacaville. He was at CT Barber Expo on behalf of Self Cut Systems, who flew him to the event (“They didn’t have to do that,” he says modestly).
Now, the formerly homeless barber student finds himself posing for selfies with people he’s never met, thousands of miles from his home base.
“But I don’t focus on that. I focus more on helping others. When they come up to me and say, ‘Man 360 Jeezy, you helped me, man!’ That brings me more joy than anything else.”
“I don’t care about the numbers, per se, but my ultimate goal is to share my testimony at a million (followers),” he said. “It will reach more people. It will seal the deal. It is not to gain money or to have sponsors or to come out with a grease. It is really to share and give back. “
360 Jeezy’s final thoughts for up and coming barbers
I wanted to know Jeezy’s advice for people starting out and he was very direct: “Do it because you have a passion for it. Don’t do it because of opportunity. There are a lot of barbers who get caught up in, “Oh, I want to be flashy like that or I want to drive those nice cars, but that was never my focus.”
“Do it because you have a passion, and don’t stop. If something happens in your life that prevents you, it doesn’t have to prevent you from barbering or whatever it is you want to do. Just keep at it. Don’t let the distractions come and tear you down. Keep pushing. Keep everything positive in front of you.
“Who would have ever thought I would be 360Jeezy? When I look back, I’m thinking, ‘Man, what if I had stopped?’ ‘Cause I could have stopped. So, don’t stop. Y’all keep grinding, keep going. Go hard and give it your all.”
My thanks to 360Jeezy for his time and fantastic insights. You will definitely want to see his version of the ”360Jeezy Jingle,” which finished off our interview! Catch that at my YouTube Channel larrythebarberman. Also follow me on Instagram @larrythebarberman and email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org