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.