A Freelancer's Struggle

Lately it feels like all I have been doing is apologizing for shirking on my schedule when it comes to Her Chair His Hair. Yet there is still an overwhelming amount of support when it comes to both the website’s traffic and the interaction on Instagram. It doesn’t go unnoticed even if sometimes it may seem so.

What the hell does this have to do with men’s grooming? Well, everything. Our clients have someone to listen to their problems but sometimes we feel like we don’t have a single person to reach out to.

As Barbers, Hairstylists and Freelancers we all go through slumps and we all experience overwhelming moments where we don’t know what our next week or even month will look like. There is a certain image we need to portray because of social media that everything is cake and we are doing better than you can ever imagine. I’m not here to play psychologist to any of you because that is not my intention but I wanted to talk about it myself. Some of you may hold it against me, some of you may feel angry because it is exactly what you’re going through but I hope that most of you will embrace it.

I started my LLC in the middle of the worst recession America has faced in quite some time. Everyone thought I was crazy and told me to get my ass to college, stat! But it just wasn’t for me and not because I do not believe in higher education. I enjoy taking non-matriculated courses at school to this day but a degree just was not in my plan. Like many of you I started slowly but surely and eventually couldn’t keep track of when was what. It was brilliant! I was 19 and working for Hearst Corporation, Cover Girl and some major artists in the industry while participating in the social media rat race. But then came the slow winter months and I didn’t know where to turn. Everyone online seemed to have their work schedules set and I was left in the dust.

freelance_HerChairHisHair_NYC

 Sound familiar?

We all experience this at one point whether it is in a barbershop, a salon or on set. For all that is holy I wish it would strengthen our bond rather than push us further apart!  

Currently, I am working in two shops that I love dearly but I did something different this year – I decided to travel. But how can I travel when money is short and business is slow? I saved up.  Throughout the entire year I saved money, anything that I could spare. I love to travel, meet new people and see new places while immersing myself in a brand new community.  I chose this because it is something that brings me happiness and reminds me to get in front of people with a cup of coffee, or my favorite, lemonade.

freelance_HerChairHisHair_NYC

To anyone who is still reading this and who doesn’t have their eyes rolled in the back of their head, I’d like to challenge you.  Pick something you love: cooking, traveling, photography, or even school, and save up starting in February when work picks up again and you can spare the few dollars here and there. This time next year you can afford that new camera or those classes on marketing you’ve always been interested in.


In the meantime please feel free to reach out to me. It can be anonymous on the contact page, by e-mail or Instagram: publicly or privately. It may feel so crazy some days, you may feel so anxious other days but if you have someone to vent to, yell at or just sit in silence with, it will help. Here's a photo of me when I was just a wee baby so you're not too nervous to reach out. See? I don't bite...ok I was a biter but I promise it wasn't that bad.

                                                                                                         Baby Cassie with two teeth and stylin' wispy bangs. 

                                                                                                         Baby Cassie with two teeth and stylin' wispy bangs. 

Much love, catch y’all in San Francisco.

Always,
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

Lipstick On A Barber? Lipstick_Barber Does It Right.

To preface this interview, I wanted to say how happy I am to feature @Lipstick_Barber on Her Chair His Hair. She, like the other lady barbers we've featured on here, is the epitome of the standards that should be set amongst our community. A mother, Lady Barber and soon to be business owner of her first barbershop, Elishia was a thrill to chat with. 

Currently located near Los Angeles, California, Elishia works at 909 Clippers Barbershop where she does mens' hair but is also a fabulous woman's hairstylist during her so-called 'down time'. Her personality is bright, just like her lipstick, and effervescent so it is my hope that I'm able to show you all it just through this short interview.

HCHH: What inspired you to do hair?

Lipstick_Barber: I have a Cosmetologist license but I focus on Barbering. I started 10 years ago when I attended Cosmetology School but during that time I worked at Barbershop to get hands on experience in a professional setting. I did high-end women’s hair and color for a while but my best friend opened a shop and offered me a job.  I started helping him, he mentored me and I built a large clientele. It's fun, I enjoy the challenge of men’s cuts versus women’s cuts that I already know how to do.

HCHH: Approximately, how many clients do you currently see in a typical day? Are you booked in advance?

Lipstick_Barber: I'm booked in advance most of the time. It's very rare for me to take walk-in’s, I just have my own clientele.  Usually I take anywhere from 12-15 haircuts per day but a complete service package is about 45 minutes to an hour per client. If I finish early then I will take new clients to keep building my book. 

HCHH: What kind of reaction, if any, do you receive from people when they find out what you do for a living?

Lipstick_Barber: It's usually one of disbelief – 'Oh you’re a barber?' It’s not really common, even in the Barber world it has become more familiar but only recently. A lot [of female barbers] didn’t come out and say they were barbers. One in the area just opened an Instagram account and put her name out there but she’s been a barber forever and nobody really knew.

HCHH:  Has a client ever refused you? If so, based on what? 

Lipstick_Barber: Yeah, when I first started out but then they saw my work and became comfortable with me. That’s not a problem anymore, I guess the longer you stay at a place you build a reputation. I understand where they’re coming from, though, there is a bad reputation for girls cutting men’s hair sometimes. But I’d rather say ‘Here’s my work, let me show you and I’ll prove you wrong.’ I think it definitely builds character. 

HCHH:  I think you fixed that problem quickly. So when you're busy being superhuman, what's your favorite snack? 

Lipstick_Barber: It sounds so plain but I love Almonds. Honestly, I usually don’t even eat a snack. As long as I have water I’m good - I usually have a big jug of water [laughs]. Now with so much going on I definitely give myself an hour to eat. 

HCHH:  And what's your biggest pet peeve? I ask everyone because we all have at least one!

Lipstick_Barber: If I do take a new client, they sometimes will question me. How long have you been cutting hair? Do you know how to cut guys hair? Do you know how to do a fade/taper/etc? I’ll say 'This is my first day cutting, this is my first haircut.' I would scare them on purpose saying 'Oh I don’t know what I’m doing, let me know how it comes out.' Acting like I don’t know what I’m doing, turn them around at the end and then they’re amazed after they see it. It’s so fun because they’re afraid the whole time.

Also checking their hair the whole time. Let me finish the cut and then tell me if I missed something.

HCHH:  It's like a Kanye moment 'Imma let you finish..' Anyway, I'd love to hear about big projects you have coming up.

Lipstick_Barber: I'm currently in the process of opening my own shop. I'm hopeful it will be open by the end of the year. The whole idea is to make a nice concoction of women and mens' haircuts in the same location. 

HCHH:  And what's your favorite tool to use?

Lipstick_Barber: Shear work is my favorite. Clipper cuts are fun but I am more detailed with my shears. It works to my advantage because I like working with a lot of volume and hair. Although I think a healthy mix of the two definitely helps me create a great cut. 

HCHH:   I always love to ask because it is so telling, do you have any goals, hopes, or dreams that pertain to your career as a barber that you’d like to share? {cke_protected_1}

Lipstick_Barber: Right now the new shop is my baby and primary task but my next goal would be to create a franchise business with the shop. Eventually, I'd like to franchise in major cities (next would be downtown LA) but for now get this shop up and running before thinking about the next. 

Is your head spinning yet? Mine was after chatting with this phenomenal business woman. I can't just say 'Lady Barber' which is a huge title within itself because Elishia is a go-getter in every way possible.  If you'd like to book Lipstick_Barber, leave a comment below or find her on Instagram @Lipstick_Barber. Check back in Mondays and Thursdays 11 AM EST for tips and tricks and every other Thursday for a new Lady Barber! We've got a HUGE Lady Barber in our sights for the next round so stay tuned. Thanks again for your support!

Yours,
Cassie

Sasha: She's Sensationally Talented

Last week I had the pleasure of introducing Chase Monroe, a fierce lady barber hailing from California. Today, I am so thrilled to publish my interview with Sasha (@inotsasha), an amazing Lady Barber from Jacksonville, FL. Unlike most barbers who start at a younger age, Sasha decided to pursue her career only four years ago at 27 while working in a totally different career at a domestic violence shelter. Despite her late start, she is already a shining star at Perfections Barbershop with a wonderful story to tell.

Sasha INOTSASHA Lady Barber HerChairHisHair

HCHH: What inspired you to become a Barber?

Sasha: Admiration…when I was younger it was during the high top craze: late 80’s early 90’s. I started drawing the hair cuts and all of the designs that I could remember. I admire cosmetology but I love barbering and seeing men that are well groomed.

HCHH: So how many men do you groom daily at the shop?

Sasha: It really depends on each day. It could be anywhere from five cuts to 20! Most of my regulars know I have a split schedule so usually Fridays I'm working until 9:00 PM or so. Luckily, my other job at the shelter is really understanding and gives me the opportunity to have a flexible schedule.

HCHH: When people find out you're a barber and not a stylist how do they react? 

Sasha:  I mostly get a lot of what I call the ‘yeah right’ face because I’m a woman. I like challenges, I always have especially when somebody tells me what I can’t do and I’ll do everything in my power to prove [them] wrong. I broke up with two different guys over being a barber – second one because he didn’t like seeing me being 'around those guys.' 

 

HCHH: I can't believe you had to end two relationships because they couldn't wrap their head around you being a Barber. Well if your exes couldn't handle it, could your clients?

Sasha: I had a client who seemed hesitant and I told him if I mess up and [he's] unhappy, it’s on me. My co-workers backed me up saying he was in good hands and I didn’t let him see the cut until I was done. [laughs] When he finally saw it, he smiled so I was happy. Oh! Once I heard a client comment like ‘Oh there’s a girl cutting hair here.’ And the barber across from me said ‘Yeah she cuts nice.’ His client who never seems happy said ‘No girl is ever cutting my hair.’ I’m in the South so there’s still a chauvinistic feel along the lines of 'women belong in the kitchen.'

Inotsasha Sasha Lady Barber Herchairhishair

HCHH: It seems like to me the guys have your back, do you think so? 

Sasha: I work with a cool group of guys but I had to earn their respect. They saw me do something simple and weren’t impressed of course, but I’m glad I earned it after all of the hard work. It solidifies my spot in the shop and now they will recommend me if they're busy. I’m thankful for that.

HCHH: Biggest pet peeve....name it!

Sasha: Biggest pet peeve, gosh… My biggest one in the shop is slouching when it’s your time to get your haircut. I can’t stand it. Thankfully I only have two clients [I know personally] who do it so I feel comfortable letting them know. Also the movers and shakers – they don’t sit still during the haircut and I'm trying not to cut their ear. I tell them I’ll shave their eyebrows off! [laughs]

HCHH: I think we should make a PSA letting people know to sit still or they may not have an eyebrow. So clearly...you like clippers to buzz off brows...is that your favorite tool?

Sasha: I do like my pair of Wahl clippers, they’re a bit nostalgic I think. They were the first pair of clippers from Walgreens I had when I used to only cut my nephew's hair. But my favorite tool is the straight razor – I do a lot of shaves and I love doing head shave. The blades are usually Derby.. I’m a derby girl for sure.

inotsasha Sasha Lady Barber Herchairhishair

HCHH: You know I have to ask...favorite snack! 

Sasha: I was waiting for this one. Definitely Smart Food White Cheddar Popcorn and a bottle of Perrier and I’m a happy camper. I come in the door in the morning with it two bags and bottles just in case it gets busy. Brea made me want cookies and Chase made me want red bull haha. 

HCHH: Now  I want cookies and popcorn...I'm blaming you ladies for my newfound diet! But while I eat some popcorn, tell me about any goals or dreams you may have in your Lady Barber career.

Sasha: As far as goals go, I would love by the end of the year to double my social media following as well as clientele. Like I said I love a challenge and most clients find me through social media. That’s the era we live in now, in my opinion. Speaking long term I’d like my own shop, I definitely want my own place where gentlemen can come and relax relieve their stress. Whether it's talk & discuss things like sports, news or just recover from their week. I don’t know where I’d want to open it we’ll see.

HCHH: Very nice, let me know when you start planning, I'd love to see what you have in mind for the shop. Anything else you'd like to add?

Sasha INotsasha HerChairhishair Lady Barber

Sasha: I would like to say a big, big, big thank you to my sister Tonya and nephew Nate who have been my biggest supporters. If I said I wanted to sell shoe laces they would say 'ok what kind of laces?'. She let me hack away at her kid’s hair for years. They are definitely Team Sasha, they encourage and push me to move forward. They’re the two people who have my back even when I doubt myself and my work and I feel that a public 'thank you' is deserved. 

I will back up Sasha and say thank you to Tonya and Nate as well, you have clearly helped her cultivate her career and I think it's awesome! To schedule an appointment with Sasha, comment below or find her on Instagram at @INOTSASHA. Have a lady barber you think we should interview? Let us know! And check back every other Thursday at 11:00 AM EST for your favorite lady barbers!

Until next time,

Cassie