Master Barber: Matty Conrad, Of Victory Barbers, Shares The Philosophy Behind His Barbering and Brand Success

After listening in on, one of Matty Conrad’s seminars in California, there was no doubt in my mind that I needed to bring his unique take on barbering to all of you guys. He certainly didn’t disappoint, and I’m delighted to be sharing this fascinating interview.

Those of you already familiar with Matty’s work might be surprised to hear that he started out 22 years ago not as a barber, but as a hair stylist:

“Barbering didn’t feel exciting. It didn’t feel like there was a lot of artistry around barbering, and barbershops were in very steep decline. Into the 90s, it was not this place to aspire to. So, I got involved in hairdressing, everything from Toni & Guy to Bumble & Bumble.

“I eventually worked my way up to working on stage and platforms, technical educating and teaching – and I really enjoyed that, I always did. But it really started to lose that personal level and I started to fall out of love with the industry.”


Feeling that it was becoming more about the egos than the hair, Matty was feeling disillusioned and even considering changing job all together. But then something happened that made him reflect on his career – and find a new aspect of hair to get excited about:

“Around then my Grandfather passed away. He was an amazing old guy, he was just a terrific Gent, you know. Always well dressed, always had a part in his hair and a shine on his shoes. I remember thinking to myself where did this go? What happened to the old gentleman, the idea that having a sharp look meant showing respect for the people around you.

“That was a thing that was being lost, I felt. And my Grandfather passing away made me thing a lot about that, and a lot about legacy. About: What is it that you want the world to be like? At that point I started becoming obsessed with this idea of these old classic barbershops, the place where a man like that would have gone to be put together.”

From those initial ideas, Matty found a new purpose: he started investigating classic barbering as much as he could, seeking education from old, traditional barbers while also using his technical knowledge to consider how classic barbering could be developed for the modern world.

“Everybody was laughing at me at the time, because everyone had these Justin Bieber mop-top haircuts and I was doing cuts that looked like they belonged on my Grandad. But I just kept doing them: I thought they were cool, I thought there was something about them that really spoke to me on a deeper level. Something that felt like it had pride and dignity attached to it”.


Back to the roots of barbering

Matty may have been going against the grain at the time, but it certainly paid off. In fact, it led him to him going it alone and opening his own barbershop. This was Victory Barbers, opened in 2010 in a small town in Canada, Victoria BC.

He tells me that when he first opened up he thought he might have gone a little crazy, following this obsession with classic barbering so far. But it worked – because it had real integrity: it was authentic to who Matty really is. Now, he owns four shops as well as a thriving brand.

“The word original is just rampant in our industry. Truth be told, none of us invented this – it’s thousands of years old; it goes back long before we were here, and it will be here long after we’re gone. We were just fortunate to be at the right place at the right time, and to have any part in this is an honour.”

No surprise that Matty is also sceptical of the idea, spread by some industry professionals, that barbering is some sort of ‘hot new trend’. That said, he finds a lot to love about the modern barbering community:

“I love the brotherhood and the fellowship that it is right now, the way we’re supporting each other and growing, the fact that there’s pride in our industry again. I really hope that sticks around. I want to do everything I can to support that.”


A contemporary twist

One way in which Matty supports contemporary barbering is through the educational work that he’s doing. Aside from teaching his students about the technical and visual work, he also considers the psychology that’s involved in being a barber. I asked him to delve into this a little:

“I talk about establishing a mutual level of respect. Because I believe that any interaction comes out of a place of respect. One of the things that we’re trying to do is not just create a visual appeal for a person, but to make them feel something for a haircut. So my approach has never been purely technical because I don’t think that what we do is purely technical.

“You start to recognise that the technical aspect of what we do is maybe only 50% of why a person comes and sits in our chair. It’s also about how we make them feel, and that’s not just what we say to them, sometimes it’s about how we conduct our service. How we establish that level of respect by how we shake their hand, how we look them in the eye, how we make them feel cared for and confident in the fact that we are confident.”


In essence, Matty’s hairdressing philosophy is all about integrity, and he reiterates that it’s important for barbers to have more than technical skill: you also need to have the ability to make the client walk out that barbershop door feeling good and confident about his hair. This means that the design of the shop and the way in which you treat your customer are just as important as how well you cut hair.

He has also worked tirelessly to develop a range of barbering products that modern barbers can use to complement their craft:

“I had a lot of opportunities to do what you would call a white label. So all you need is a logo and a design and you walk in and pick the products that they have then package them up as your own. That is not me, it’s not at all what I wanted to do.

“I had some very strong ideas about what I wanted the products to be specifically. I worked with about different chemists before I found one that I thought understood the direction I wanted to go.”


This involves making the product as natural as possible whilst also ensuring that it is entirely cruelty free – no testing on animals – and highly functional. One of his favourite products is Superdry, a dry, matte paste which has been designed to feel light in the hair whilst also making the hair very malleable.

“It is the most perfect product that I’ve ever used. It’s my favourite one for myself and I use it a lot on a lot of different things, for creating texture whilst making it feel like there’s not a lot in the hair.”

Developing these products has allowed Matty to recognise the fact that, as much as he loves classic barbering and the traditional barbershop, it’s also important for barbers to keep developing and innovating: “I wanted my products to not speak about our history and where we were – I want them to support that – but I want them to talk about where we’re going.”

I’ve seen this in Matty’s own work: the cut that he completed when I watched him had natural shine and glow, yet with movement and sculpture. He tells me that it’s all about creating a haircut that a client can then easily style himself when he gets home.


Spreading the good word

If you’re curious about Matty’s work, or the products that he’s created, then you should check out some of his videos: he has been producing a lot of content to help barbers who are interested in doing things the Matty Conrad way. This has involved taking part in a project raising money to help send kids to barber school and keep pushing the industry forward, as well as creating what he calls “farm to table” videos, which focus on showing the full story of a haircut from preparation to then creating imagery once the cut is complete. He has also been creating step-by-step instructional videos to help barbers looking to learn new skills.

“I’m happy to share those things. I want to see our whole industry grow together. Being able to share all those little details with people forces you to be creative in the future as well and push your own limitations. It also allows other people to grow in areas where perhaps they need to. Like I said, you can’t just be good at cutting hair any more: you need something else if you really want to succeed.”

This counts for professional barbers as well as beginners. Matty receives a lot of messages from people who want to be where he is, educating others – and he points out that in order to be an educator you need something to teach. It’s not simply about getting up on stage and showing off; you have to be passing something on to others.


There’s a lot to digest, and I’m sure that you’ll agree that Matty offers a refreshing approach to what it means to be a barber. Ultimately, his message is that it’s all about making people feel good and creating confidence:

“Because confidence is what people find sexy, not appearance. The appearance of confidence is what we’re attracted to. So if we’re able to leverage both of those things together it will affect your outward appearance. If we’re truly giving that to people, then we’re doing our job as barbers.”

Don’t forget to take a look at the Victory Barbers website to find more about the work that’s they’re doing; you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube as @LarrytheBarberMan. You’ll find more interviews with great barbers from across the world, as well as plenty of educational tips to help you hone your barbering skills.


Please follow and like us:

HELP!!! Two Barbers On A Mission To Raise: Money And Awareness, For Children With Eye Cancer…

Mike Taylor and Alison Scattergood on their very personal fight against a rare disease


When I met up with Alison Scattergood at Salon International in October, I was very moved by her story of losing an eye to retinoblastoma – a rare childhood cancer  – before going on to become a pioneering icon in barbering.  I was shocked that this extremely rare disease – there are only 50 cases a year reported in the UK –  had coincidentally affected a great friend of hers and fellow barbering legend Mike Taylor, founder of the British Barbers’ Association.   Mike’s 2-year old daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma earlier this year, and is undergoing treatment.

I immediately took advantage of the opportunity to put both Mike and Alison in the Takara Belmont interview chairs to talk about this sad coincidence, and they told me of a tiny, dedicated charity working to raise awareness of the disease, and of a massive awareness event Alison and Mike are planning for next May’s Barber UK in Birmingham. I was on board right away!

A MAJOR PLEA to Industry Influencers

But first, A MAJOR PLEA to all the INDUSTRY INFLUENCERS:  BARBERS and HAIRDRESSERS are needed to sign up as soon as possible for the Alison and Mike’s Barber UK event at Birmingham!  They need to plan and print promotional materials about who’s coming and they NEED YOUR SUPPORT!  Barber UK has offered them two massive stages, one for barbers and one for hairdressers, so they need artists and stars to help out by appearing. Won’t you do your part, too?   These two industry stalwarts need your support, so contact them and volunteer today!

Ok, on to the details of the story!

“I was diagnosed at 6 weeks and my left eye was removed surgically when I was ten weeks old,” Alison told me. For years she kept the condition private, but as she got to know the people at the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust charity, or CHECT, in London, she decided to be more forthcoming about it.

“I realized the mission is awareness and I could help,” she said.  “My story went massive on Facebook and I got so much response from families, even in America, who had children suffering from the same thing.”

“But I had never known anyone affected by it personally until Mike.”

“My daughter, she is only two, and obviously your world falls apart when you hear the news,” Mike said of daughter Alice’s diagnosis earlier this year. “You never figure it will happen that your child has cancer. Then I found out Alison was an ambassador for CHECT, and she has been so much help to my wife and me.”

“The chances are millions and millions to one that you would get two people who know each other that well, both affected by this incredibly rare disease,” Mike said.

“I was really shocked because we live just miles apart,” Alison recalls. “I was gobsmacked, really. But soon we started talking about getting Mike involved and helping CHECT.”


CHECT: a small charity with an important message

Alison calls CHECT a “tiny” charity that is chronically underfunded, though it has been working hard to raise awareness in the UK for 30 years. “The disease is just so rare,” she says. “CHECT can sometimes be overshadowed by bigger causes.”

“And being a guy, you want to do what you can to fix the (cancer) situation, but you can’t fix it,” Mike chimed in. “But one thing I have the power to do is to help CHECT, because it is a very small charity.”

Next May’s event in Birmingham will help raise awareness, which is crucial even among doctors.  The disease easily slips by medical professionals who often have no experience with rare childhood eye cancers.

“Alice was checked quite a few times by doctors and even a specialist and they never even saw it,” Mike told me.  “The eye specialist who found it told me it was the second one he had ever seen in his whole career. Most doctors will never see one in their entire career.”

In fact, Mike said he and his wife as well as nursery workers noticed little Alice squinting regularly, but doctors were not initially concerned.

He recalls:  “We knew it was a massive problem when my wife said, ‘Alice can’t see out of one eye, I am sure of it.’ So we played pirate with her and when we put the patch over the good eye, she started walking into walls. She was blind. And that was when we knew, ‘This is not a squint. Our daughter is blind in one eye.’”

Helping Mike and Alison make the 2018 Barber UK stage shows a SUCCESS!

The pair have arranged for two massive stages at Birmingham NEC during Barber UK on May 20 and 21, 2018, one for barbering and one for hair. The goal is to get as many big-name hairdressers and barbers to come and do shows, attracting good-sized crowds who want to see their work.  “Everyone is welcome,” Mike says. “We want to get as many brands on board to shout from the rooftops about CHECT and this type of cancer.”

The pair plan on-site raffles with brand support, “smaller ones leading up to a big-brand main prize,” Mike says.

“It’s such a fantastic venue, huge place, it’s such an opportunity we’ve been given and we need the help of our friends in the business to make it a big success,” Alison said.


They are working out fresh ideas to market the event and promote awareness. One such is asking barbers and hairdressers to wear an eye patch on the job to spark conversation during CHECT week, which coincides with Barber UK 2018.  “We’re open,” Mike says. “Perhaps you can get something started in your town or shop, or contribute a ideas.”

 Retinoblastoma signs and symptoms

So what should parents and doctors be looking for?

“A squint is one of the symptoms,” Alison said. “If you look at a picture with a flash, sometime the pupils will look white. That it is not always retinoblastoma, but that is one of the symptoms.”

“Also in certain light the pupil can look translucent, like a cat’s eye,” she said.

Retinoblastoma symptoms can also include the following, though these symptoms can easily be caused by conditions other than cancer:

  • A different color in each iris (the colored part of the eye)
  • Eyes do not appear to be looking in the same direction
  • Redness or swelling of the eye

“It needs to be caught early,” Alison added, emphasizing the need for awareness. “It has a massive survival rate but if you don’t catch it in time, it can obviously lead to being fatal.”

As for little Alice, Mike says after her diagnosis in March she began chemotherapy, which is finishing up now. “She has a 50-50 chance of keeping her eye, though she has already lost sight in it,” he said.

“What Alison has done with her career is such a good example for Alice and others,” Mike said. “I can tell my daughter this is not the end of the line. She will go on to fulfill her dreams.”

You can help fulfill the dream of a hugely successful Barber UK CHECT event by getting on board early and contacting Alison or Mike today.  Mike is easy to find through miketayloreducation.com and Alison recommends contacting her through East Durham College, where she is a well-known lecturer.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for all of us in the industry to rally round two of our well-known people and support their fantastic cause: raising awareness of childhood eye cancers and promoting early detection.

Let’s make it happen and ‘til next time, happy barbering!

Please follow and like us:

Booksy’s Stefan Batory is Boosting Barbers’ Business, Easing Their Stress and Changing Their Lives. Not bad for a Late-Night Long-Distance Runner!

Barbers are over the world are getting to know Booksy, the mobile app that’s changing the business and, according to CEO and co-founder Stefan Batory, improving the professional and personal lives of business owners, independent contractors, and shop employees.

I’ve encountered many successful barbers who swear by Booksy, so I jumped at the chance to meet with Stefan at the Booksy home office in Poland recently.

Fascinating fact: Booksy would not be happening at all if Stefan wasn’t a late night long-distance runner.

Because of his business schedule, Stefan told me his running work outs happen late at night, “sometimes even after midnight.”

“If I feel something is not OK, that I need physiotherapy, it is too late to call for an appointment, and the therapist is not returning text messages at that hour,” he explained. “Often, he would have something available first thing in the morning, but I had no way of knowing that. So,  I missed out on seeing him and he missing out on filling that early appointment.”

“Even when I called during work hours, a therapist works with his hands, and it is not possible to answer the phone, respond to texts or keep up on emails in real time.”

“It seemed to me there must be a solution for this.”

The Booksy idea was born.

In the simplest terms, Booksy is a mobile app that allows clients to book their own appointments on their smart phones at any time in a matter of moments.  For the customer, that’s maximum convenience.  For the barber, it means no more dealing with missed phone calls, late text responses or lost emails. The Booksy monthly subscription model is also much simpler for barbers than paying a percentage of sales, as some booking apps require.

It all means a huge reduction in barber stress and hassle, Stefan says, and a big boost to the bottom line.

“If a client cancels a few hours or even an hour before the appointment, someone can book that last minute availability through the app.  Barbers tell me before using Booksy they had empty chairs on Friday and Saturday, even if they were super successful. They just could not keep up with the phone calls and the text messages. But the second they started using Booksy, that stopped being a problem.  People could change their times and dates and book appointment themselves.”

For customers, no more waiting for a barber to get back. For the barber, no more time spent chasing down all those messages.

“So we not only took the stress out of their lives but the fill rate became much higher because people could check in on their phones at the last minute and say, ‘Oh, he is available in 20 minutes,’ and book it.”

Success has followed this simple yet groundbreaking idea.  Booksy has more than 5,000 clients and has raised millions in capital markets to continue to develop and expand.

Their growing client base means Booksy has amassed original usage data that reveals previously unknown insights all barbers should be aware of.

For example, using the million-plus  appointments made using Booksy each month,  “we noticed 60% of appointments come outside of working hours, which proves people like to book appointments at night or super early,” Stefan says.” That changes business dramatically because, before Booksy, they were unable to make those appointments.”

“We also have the data to prove that people who switch to self-booking with Booksy increase the frequency of their visits by as much as 10 to 30 percent. The client who used to call you 8 or ten times a year now comes twelve or fourteen times a year. This is great because everyone knows it is much easier and cheaper to give your current clients better service than to acquire new clients.”

“What surprised us was that before Booksy, barbers not only missed out on business but also got hurt by cancellations or reschedules because they could not respond quickly.  So barbers would stay in their shops and wait for clients who never showed up. Booksy solves that, too. It’s easy for clients to cancel, it shows up on your calendar immediately, and it opens up a slot for someone else. The barber never has to get involved.”

Another unique feature is the merchant-facing software, which among other things keeps track of point of sale, which helps when calculating commissions and making other personnel and marketing decisions.

I was curious why Stefan chose to focus on barbers. He assured me Booksy was working with hair stylists, therapists, personal trainers, even doctors, and dentists, but there was indeed something about barbering that made us an attractive industry.

“Barbers work with their hands,” he told me.  “Anyone who works with their hands understands that it’s impossible to answer the phone, keep up with emails or respond to texts.”

“More barbers still use pen and paper whereas hair salons have been using management software for years, not necessarily for appointments but for back-office management.  It’s more difficult for them to switch over to Booksy.”

“We designed Booksy as a mobile-first app, and because we knew barbers making appointments manually don’t usually have computers in the shop, they were the perfect niche for the service.”

I shared with Stefan stories I have heard from barbers all over who love Booksy’s popularity with customers and its capability to remove stress from a barber’s daily work life. I had even met a barber who told me that until Booksy came along, he was ready to leave the business due to the stress of customer management.

‘People say it is magic,” he laughs. “They tell me, ‘I don’t do anything, and Booksy does the job, booking clients, handling cancellations and reschedulings, communicates with my clients. I can focus on barbering.’”

“We get messages all the time about this, how Booksy is not only about revenue, but we are helping change lifestyles.”

“One of the best stories I heard was a barber in the US who wrote, ‘Thank you, Booksy, for helping me to have a healthier lifestyle. Before Booksy, I had a lunch break but never had time to eat because I had to reply to emails and messages and phone calls. But now, I have 30 minutes to relax and enjoy lunch.”

“Many barbers are very artistic,” he adds, “They are doing administrative work not because they love it but just because they have to.  Part of what I love about Booksy is we are taking stuff that is not directly involved with their passion and doing it for them. Their life is easier and their work more enjoyable. They can focus on what they do best.”

That’s a real life changer!

Booksy is constantly developing, but Stefan says they are careful not to complicate the app, since ease of use is one of the keys to its popularity. “Of our 5,000 cents, almost all of them set it up themselves, and it took just two or three minutes,” he says proudly.

We will all need to stay tuned because, though is isn’t quite ready to reveal details, Stefan is close to announcing major partnerships with large internet service companies and social media giants that will make Booksy even more attractive to barbers and clients alike.

On behalf of barbers everywhere, I say “Keep on running, Stefan!”

I enjoyed our visit, and I am grateful for the time this very busy man found for me. I think this information is beneficial to all my followers and I hope you will give it serious thought and SHARE my blog or video with your friends. Perhaps it can change your life, too.

Til next time, Happy Barbering!

Please follow and like us:

Barber: Alan Beak Of Ruger’s Talks About His Meteoric Rise


Ruger’s Alan Beak: Enjoy the Boom and Be Nicer to Each Other!

When I caught up with Alan Beak at Barber Connect Telford, he was just 20 minutes from his stage show and a bit rueful about it. ‘There was never a special path I wanted to follow,” he told me, “I never intended to go down a ‘celebrity following’ route. We wanted to keep it varied: the TV work, multiple shows, traveling, doing education. We are just put 100 percent in the moment. Life’s too short for bad coffee and bad haircuts.”

In case you don’t know, the ‘we’ Alan refers to is not only his brother and fellow Manchester native Reece, with whom he opened Ruger Barber just 15 months ago. He also means the rest of his team, Danielle Corbett, Ellie Rogers, Carlie Firth and Aiden Smith, who he mentions often and are a big part of the rather sudden international fame of the Ruger brand.

It’s clear to me the brothers’ killer social media posts featuring unique photography have helped propel them to the heights they enjoy today. It has been a few years since I interviewed Alan, and I wanted to know how he developed those skills.

“Social media is the key factor,” he says firmly. “It is your personal platform to get your work out there.” Social media is part of personal and professional development, something Alan adds to his education work along with theory, demonstrations and hands-on. “Putting all these things together is the recipe.”

He has done his homework in the technical aspects of his incredible camera work. “You need the right tools, the right knowledge, and the right photography,” he says.


 ‘Good barbers, trustworthy barbers, are really hard to find’

“A lot of people are deterred by the camera (due to cost).  I get asked about this a lot, and I don’t keep it secret. My cameras are Canon 600D – that’s 400 pounds.  Quite expensive, but you can get it on eBay now for 120. It’s the 50mm lens that gives us the signature look we have. It has the shallow depth of field, focuses on the head, and everything else is blurred out. It exaggerates the haircut. So the 50 mm is the one, and you can get them for about 70 pounds.”

As the Ruger brand began its meteoric rise, people often asked about opening another shop, but Alan was skeptical. “Good barbers, trustworthy barbers, are really hard to find,” he said. “So instead of finding a location, we thought we should look for the right person (to work with us).  And we came across this young woman, Carlie. Her attitude was amazing, and she cut hair great.   She’s fit in the mold with our team, and it just kind of fell into place.” Carlie is Carlie Firth, who I noticed right away, since she was already doing dynamic stage shows at Barber Connect. Talk about fitting fit in!

With the right crew in place, Alan was ready to expand. The new shop in Lytham started with a business partner in Preston. “He said Lytham would be agood spot for us,” Alan recalls. “We went out there one night, and all the bars were open, we got drinks and something to eat, and they all have these bi-folding doors, everyone was outside, and we were sold!”


Months later, after “getting my soft barber hands into bits lugging axes and crowbars, pretending to be a builder,” the Lytham shop opened to booming business.


 “Get used to your hairdryer”

Alan is a highly attuned business operator whose philosophy every barber should study. He was typically decisive in launching his product line: “We said we wanted or own product; it is as simple as that. And we’ve done it.”  Ruger Essentials is the main item, “the best product we have ever used and ever will use,” Alan calls it in his (admittedly biased) view.

He hasn’t let expansion, social media success and international attention pull Ruger away from their fundamental Italian strength. Alan says the service and atmosphere identified with Italian barbering “will always be our foundation, but we amalgamate our skills with Afro-Caribbean, fading, lady’s hairdressing with extensive styling. We are becoming a hybrid barber; using the Italian as our base.”

He had a take for today’s barbers that was a little surprising: “Get used to your hairdryer.”

“Styling is 33 percent of what you are producing,” he told me. “Everyone wants to do clipper work; everyone wants to fade well; go to America; watch the American videos; everyone wants to learn more scissors techniques. So yes, obviously, clipper and scissor work. But get used to the hairdryer. Use it in both hands, use it in different products, be able to style hair. Hair is very easily manipulated with chemicals, but also with heat.

“Get used to using your hairdryer very well.”


“Seeds are Planted all over the World Every Day”

I found Alan to be fired up when offering thoughts on the state of the industry. First, we’ll cover what he loves.

“There is so much networking going on,” he says immediately with a smile. “People on the outside don’t realize how strangely lovely and incestuous it is. Everybody knows everybody.”

It wasn’t always that way. “I remember being told never to fraternize with the enemy, and the enemy was anyone not in your shop.” Now that’s over and the international flavor of men’s grooming is exciting for everyone, he says. “I had a student who was in Malaysia and wanted to have a look at haircuts there,  and when he said he had worked under us for a while, they took him right in!”

A trip to Barber Connect NYC also made an impact, he said, in particular seeing a multi-racial photo shoot called Council Estate Couture by  Kevin Luchman inspired Alan to get into photography, and hanging with people like Luke Guldan and Miguel helped him realize the importance of accessibility.

“Seeds are planted all over the world every day,” he told me. “Plant a seed and year later you can elaborate on that relationship. It doesn’t come all at once…patience, is what I want to say.”  But meeting people and over time, building relationships with the likes of Jamilla Paul and Chris Foster helped Alan’s personal and professional growth.

So, what does this major influencer think needs changing for the better in our industry?

The “bad attitudes,” Alan says.


“They know full well they couldn’t stand having that done to them”

“You see people criticizing work, so fast to jump in and say something negative, but then they don’t post pictures of their own work, or refuse to because they know full well they couldn’t stand having that done to them.” Alan’s teaching experience shows him kindness is best. “I can say, ‘You have done so well, but let’s pick on something so you can continue to progress.’

“We are in an industry that is booming and we should be a family. We should work together,” he adds. “If you are going to say something it should be positive, not putting someone down and making feel bad about their work.,

Alan is also on about criticism of people who post edited work, which he calls unfair. “I know people edit pictures, and I don’t give a shit because it looks good. I know they edited something out, but (so what?)”

“Look, we are all human,” he said. “Not everything has to be 100 percent perfect. I have seen people’s work online and then seen them work in front of me, and I can tell there is a difference, but I like to see that because that person is only human.”


“Always go with your gut instinct.”

His advice to all: post your work and don’t wait for perfection. “We are all human, we all make mistakes. Whether it’s a small flaw, post your work!  Get your work out there. Don’t pick out the flaw; pick out the good bits in it.”

What final thoughts does this incredibly focused and busy traveler (he lists off where barbering has taken him and his crew – “Shanghai, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and soon to Barcelona and Moscow”) want to share with my audience?


“Always go with our gut instinct,” he said. “Don’t copy other people. I mean, you are never the first person to do something, but take one thing from this person and one thing from another, and just by taking as much as you can from everyone else, you can decide what is going to suit you and make you original.”

“Again, planting seeds. Plant a seed, build a relationship,” he urges. “Instagram is there for that. Instagram is not about how many followers you have. It is about the relationships you build. So speak to someone, leave a nice comment, send a message.”

He condemns how cliquey barbers can be, and sometimes difficult to get to know, so he recommends confidence.  “Even if you are not confident, tell people that. You can say, “I’m not very confident, but I’d like to meet you.” You may shit yourself at first, but then you will be all right!”

With those words I had to let Alan go, off to another rousingly successful stage show.  My thanks to him, and be sure to catch the entire interview on my YouTube at LarryTheBarberMan.  Follow me Instagram @larrythebarberman and I look forward to being friends on Facebook.

I know I will be working harder to follow Alan’s example! Let’s agree to plant seeds, build relationships and be good to one another. Til next time, happy barbering!




Please follow and like us:

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:





Please follow and like us:

Turn Your Andis U S Pro Li Into a Mean Fading Machine Quick & Easy

My latest tutorial is all about getting more from the Andis USProLi clipper. In general, this is already a great tool with a great battery life and really good cutting power – however I’ve heard from some barbers who’ve found that the bevelled blade isn’t giving them what they need. While bevelled blades are quite versatile and can be very forgiving depending on your cutting style, it is less ideal if you do a lot of fading and, in particular, won’t take out the balding line for a skin fade. So, what can you do to make this clipper work for you?

My recommendation is changing the blade, fitting the ‘66255’ surgical blade that’s used for the gold US Fade clipper. The key difference between the two is that, where the bevelled blade has a 45degree angle, the surgical blade is completely flat which allows you to take out the balding line. It also makes it easier to do a 90degree angle – and also makes it somewhat similar to the Wahl Magic Clip tool.

All you’ll need is a Phillips screwdriver: the first step is to take out the two screws at the top. I recommend working using a matt or towel underneath the clipper, as this will help you keep the screws safe. Once you’ve taken the blade off, start by replacing the blade mount, with the flat side facing away from you and the grooves lined up with the clipper’s spindle and wires. Then position the cutting blade on top, making sure that there’s a small gap between the blade mount and the cutting blade. Finally, replace the fixed blade: apply some pressure to it so that it springs down, and replace the screws.

It’s important not to zero gap the clipper at this stage; instead, secure the screws tightly to fix the blade in place, and then loosen them again – but only very slightly. At this point you can zero gap your tool, making sure that the distance from the left and right is equal, and leaving a gap of around 5 strands of hair between the cutting blade and the fixed blade – otherwise you’ll end up cutting your clients! Finally, you need to tighten the screws up, very gently at first and then, once it’s secure, apply some more pressure.

This will give you more range, excellent 90degree angles, and allow you to knock out those balding lines. Just remember to keep your bevelled blade safe, so that if you’re not getting along with surgical blade you can always change it back! If you found this post helpful then please don’t forget to like and subscribe on my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook and make sure you don’t miss out on any upcoming barbering tricks.

Please follow and like us:

Barbering All-Stars Show Tips On How To Cut Short Hair

Learning how to cut short hair can be difficult when it comes to making a transition from hairdresser to barber can be difficult. Even those who are learning how to cut short hair as general barbers usually can have a bit of trouble initially.

With those in the fashion industry demanding more and more intricate styles, it is important to keep up ones’ skills so cutting any style of hair becomes more natural. Whether it is knowing the step-by-step process or the right arsenal of equipment to handle anything thrown your way, continuing education is important.

Fortunately, I now have the opportunity to present educational DVDs that have been made with those in mind who are looking for a perfect way to learn quickly and easily. The success that has been seen already is a thing of beauty.

For more information on these fantastic DVDs and other resources for those wanting to up their skills, check out:  “http://shop.larrythebarberman.com/education/”http://shop.larrythebarberman.com/education/ and, as always, check out my Instagram for more events, information and even give-aways here:  “https://instagram.com/larrythebarberman”https://instagram.com/larrythebarberman.



Connect With Me:










Ebay Shop:




Please follow and like us:

help close Best Of British Barber Expo: Debreif With Organisers Adam Sloan and Davie Walker



I headed to the first ever Best of British Barbering Convention to check out what promised to be an informative day full of networking opportunities and informative stage displays… and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. A full day of educational events featuring some of the biggest barbers in Britain today – including Josh Lamonaca, Sam Wall, Paul Mac Special and Baldy – this was a great opportunity for younger, up and coming barbers to learn from their heroes.

The setting itself was also exceptional, as the event was based at the Surgeons’ Hall, a place steeped in history; this was where the barber-surgeons of the 18th Century and beyond would have gone to practice their trade. Now, the space is more focussed on the medical side of this old career, so it was great to see barbering have the chance to bring the space to life.

I also took the opportunity to meet with the organisers, Davie Walker and Adam Sloan to find out more about their vision behind the event. Both men were keen to focus on what the event could bring to young barbers – highlighting the inclusion of contests such as the Rising Star competition and the Apprentice Barber of the Year. As Davie tells me, this was an excellent opportunity for young barbers to have their turn on the stage.

For Davie, this was underpinned by one key focus for the event: education. The idea was that everybody who attended would be able to take something new away with them by the end of the day; Adam adds that they were keen to see something a bit different on stage, inviting barbers that offered something a little bit outside of the box.

With so many big barbering events taking place at the moment, it’s really nice to see Scotland getting it’s turn in the limelight, and the event also allowed Adam and Davie to launch the Scottish Barber of the Year contest, which will run alongside similar competitions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Adam sees these events as being both “inspirational” and “aspirational”, and as an attendee myself that was certainly the vibe that I picked up throughout the day.

So what’s next for the team behind the Best of British Barber Expo? Well, it’s still too early to say – however if you check out their Facebook page then you’ll see that they’re already teasing a 2017 event which is sure to be just as informative and exciting as this year’s expo. And, with so much great networking going on throughout the day, we may well see other projects spring up – which would certainly be no bad thing.

So for everybody who’s interested in seeing how the barbering industry develops over the next few years, my best advice would be to keep an eye on what these guys are up to – they’re keen to be a driving force behind pushing the industry forward. In the meantime, I’d love to see you on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, where you’ll find a lot more barbering news, as well as reviews of the latest clippers and interviews with barbering stars. You can also get in touch with me at any time, by heading over to my online contact page.



Connect With Me:










Ebay Shop:




Please follow and like us:

Barber’s Andis Pro Foil Shaver and Wahl Super Shaper Shaver Review

I often have barbers calling up to ask me about the differences between the Andis Pro Foil Shaver and the Wahl Super Shaper Shaver, and while I know plenty about the technical specs of each tool, to get a real sense of what they’re like on a busy barbershop floor, I think you need to hear it straight from the barbers themselves.

So, I’ve come together with Marc Republic – all the way from Philadelphia – and Champ of Champ’s Barbers to get a feel for their experiences using each of these shavers. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in; first up, it’s the Andis Pro Foil Shaver.

I get Marc’s perspective first, and he tells me that he prefers the look and feel of the Andis tool, finding it stronger and more resilient. Although his experience is that the Wahl shaver gives smoother results, when you’re thinking of the bottom line this shaver is going to save you money. It also has a better battery life, which can make all the difference!

He also gives me a few tips for use: Marc prefers to use it at an angle, cutting with just the top blade and, although he thinks it’s a great all-rounder for all fading situations, he suggests being careful on the neck since it can irritate the skin.

Champ is quick to tell me that he loves the machine, and uses it every day. The strength is a big factor for Champ too – especially since he has dropped it on the shop floor and still been able to keep on using it. The most important factor for him, though, is the great battery life, and this is complemented by a nice grip with multiple options for holding it comfortable, the ability to clean it easily and the quick charge.

Marks out of 10? Well, Marc gives it a solid 7.5/10, citing a few of the Wahl’s superior features – especially the width -as the reason for shaving off a few points.

Champ gives the Andis Pro Foil Shaver a very solid 9/10.


On to the Wahl Super Shaper Shaver; Marc finds that people will always result back to this tool, which offers a very solid cut. He finds that the wider top is beneficial, as is the slightly firmer blade – although it falls down a little with a shorter battery life.

Champ tells me that it’s a good machine, but lacks a few key features that the Andis offers. This includes the lack of different grips as well as a far shorter battery life, a key consideration for busy barbers. Most important to both barbers, though, is the fact that, as Champ says, “if you drop it then it’s dead”.

This is why Marc drops its rating to 6/10 – a shaver that you have to keep replacing is too costly for most barbers!

Champ gives it 7.5, but tells me that although his preference is for the Andis, he’ll never forget where he came from – staring out with the Wahl Super Shaper.


So the Andis comes out as a clear champion for these two barbers! As always, it was a pleasure to spend some time at Champ’s Barbers, Number 10 Riding House Street. It’s always a great place for a review, since they are an incredibly busy shop that really have to make sure their tools are up to the job. For more insightful reviews take a look at my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages, and if you’re interested in picking up either of these great shavers, you can contact me online; I’ll be interested to hear which one you choose.



Connect With Me:










Ebay Shop:





Please follow and like us:

Barber Chris Moon Of Kutz Barbershop Newcastle Talks Barbering…

I have a chance to talk to one barber Chris Moon, here in Glasgow. Chris is the owner of the Kuts Barbershop in Newcastle area. His family has been in the hair cut industry since 1938. He also sits on the barber council and used to be a competition barber. Having a shop in the family since 1938, Chris says he is in partnership with his dad, his brother and his step-dad. “The four of us are a very small family, but a very tight-knit family and we all work together”, he says.


Chris tells us that their barbering business started off with his grandfather in 1938. His grandfather started off in a small barber shop and thereafter expanded so that they own three shops now. Chris says that his father took over from their grandfather and his mother was a hairdresser until, unfortunately, she passed away. He says that the whole thing is kind of family oriented, so it was inevitable that he would become an excellent barber.


Due to their long history and heritage Kuts Barber Shop are fundamentally a traditional barber shop. The insides of the shop is filled with traditional wood furnishing. Chris goes on to explain that they don’t do traditional styles exclusively, but also modern drop fades and all that.

“We kind of play on the 1938 bit, that’s in our logo, so that’s what we’re really proud of and our head heritage is what has made us what we are today”.


When asked which one service attracts people the most to his barber shop, Chris says, “I think it’s the atmosphere. We’ve got a really good core team, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the staff we’ve got, our staff is the most important thing, because without them we have no business”. Although his family is made of great barbers, Chris believes that teamwork is the key to their great success. “I think that’s why people come to us because we’re a great team, the whole atmosphere and all of our shops are the same, no matter which one you go to, you get the same service from every single member of staff”.


Chris Moon goes on to tell me, he does not specialize in any single haircut. Being the good barber and hairdresser that he is, he knows that all customers are different. He understands that people change and so do trends. That is why he never wanted to be a one-trick pony but rather great at as many things as possible.


When asked about what goes on in the barber council, he tells us that he has gotten a chance to work with some of the biggest people in the industry including educators, Parada companies and the likes of Rachael from Modern Barber magazine. They all sit in the council and come up with great ideas on how to improve services for the guys on the streets. The barber council’s main goal is to ensure that the customers get quality services for what they pay for. “We’re in the fashion industry, fundamentally we’re in the fashion industry, and I think that’s forgotten sometimes, fashion isn’t about wearing an all-sequined t-shirt, or flashy shirt, fashion is every aspect of what you wear and how you look. So, the barber council is there to raise standards and make it better now in the industry”, he says. Although it is going to take time, Chris is determined to set the standards higher for everyone.


He further tells me that Kuts Barbershop is state registered and it shows that his team is well educated and they have high standards in their shop. He ensures that his shop is tidy and that everything is sterilized. Chris gives us an example of a barber who has just watched a YouTubevideo and decided that he is pro enough to have his own shop. He looks at it from the shoes of a customer who wants to become amazing, so he goes to the barbershop only to get a bad haircut. Such is the kind of customer understanding that sets him apart from other barbers. Chris speaks passionately about his job as he goes on to tell me how a customer should step out of the barber shop looking so much better than they went in. “Especially if they look amazing, they need to look ten times better than they already do, that’s what good barbers do; they make you feel good and look better because again, like I said earlier, it’s a fashion.”


Since he is in the barber council, I thought it would be good to ask Chris about his take on the reasons behind staggering state registration. He says there are not enough people who know about it yet. He thinks a lot of people who own barber shops honestly do not know enough about what the council is trying to achieve and about state registration. He hopes to get everyone in the country influenced to move in the same direction. Chris understands that this goal will take time, but he is optimistic that the time will come as long as he keeps on educating and informing everyone.


When asked about what he was personally doing about the situation, he confidently tells me, “I’m working bloody hard.” Chris further informs me that his immediate action is informing his customers that he is state registered and letting them know about his position in the council, standing for higher standards. He has gotten his staff on the same page and he hopes the rest will follow in the same footsteps.


Chris remembers that he has had a lot of good moments throughout his career as a barber. He says the highlight of his career is when he made it to award standard international. He found it unbelievable standing at the stage alongside other talented artistic guys. That is where he met his longtime friend John Bourne, who is a great barber and has taught him a lot. He goes further to talk about how much he learnt from that experience within a very short time. He says he got a lot of tips about his job, which helped him focus on where and how he wanted his barber shop to be. The two of them are very talented in their profession. Furthermore, he has had a chance to make a few new friends like Clarke and Lindy Roth. Chris now has friends all over the country. That is what he especially likes about his job; he can travel and meet people who give him new great ideas which he can incorporate into his shop.


He has been in a few competitions throughout his time, which he says that although he did not actually win, he has always made it to the finals. In one of the national finals, he was runners up to Passer, who went on to win it. He says that he learnt a ton, being on the stage and showcasing his talent. Chris likes a challenge because it gives him new opportunities to learn and to become better at what he does best. “The competition is what most barbers should enter, they have to enter them because if you can get into the finals, it shows customers that you’re not just good at what you do in the salon, the people are appreciating what you do”, he says. It is all about being professionally recognized. Once you are professionally recognized, you have solid social and professional proof that you are the best at your job. Chris says that is what customers want to see. It gives them a reason to visit your shop they can see that you are doing something right and other people in the country are recognizing it.


“I think there is a lot of negativity in areas, that’s what I don’t like. I think everyone needs to be together as a unit, and working together, bringing standards higher, you know, that’s what it’s all about- we need standards higher and England’s got to work together”, Chris tells us when he is asked about the things he would like to see change. He believes in the whole system working in unison because issues arise when you start pulling things apart. The talented barber would like to have every barber on the same page, maintaining the highest standards possible in serving their customers. Although everyone wants to make money, Chris strongly believes in delivering quality services beforehand. “We’ve all got mortgages to pay, cars to pay, families to look after, you want to earn money, yes, and no one’s going to say otherwise, but I just want everyone on the same page, pull it together and raise the standards”


Chris has already achieved a lot in his career. So, what is next for him? When asked, he says, “I just want to concentrate on cuts, cuts are my main priority, and making our customers happy, that’s the next thing, and that’s always been the thing, nothing else. He also says that he prioritizes working with his brother, dad and his step-mom, building their business and making it better. He says it is amazing to work with his family members but should he be asked to do other things, he would do them. He is quite the outgoing type and finds joy in delivering excellent services in whatever he chooses to do.


In closing, the advice from Chris to a young barber coming into the business is, “never stop learning. The only time you stop learning is when you’re six feet under, learn everyday”. He goes on to quote his dad who said to him, “if you can take this much from a bad barber and this much from a good barber and put it together, you will be a talented guy”. He believes that one can learn something even from guys who are not the best in the industry, so he just has to learn from everyone.


For anyone desiring to stop working for someone and to start their own business, Chris advises that you take the leap. He says it is difficult to start your own business but you will never know if you don’t try. “Find the right location, make sure that you’re happy with everything, don’t do it until you’re happy and you feel comfortable. When you feel comfortable, you know when it’s the right time.” He says.


That was the final part of my interview with the talented barber and proud owner of Kuts Barbershop, Chris Moon. I wish Chris more success in upholding the high standards of the services offered in his barbershop.


If you enjoyed this interview then don’t forget to subscribe to the channel for more, follow me on Instagram, and http://www.facebook.com/larrythebarberman pages for other free barbering content. I’d also like to invite you to check out more interviews, tutorials and content on my YouTube channel at: http://www.barbers.tv. You can also email me at info@larrythebarberman.com.



Connect With Me:










Ebay Shop:






Please follow and like us: