By the time they plunked down in Takara Belmont chairs for an interview with me, Simon Shaw and Julius “Caesar” Arriola were exhausted after three days as one of the main attractions at Salon International 2017 in London.
Why all the fuss over Wahl’s European Artistic Director and an American Wahl educator?
Because for the first time, Wahl was launching a major new product in the UK and chose Salon International to do it. And it wasn’t just any new product, but the long-awaited Cordless Senior Clipper. Simon and Julius had the privilege of being Wahl’s onsite reps “when the floodgates opened,” as Julius put it.
The pair had been swamped from the first moments. The new clipper took the event by storm as barbers “were running towards us when the doors opened up like it was the new iPhone,” Simon said.
That’s what happens when your reputation for excellence precedes you, right, Simon?
“We sold out in about nine trading hours, 500 units,” he said.”We have 3,500 coming in the next two or three weeks that are already allocated. We’re 1200 in the red on it.”
Even Julius, who’d been flown in from the US on behalf of Wahl especially for the launch and debuted the Cordless Senior on stage, told me, “People in the US might not believe me, but they are really strict about buying more than one – I can’t do it.”
I told him I’d had the same problem! The fact the Cordless Senior was available but in short supply sparked a surge in demand unlike anything I’ve seen. Talk about Wahl-mania!
The Low Down on the Cordless Senior
So – how does the new must-have Cordless Senior behave?
“In comparison to the Corded Senior itself, whether it is the 5-Star, the Sterling or the regular Wahl Pro, the Cordless is an impeccable machine,” Julius told me.
“(The Cordless Senior is) high-performance, high impact, it is going to mow through anything from white Caucasian hair to thick curly hair,” he added. “The performance you’ve been expecting is there, whether precision blending or clip–over-comb. I am cutting on stage with it, and it is literally effortless; the hair is coming right off.”
Worn out as he was, Julius’ high level of enthusiasm was still shining through. “In 15 years of professional barbering, I’ve always felt, ‘Man, I love Wahl Senior. I just wish it was cordless.’ And now it’s 2017, and here we are in London Town, launching.”
Cordless Senior vs. Magic Clip
Many people compare the Corded Senior to the highly popular Magic Clip, so I was especially curious about how the Cordless Senior stacks up.
“You can’t go anywhere without seeing a cordless Magic Clip. It changed the game,” Julius agrees. “But what you love about the Cordless Magic Clip, the dream has been fulfilled in the Cordless Senior.”
In testing the Cordless Senior, I couldn’t hold it with my thumb, unheard of for a cordless. What was Julius’ reaction?
“The weight of the machine is exactly what you’re looking for,” Julius enthuses. ”If you’ve got the Magic Clip or here in the UK the Super Taper, you may have thought it too light in your hand (because) you are used to the corded machine. “
“All that conversation is going to halt because the weight is there in the Cordless Senior; the aluminum body, obviously the classic five-star senior face, the surgical blade, you can’t go wrong. The battery time is enough for what you need to do, too.”
Though Julius was happy to compare the Magic Clip and the Cordless Senior, he thinks most barbers will still need both machines.
“Obviously the blades are different,” he said. “You’ve got your surgical blade on the Cordless Senior, which comes on your classic Five Star as-is. Whereas the Magic Clip has the devil in the details, and one of my most favorite things about it is the crunch blade the stagger tooth blade.”
“But anything you felt might be missing in the Magic Clip, you will find in the Cordless Senior.”
How to use surgical blades (and oil!)
I wanted Julius to talk a bit more about surgical blades and how they are used.
“It is on the scalp cutting,” he said. “The Cordless Senior is going to be the precision cutter for your bald fades and your skin fades. You have your 45° bevel blade; it curves in. Three screws compared to two screws (on the Magic Clip). A surgical blade for me, it means you cut more on the ergonomics of a 45 out rather than the classic C stroke, because the surgical blade is not beveled.”
I agree with Julius, telling people that a surgical blade should be used like a trimmer, and scooping with a trimmer cuts the client. And since it is so sharp, you can set the surgical blade on the scalp, mini-strokes and it will do the same work as the big strokes.
Julius thinks so too, and Simon adds that the high speed of the Cordless Senior speaks to the need to keep it oiled so that it stays cool and sharp.
“You will need to oil it,” he says firmly, “because of the revs.” 6400 revs per minute as compared to the 5400 (of the Magic Clip).
“You have to, because not only will it last longer, it will run cooler – feel cooler on the skin – and it will feel sharper, hair won’t bunch up and clog,” Simon said, noting that many damaged clippers he sees suffer from poor maintenance, i.e., too little oil creating too much friction and damaging the blades.
So a word to the wise: get some Wahl oil in addition to what comes in the box, and use two or three drops after every cut. I show you how in this Larry the Barberman How To Video (LINK HERE)
“You want Yeezys before Kanye has Yeezys”
Back to the Cordless Senior. Anxious barbers want to know: when can we expect enough to arrive in the UK for everyone who wants one?
After the allotment of 3500 (already committed) units by mid-November, “we’ve got more coming in December and January,” Simon said. He thinks it will be February or March before the manufacturing schedules in the US catch up with UK demand. So we have to sit tight!
Julius says, “It’s like I’m Kanye West and you’re asking me for a whole box of Yeezys; you want Yeezys before Kanye has Yeezys. You guys want a Cordless Senior; I’m trying to get the Cordless Senior myself! I am humbled to say I feel you guys, I would love to have them in my hands if I could.”
“All I’m saying is patience is a virtue. It’s well worth the wait, and once you have it in your hands, it won’t disappoint.”
LARRY….WANT TO MENTION YOU WILL BE STOCKING THE CORDLESS SENIOR?
‘Til then, happy barbering!