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Famos: Barbering King Pin Shares his Secret To Success

I hope some of you were able to tune into my first ever live Instagram interview, which was broadcast directly from the Nomad Barbershop in London to your Instagram feeds! The interviewee was none other than the wonderful Canadian barber Scott Ramos aka Famos, here in England for the Great British British Barber Bash. If you missed the live broadcast, then you can still catch the whole interview right here – so get comfy and enjoy the wisdom of a particularly talented barber.

It’s easy to think of Famos as a Rockstar of barbering: he has a huge following, and gets a lot of positive attention from fans and other barbers alike. I wanted to know how he got to this point, but ever the humble barber Famos tells me “I have no idea man, it’s still extremely overwhelming to me. But to answer your question, I think it’s just being myself – ever since I first picked up my clippers at 12 years old.”

Scott has also picked up some impressive friends and connections within the barbering world, a testament to his ability to connect with people from all walks of life. In particular, he considers himself to be extremely lucky to have worked with the wonderful Eric Pacino, and tells me all about the inspiration Pacino has brought him and how they first met:

“If I was a musician, I would have a certain drummer or guitar or singer that I would follow, listen to all their music, read about them, do research. So as a barber I was always looking for somebody I could follow, see what tools they used – I found a couple of guys on YouTube, but Eric really stood out for me. I downloaded Pacino’s app I was watching his videos and really learning about different techniques and clippers, and from the success of his App he did a tour. I took a week off work to go and see him with money from commission on product sales that I hadn’t even realised I’d earned. I met him, shook hands, and then and there realised the power of social media. It was eye-opening”.

Famos’ Path into Barbering

Now, some of the stories I’ve heard about Famos before he found barbering cast him as something of a bad boy, but speaking to him face to face it seems more the case that he was a resourceful youngster willing to do whatever it took to get by:

“I didn’t come from a rich family, but always appreciated nice things – so I would steal things like clothes and sell them to get money for clothes of my own and food. This is also when I started cutting hair, trading haircuts for money and food”.

While it may have started as a way to make money at the school yard, it quickly turned into something that Scott had a clear passion and aptitude for, so he joined a hair styling programme at a local college. Unfortunately, while it’s become increasingly common for men to study on hair styling courses, at the time he was the only guy in the class – and found that students on other courses would make fun of him, to the point that he dropped out. Luckily for the rest of us, his family was able to convince him to head back and finish the course: the rest is history.

After getting his training, Scott worked in a range of shops for a number of years, before finally deciding to set up his own shop last September, Saints: “I think I could have opened my own shop a long time ago, but I go with my gut – I had so many opportunities, but when I moved back home after travelling the world, that’s when it started to come together. The shop just represents me, and I’m glad to have my big brother their beside me as well as an excellent team.”

Doing Battle

Recently, British barbers have been jumping on board the barbering battle trend, something that’s been going on in America for quite a while now. Like a lot of top professional barbers, Famos has certainly been involved with barber battles; as I already mentioned, he came across to the UK for the Great British Barber Bash, and also has plenty of experience with the big US battles:

“It’s scary. The first time I ever competed it was in a hair styling competition, all women, high fashion – a lot of bright colours. It wasn’t really my thing. I did a fade on the model with a rose design, and I could hear that the judges didn’t like it. I didn’t place so it was quite discouraging. Then while in Montreal I started networking, and booked last minute for a barber battle with Exotics in Miami. I didn’t know you were supposed to sign up online, so I turned up ready for the combover category and it was full. There was an opening in the duplicate category, but I managed to trade with another barber for the fast fade category: 15 minutes to do the best haircut. I was the last one to finish, but in 15 minutes got the model’s really long hair down, blow dry, did some styling… and ended up winning the fastest fade with the lowest time.”

For me, this is undoubtedly one of Famos’ most inspirational stories: the fact that he just took a chance, threw caution to the wind and made it work. It really goes to show that as a barber, and really in any walk of life, you just have to seize whatever opportunities you can and do everything to get the best from them.

Carving His Mark

Barber battles aside, there’s a lot more to Famos’ work, including the invention of the 4AM fade, a style that he was responsible for creating. As with any creative art, Famos tells me that the best ideas draw on inspiration from elsewhere – in this case, from the exaggerated edge parts that Filipino barbers popularised a while back. Scott started working with this basic idea, coming up with his own three line design and using another popular barber, Julius, as his model.

He tells me that one of the best things about the 4AM fade is that it’s not just a cool design, it also has a story behind it, and went on to lead to another great friendship with Diego, a barber who won a contest for creating the best 4AM fade and then went on to tour with Famos.

Scott has also made his mark in another way: with a fantastic logo designed to be simple and instantly recognisable. Taking the form as a pair of scissors positioned to form the letters S.R. – Scott’s initials – he started using it as the design for branded pins, positioning them in photoshoots to ensure his brand was visible. This is something that has really taken off among other barbers since Famos popularised it!

Fantastic Advice for the Next Generation

Before I let Famos get back to enjoying his time in London, I wanted to find out what he wants next in his career, and any advice he has for the hungry up-and-coming barbers out there. Having already achieved so much professionally, he turns to personal life when looking at future success: ““I just want a little Famos man, I want to marry, I want a family.”

I have no doubt that he’ll achieve whatever he sets his mind to, and his advice to younger barbers is an absolute testament to that: “Put in long hours, practice, practice, practice, appreciate life, be grateful. Don’t complain, and if you find yourself complaining work harder. If people make fun of you, work harder. Always try to be different, be inspired, reach out, connect. Save up. Fly places, travel, shake hands. Brand yourself, make business cards… eat Nandos chicken. Always try to believe in yourself”.

Follow these words of advice and you really can’t go far wrong! If you want to find out more about Scott’s work and the brand he has created then I highly recommend checking out his website, www.wearesaint.com, where you can also pick up some fantastic branded clothing and help support the work Scott’s doing. For more of my work, head over to YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, where you can find more interviews as well as some helpful barbering tutorial videos: I hope to see you there!

 

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Barberevo’s Magazine: Barber Of The Month: Champ Talks About His Year

If there’s one barbershop that I consider my home away from home then it has to be Champ’s Barbers in the West End, and meeting up with owner Ian ‘Champ’ Hoyos to get a sense of what he’s been doing over the last 12 months is a highlight of my year. This year has been great for Ian, and he’s had the chance to go everywhere from New York to Columbia – with barbering destinations including Prague, Sweden, Scotland, Paris and Tenerife.

The UK Barber Battle

Rewind back to June and a lot of barbers across the country were getting psyched up for the UK Barber Battle, an event which Ian modelled on similar contests which take place far more frequently over in the States: “From working in America … I kinda saw how they’ve got one every month, it’s a big part of the culture out there, barber battles in each city.” Working with Vince, an American barber from Grey Matter, they were able to secure the O2 Arena – the perfect venue – and drum up a lot of support.

As Champ said, it can be a nerve-racking experience for barbers, since “you know that you’re going to be looked at and judged by a lot of barbers”. With Champ’s gift of the gab, though, no surprise that they were able to drum up a lot of interest and support. They also got backing from huge brands such as Belmont, Andis, Monster Headphones and American Crew, and called in the support of big name judges including Kevin Luchmun and Charlie from Toni & Guy.

Spontaneous Barbering Brawls

While the UK Barber Battle was a huge and exciting event, I also love the spirit behind some of Ian’s more spontaneous events – such as a mini battle that he put on at the Alan and Luke’s Barber Lab, something which he decided to do “there and then”, getting barbers to throw money in his hat to take part.

As well as the money, there’s some real prestige to be gained from competing against other barbers and winning. “It’s bragging rights. I went there, I took my tools and I took their money.”

Cutting in Columbia

This year, Champ was also invited to give a class and judge a huge barber battle over in Columbia – his home country. With 700 people spectating the event and around 15-20 barbers competing in each category this is pretty impressive in its own right, but I think it becomes even more amazing when you know how Champ came to be invited in the first place.

It all comes from a visit he made to Columbia the previous year when, as he puts it, he wanted to “give something back”. This mean taking to the streets and cutting hair for homeless people, people in prison, schoolchildren living in slums and anybody else he came across who could do with a cut!

“Poverty out there is a big thing. One of the places where I went to cut homeless people, there’s a bridge in the middle of the city and underneath, along the banks of the river there’s over 1,500 homeless people. It’s about going there, talking to people trying to put a smile on people’s faces. People though I was nuts. The police would walk up to me and ask what was going on, but once everyone saw that I was only giving back they supported me.”

He decided to head back, this time taking more barbers to different locations to make sure that more people could benefit. Lots of help was forthcoming, and on one trip to a school with 8 other barbers he also had a film crew with him. This led to Columbian daytime TV picking up the story and getting him live on air, so it’s certainly fair to say that Ian ‘Champ’ Hoyos is respected across the globe!

The Silver Screen

Another big moment in 2016 came when Ian was approached by Warner Brothers to be part of a private screening for Barbershop Three – featuring a pop up event where they cut hair for the media and press representatives. This is a great example of how barbering is getting more and more attention, and picking up a certain air of glamour! For Champ, it was particularly rewarding to see the film announced as “Presented to You by Warner Brothers and Champ’s Barbers” – although in his usual modest manner he tells me “I was just chuffed”.

This isn’t the only glamorous job that Ian’s been able to pick up either; he’s also been known to cut hair for Justin Timberlake and been approached by West End Theatres. Getting this sort of attention isn’t just a case of being an excellent barber, but also making sure that people know about your work. Ian shares some excellent advice about marketing and promoting your work:

“If you don’t promote yourself, no-one will. If you don’t get up off your chair and put your business cards in people’s hands, and let them know what you can do for them then you’ll never now. You’ve got to build that excitement … talk to people, explain what you can do for them, reel people in.”

It certainly seems to work for Ian and the rest of the barbers that he works with – walk past Champ’s Barbers and you’re almost guaranteed to see a client in every chair.

Watch the full video to hear even more of Ian’s barbering advice, and to hear about the brands that he’s championing as an ambassador. All that’s left for me to say is congratulations to Ian on another great year, and best of luck to all my readers for 2017! I’m really excited about the coming year, and have a lot of content planned for you so don’t forget to find me on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, and to follow Ian’s wise words of advice: Be polite, network, work hard and stay focussed.

 

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