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

 

ScissorSalute™: Behind the Scenes

This week was an exciting one for Her Chair His Hair primarily because the whole idea behind the site is meeting new barbers while connecting with them on both a professional and personal level. I was generously invited to sit in on this week's airing of the ScissorSalute™ Show which streams on USTREAM.tv Mondays 7:00-9:00 PM EST. To say this group was welcoming would be an understatement; by the time I left I felt like I knew each of them for a long time despite the crazy taping schedule!

Scissor Salute Show Logo Her Chair His Hair Behind the Scenes

The whole crew that you see on Instagram representing ScissorSalute™ was there with a buzz of energy to put on a fantastic show. Sefiroh (@Sefiroh), the creator of the show, Irene (@Newyorican_queen), co-owner, barbers Eli (@Elidabarber), , Ivan, Chauncey (@Chauncey_thebarber), and new addition Nicole Digilio representing Hair Stylists were hilarious and a great group to work with. This week they had Quisqueya Barbershop of Dover, NJ and I actually knew them from high school - talk about a small world! This Monday was a rare one off and I wanted to accept my invitation to see the show so I had no clue that the guys from Quisqueya would be there. Nestor (@Inked_Barber), David (@thefit_barber), Danny (@Danny_stylez91), Domingo (@Sir_Fade_Alot), were all there to show their best work and to answer questions about their career thus far. I know for a fact this shop stays busy! 

The group giving a Scissor Salute after the show! 

The group giving a Scissor Salute after the show! 

What I loved most about Monday night was the feeling of collaboration. Every single person in that room was there because they love what they do and they wanted to share it beyond their shop. Male barbers, Lady Barbers, it didn't matter - we were all just talking shop and discussing what we love which, to me, is what this site is all about. I can't wait to be invited back and discuss Her Chair His Hair  more but most importantly, meet many new creatives and hang with the Scissor Salute crew. 

Don't forget to follow these fantastic barbers on Instagram, I've listed their handles next to their names throughout this article. Also, don't forget to catch the ScissorSalute™ Show every Monday 7-9 PM EST on Ustream.com! When you download it, the site will give you a heads up for tuning in the show.

Until next time!
Cassie

Repost Worthy: It's a Man's Man's World

The other "C" takes us on a journey of what it is like to be a Lady Barber from her perspective. I think many of us can relate to it on a personal and professional level regardless the industry you belong to be it medical, creative or technical. We all belong in someone else's world to a degree at any given point of our careers and this speaks to it extremely well. I will let "C" take it from here....

 

I Am Her

Welcome to my world. Its a man’s world around here sometimes. I am a Master Barber and it has been my pleasure to for the last 13 years to keep the men in my world looking manly.

 The benefit of being a woman in a male dominated field is that I add a certain something. A touch, not unlike the midas type, that keeps them coming back for more and more. My expertise goes beyond basic haircuts and trims. From hair to skin care. From timepieces to sneakers. From classic menswear to street style, that woman’s touch. Thats the finishing touch that they all seek.

Ultimately, I love when a man is dressed and impeccably groomed. Whether he going to formal event, the office, dinner party or just hitting the streets with his people. Well dressed for any occasion is my thing.

So here I am celebrating what I see, what makes sense and looks good. I am sharing what I know. Razors. Shaving oils. Haircuts. Maintaing styles at home, barbershop etiquette[...].

Featured Lady Barber: Brea_DaBarber33

When exploring the options of what to write for Her Chair His Hair, I automatically knew there was one specific topic I wanted to discuss in depth: Lady Barbers. As mentioned in my letter to you, I found that we are a small group but a growing one and we love what we do. What I love even more about this network is that we are supportive and don't criticize harshly unlike other communities. 

About a month ago I put out a call for amazing Lady Barbers to submit their work for an undisclosed project. I knew it would be rough getting people to openly speak with me based on little to no information but I was hoping I'd find some golden nuggets who were willing to go out on a limb for a new blogger. 

Having that said, I'd like to introduce Ms. Brea Retic.

HerChairHisHair Brea Retic Lady Barber

Located in Marietta, Georgia, one of Atlanta metropolitan's largest suburbs, Brea works four days a week as a Lady Barber. Like most people, she had dealt with a struggling economy in 2008 and decided to pursue her passion as a barber when she moved to Georgia. I sat down with Brea to discuss some of her experiences so far as a female barber and while some are funny, others are downright surprising.

HCHH: How many clients do your currently see in a typical day? Are you booked in advance?
Brea: On a daily basis, I typically see 10-15 clients and yes, I prefer they book in advance since my schedule fills up quickly.

HCHH: Has a client ever refused YOU?
Brea: Oh yeah, plenty of times. 

HCHH: So, you're telling me that you're booked solid most days and there are clients who have refused you. Why is that?
Brea: Usually they refuse me because of my gender and blatantly state that they don't feel comfortable with a woman cutting their hair.

Brea Retic HerChairHisHair Lady Barber

HCHH: Unfortunately that seems to happen a lot to female barbers. Let's move on to something exciting though, do you have any fun stories from the shop to tell?
Brea: One fun story is the time that I cut Colin Kaepernick [of the 49ers] and my son had a chance to meet him. When i came to the shop to tell the guys they couldn't believe it! I had to show them the photo plus Kap had posted it on his IG, so they finally believed me.

HCHH: That's fantastic! Are you working on any other projects currently?
Brea:  As of right now i am not doing any upcoming projects just continuing to expand my brand and grind daily. 

HCHH: Any pet peeves? I know we all have one.
Brea: My biggest pet peeve is when clients arrive late but still expect to be seen immediately. Also another pet peeve is bad hygiene!

HCHH: So I want to know what your favorite tool is and favorite snack when you're too busy to eat a real meal.
Brea: When cutting in the shop, my favorite tool would be the Oster Fast Feeds. Favorite snack? Hmm..it would probably be chocolate chip cookies & grapes. Oh and I always have water on hand.

Brea Retic Lady Barber HerChairHisHair

HCHH: Do you have any goals, hopes, or dreams that pertain to your career as a barber that you'd like to share?
Brea: A goal I have for myself is to own my own shop in Atlanta within the next four years. I also want to continue to inspire young woman and men, letting them know you can still be creative, be yourself and do what you love everyday.  Dreams I have are to travel the world blessing others with my gift and just continue to inspire and become one of the best! It's the barber life: the best life i could have ever chosen...well it chose me and it saved my life, for that I am forever grateful. I will never work another day in my life because I love what I do and I am blessed to say that.

HCHH: Anything else you'd like to say?
Brea: I just want people to know that this is industry has no limits and you can be as creative as possible so if you want it - go get it. No limits. Never limit yourself.

**If you'd like to schedule an appointment with Brea, feel free to leave a comment below with your name and e-mail address and she will be in contact.**