State of the Union: Taking Back Our Industry

Tonight I was involved in a conversation amongst many peers that discussed where the industry was going for Barbers and what we could do to improve it. There was talk about how Barbers are being poorly represented in the media all the way to how Barbers represent themselves poorly. It took me a minute to realize why I felt like I have heard this conversation before but not amongst Barbers and finally it hit me: every industry is currently facing the same problem.

If you read or keep up with my previous posts then you know that I have this knack for intertwining multiple industries or topics that seemingly have nothing to do with each other. It's a blessing and a curse because I can go completely off topic but I promise I always have a point. Stick with me.

Barbers, hair stylists, makeup artists, and nail technicians or aestheticians are facing the same reality: prices keep going up and wages stay the same, or in some cases, decrease. Before I became a Barber I was a makeup artist for quite a few years and a freelance makeup artist at that aka struggle city. We are constantly fighting as makeup artists to prove our worth to clients amongst a growing crowd of upcoming artists and the generation of established artists before us. 

But Barbers work in shops or studios, they don't 'freelance', so why are they struggling? I'm glad you asked. I'll get back to that.

Another issue is reputation amongst our industries and how the public perceives us. Half of it is from what they've experienced in their daily life and the other half is from what they see on television.  

You're telling me makeup artists don't rip each others hair out on set? No way. 

Another known fact about me is I don't keep my mouth shut and sometimes to a fault but it's who I am and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. With that being said, everyone knows I speak out often on women as Barbers and how we are constantly perceived as eye candy rather than equals at events. 

So, wait, most Barbers who happen to be women don't dress like they're on a yacht in Miami with Pitbull? Sadly not.

Perception. That's how we take our industry back.

You are only good as your perceived value in this era of being a Barber or makeup artist. That's why visually stimulating social media platforms like Youtube, Instagram and even Vine make a big impact. If you can walk the walk after talking the talk then you have instantly increased your value to complete strangers. 

People are learning how to perceive us through television shows or movies like Barbershop, Blush, Jerseylicious, Face Off and Cedric's Barber Battle. Not all are bad but not all are good either because they are completely one-sided and, in return, professionals feel like they're not being properly represented. 

When the public watches these shows that create a gilded perception, it instantly decreases the value of our work. They see the easiest and most simplified aspects of it and think that's all it requires to become successful. Forget the hundreds and thousands of hours of training or experience and the heavy investments into your kit or tools. You just get it for free like the Youtube gurus, right?

This leads me back to the earlier question of why Barbers struggle. We allow the public's perception to control our pricing.

Only in the Barbershop community have I seen such disdain for people who increase their prices based on their experience, market and simple ability to do so. Products have gone up in price, so has rent and every other utility, plus your own bills to support yourself. So why haven't your prices? Because we continually allow the public to say,"But it's so easy, look at XYZ show! So why are you charging so much?"

...Because I like to eat. (Cupcakes, for any of you who were wondering. My birthday is January 28th.)


Recently I have found myself heavily investing in my continued education, taking time to network with my peers and just take a step back to listen. So many Barbers have so much to say about the rapid decline of how Barbers are perceived but, equally, so many have hopes for changing that and taking our industry back.

There's a quote that says,"The world is full of nice people. If you can't find one, be one." 

This industry is brimming with talent: established and upcoming. If you can't find something that makes you proud and willing to represent it, then make a change. There is one thing that stands true in any industry and that is if you build it they will come. Small changes create a ripple effect in our small community that reach out to our clients and their friends or families which in return will help build a positive perception. 

Think about it.

Until Next Time,
Cassie

 

Lady Barber Corina

Holy Toledo! Ok..I have to admit, I've been wanting to yell that out since I spoke with Corina (@Corina_LadyBarber) because it presented the perfect opportunity. To say I have been trying to speak with this Lady Barber for some time would be an understatement but it was well worth the wait! 

Currently working at First Chair Barber Styling in Toledo, Ohio, Corina is killing the game and giving Lady Barbers a great name in her market. We all know there aren't many Lady Barbers to begin with but it should be noted that for however many I may see in New York City, there is probably an eighth of that number in Ohio. Undoubtedly a phenomenal barber, Corina joins the list of the most humble people I have met. With serious clipper skills, a desire to work 'until the door stops swinging', and some serious wit to go with her beauty, it's a no brainer that she is an obvious go-to Lady Barber.

But enough rambling on my part because Corina tells it so much better.

HCHH: What inspired you to become a Barber? Did you start there? Or in cosmetology?

Corina_LadyBarber: I started as a cosmetologist but soon found out I was allergic to perms/color and honestly, I didn’t like it anyway. This started moving me towards clippers and I loved it. When I was about 20 or 21 I moved from small town to Toledo and started apprenticing as a barber. I probably apprenticed for 3 months but I was already very familiar with clipper work since I loved it so much.

HCHH: I'm interested in how many clients you have as regulars and also how many you see approximately each day. 

Corina_LadyBarber: I think it's probably anywhere from 100-150 regular clients. On any given day I see 10-20 people but it changes every day.  I usually book in advance for Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays since they're my most busy days. 

HCHH: Wow so you're pretty busy between regulars and walk-in's. Do you ever get a funny reaction when you tell people what you do for work? 

Corina_LadyBarber: I've always been known for being a lady barber in Toledo. I moved here in 2000 and I was very big in the Hispanic community. When I started working for my boss, James, at First Chair 5 years ago it was primarily African American hair so they all thought I could only cut Spanish hair [laughs] but then word eventually got out that I could cut any hair. 

HCHH: When you weren't yet known for being capable of cutting all hair, did a client ever refuse you?

Corina_LadyBarber: Oh yeah, it’s the whole David and Goliath Bible situation. A lot of men who are Muslim come in and they won’t let me cut their hair. It’s primarily religion based but sometimes we get African men from countries like Ghana who won’t let me cut their hair. It’s usually just their preference. But it's honestly rare to receive much hate on the female barber end around here. 

*Editors note: I was shaking hair off my shirt that my lint-roller didn't get after a day in the shop. After mentioning this to Corina, she commiserated by mentioning how she probably has a hairball from working every day in the shop. Yum!*

HCHH: So speaking of hairballs and how much we love eating them, what's your favorite go-to snack when you're too busy to eat a real meal?

Corina_LadyBarber: Honestly, whatever I can get my hands on! Every day is like that for us. The only time we really get to eat is on Wednesdays because it's slower but if we don’t bring anything with us then we don’t eat. Oh there's also a young man who comes to the shop and sells snacks so sometimes I will buy from him. Oh! I know...anything with chocolate. 

HCHH: Your shop seems really lively and tight-knit, do you have any fun stories to share?

Corina_LadyBarber:  We do have an exciting shop, we keep the jokes rolling. We have a couple comedians – we all think we’re comedians at one point. A not so funny story, though, was from when we first opened the shop. On the opening day, the owner put up the Obama sign and somebody threw rocks into the window. Besides that we’ve had two guys pass out face down in the shop. We get quite a few crazy characters and definitely a lot of hood action. Cops [the show] filmed right outside once so I'd say every day is pretty exciting and an experience, 

Also, we’re a very family oriented shop. Most of the neighborhood kids come in and sweep and we’ll give them a dollar. We have a cuss jar we started where we put a quarter in each time we mess up. After the month is over we send to a different Parish each month and they donate [the money] to kids overseas. Our first month had around $100 but after that we’ve definitely worked on keeping the cussing down [laughs]. 

HCHH: You've mentioned your clippers a few times. Are they your favorite tool to use?

Corina_LadyBarber: Absolutely, I love my clippers. My go-to is my Andis Master followed by my Oster Fast Feeder and Andis T-Liners, of course.

HCHH: I know I always see you up to something: battles, events, etc. But do you have anything coming up that you can share with us?

Corina_LadyBarber: At my shop we’re launching a product called Line Tight. It's meant for line enhancement so you will see me marketing that a lot. I also have been doing some classes for Cosmetology schools teaching clipper classes but my next move is to convince them to have a dedicated clipper class for a whole week. This is especially for the ladies because most come out of school not even knowing where to start with that kind of cut.

I'm also going to continue going into salons and teaching more advance clipper work. I taught the ladies at Playboyz Barbershop, those ladies are awesome! 

HCHH: Just based off their Instagram I can't wait to sit down with all of them together [hint, hint]. Aside from teaching, I know I see you attending battles all of the time. And we all know you recently won a certain battle that was announced on the ScissorSalute Show. 

Corina_LadyBarber: Yeah! I've competed in 5 battles and have placed in three which is exciting. In two hair shows I placed 2nd in both and they were some of the first I participated in. Recently I also competed in Connecticut and Philly but didn't place. And I'm so happy to say I won the Nasty Barbers battle that took place on Instagram and was announced on the ScissorSalute Show.

HCHH: We all know not a lot of ladies battle but have you met any or made any connections from these events?

Corina_LadyBarber: For sure, I've met RxBarber, Lici_LadyBarber and so many other ladies I look up to! They show much love, it's crazy. Oh and the first time I met LadyJaeKutz was in Philly, I was amazed at how sweet she was. I love it!

HCHH: I love all of those ladies and can't wait to meet Lici myself. But tell me, what is your biggest pet peeve? I'm dying to know...you're so honest, so I'm sure it'll be good!

Corina_LadyBarber: Oh that's easy! Somebody who constantly turns around and looks in the mirror while you’re trying to line them up or cut them. and keep trying to correct you. That and when my Andis T-Liner doesn’t work or sometimes it won’t cut baby hair or peach fuzz so I just yell at it and tell it to stop getting on my nerves.

A third is when customers are impatient. I feel like saying 'You know I’m booked back to back and if I’m running a few minutes late, be patient it’s okay everyone will get a cut.' I will stay late if I have to until the door stops swinging, I love it.

HCHH: Do you have any goals, hopes, or dreams that pertain to your career as a barber that you’d like to share? 

Corina_LadyBarber: I would love to do platform [education] but I think right now my biggest goal is to have my own shop. I have a four year plan. 

HCHH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Corina_LadyBarber: Yes! I'd just that I love my career and what I do. I definitely rep all lady barbers out here, I have so much love for all of the ladies. It’s hard to be a lady barber. All that guys want to promote is sex, sex, sex and we just want to be recognized for our talents not just looks and bodies. I’d rather have respect for my cuts than my looks  that will only last so long [laughs].

Wow, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to sit down with this wonderful woman. What we discussed after the actual interview was how she is a mother of TWO and one of them, her son, is currently going to school to become a barber as well. So we will have to keep you updated on whether or not her younger daughter decides to continue on as a wonderful Lady Barber just like her mom. 

If you'd like to book Corina or check out more of her work, you can follow her on Instagram at @Corina_LadyBarber. It has been such a pleasure getting to know this woman and I can't wait to see her when she comes to New York December 1st! For what? you may ask. Well, you'll just have to wait and see. ;)

Don't forget to check back Mondays and Thursdays (usually) 11 AM EST! When the Squarespace cherubs don't totally hate me, I swear I post on time. 

Until Next Time,
Cassie


1,000 Hashtags: Part 2!

Sorry for the radio silence yesterday everyone! I was on set and it proved to be a busy, busy day. Of course I didn't want this to post without making sure I had included everyone that gave a shout with the hashtag #HerChairHisHair. 

Last Thursday the theme was kids cuts and today I wanted to focus on the ladies behind the chair. So enjoy the beauty, brains and serious selfies these Lady Barbers serve up on their Instagram and don't forget to hashtag #HerChairHisHair so you can be featured the next time around!

For my crimes I promise to make another post tomorrow with a different theme. Pinky swear.

Oh! One last thing...we've officially hit 1.1k hashtags since last Thursday! Thank you again for the support it's truly amazing. 

Always,
Cassie

1,000 Hashtags!

I woke up this morning and it was rainy, gross and cold here in New York. Then I logged on to HerChairHisHair's Instagram and saw that we exceeded 1,000 hashtags as of today! Last month when I reposted we were only around 650 if I recall correctly!

happy Her Chair His Hair Hashtag 1000 NYC

Thank you to everyone who has supported us: Lady Barbers, Brother Barbers and even clients tagging in their own selfies. It is amazing how far we have come since June 1st and I can't wait to see how much this community continues to grow!

There have been so many hashtags since the last time that I posted that I wanted to truly give each image a shot to be featured so between here and the Instagram page, I will be reposting images today through next Thursday. Don't forget to check and see if it's yours!

This week's theme is (*drumroll*)...BABIES! Too many of you posted kids that were just adorable so I decided to make a theme out of it...because I can. So there. :)


Always,
Cassie

PS: I've also decided to try this new gallery feature so you don't have to scroll forever and can save your thumb for shear work. Let me know what you think!


Instagram Recap: Barbers Who Rock!

This weekend was so wonderful because of one thing: YOU. I posted a video on Friday admitting I didn't know you had to check for a hashtag and it's true! But now that I do know, I've been checking daily and I LOVE IT! You all rock so much so I thought your best work should be featured on here. Some are from our recently featured Lady Barbers (you guys rock) others are from some of our biggest supporters while a few are tagged by our brother Barbers!

Right here, this, is exactly what I meant when I wrote 'Our Story'. I want this website to foster a sense of community, to promote each other and to see the men promoting the ladies' work and vice-versa. You all rock! So sit back and scroll through some wonderful work before the rest of your crazy day.

Remember to tag us @HerChairHisHair and to use our hashtag #HerChairHisHair so we can repost your awesome work!


Always,
C

Posted and hashtagged by @Roqkandy

Posted and hashtagged by @Roqkandy

"All razor work." Posted and hashtagged by recently featured Lady Barber @inotsasha

"All razor work." Posted and hashtagged by recently featured Lady Barber @inotsasha

Posted and hashtagged by @Lipstick_barber REPOSTED by @Edwin_Scissorhand  Big thanks to @Edwin_Scissorhand for showing Lady Barbers love!

Posted and hashtagged by @Lipstick_barber REPOSTED by @Edwin_Scissorhand

Big thanks to @Edwin_Scissorhand for showing Lady Barbers love!

"Total Restyle! Without a doubt one my best cuts so far. Looking seriously sharp!"    Posted and hashtagged by @thenerdybarber

"Total Restyle! Without a doubt one my best cuts so far. Looking seriously sharp!"

Posted and hashtagged by @thenerdybarber

Posted and hashtagged by @Fussthebarber - he's one of our gentlemen supporting #HerChairHisHair so thank you!

Posted and hashtagged by @Fussthebarber - he's one of our gentlemen supporting #HerChairHisHair so thank you!

Posted and hashtagged by @artful_barber

Posted and hashtagged by @artful_barber

One more post and hashtag by @Lipstick_barber ...she's beautiful and so is her work!

One more post and hashtag by @Lipstick_barber ...she's beautiful and so is her work!