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

 

HerChairHisHair & El Patron Men's Grooming Takeover Premiere Orlando!

It's official, y'all! Some of the best barbers from across the country are all going to be at one booth during Premiere Orlando.

Her Chair His Hair will be joining the team at El Patron to bring a full line up of non-stop cutting both days at the show. The floor will be open both Sunday, May 31st and Monday, June 1st, which to my excitement is the one year anniversary of HerChairHisHair.com! 

We are blessed to be featuring AbbieChuelas, QueenCutsNRoses, AkaeAllDay, Mariela_The_Barber, INotSasha, and Shardae_Abbadie who will be giving some great education while cutting. 

So come by to get a cut, ask the ladies some questions and grab some cupcakes to celebrate on Monday. 

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

Additions: Make More Money Part 2!

On Saturday I posted an image to Instagram asking what Barbers do to enhance their clients' experiences at the shop. I've received a huge response via Instagram and e-mails so it prompted the idea of sharing some of them on here. 

The scene of the crime.

The scene of the crime.

So who does what? Let's see who responded below!

I put perfume on my wrists [...] instead of spraying alcohol all over their face I spray it on a napkin.
— @Sea_TheBarber
@Sea_thebarber's work on Instagram

@Sea_thebarber's work on Instagram

I wipe them off with a warm towel after I dust them and rub the alcohol on with my hands. [...] Oh, and my regulars get a hug goodbye
— @inotsasha
Look at that smile! You know @inotsasha is doing something right! 

Look at that smile! You know @inotsasha is doing something right! 

Oh and I think both ladies have a new client...

I want a haircut from all three of you!!! @herchairhishair @sea_thebarber @inotsasha I want a scalp massage, perfume on the wrists, alcohol on a napkin, a warm towel and a hug!
— @chauncey_thebarber

What do you do to make your clients experience that much better? Sound off below or join the conversation on Instagram @HerChairHisHair or by tagging us #HerChairHisHair. See you there!
 

San Francisco Barbers: Esquire Network Sip & Shave

One of the things I have set up is Google Alerts. While it helps me keep on top of new products coming out it also helps me find out about awesome events like Esquire Network's Sip and Shave.

It will be held at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, taking place from August 8-10, 2014. The 'Sip & Shave' will offer festival attendees complimentary shave sessions, specialty cocktails and exclusive access to meet Esquire Network's Jay Larson and Sean Patton from BEST BARS IN AMERICA, and chefs Naomi Pomeroy and Kris Morningstar from KNIFE FIGHT.

"Embodying the genres Esquire Network's programming celebrates, Outside Lands is the perfect balance of music, cocktails and cuisine," said Deena Stern, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Digital for Esquire Network. "Our audience enjoys spending time and sharing experiences with friends. This intimate activation provides the perfect opportunity to sample the Esquire Network brand while connecting with our young, curious and sophisticated audience."

My goal is to always make more connections as a Barber because that's when you set yourself up for future success. I wish I could be there for this event and I urge each of you to go and network (bring business cards, comp cards, anything to promote your work).  Like I mentioned in my previous post How To Make More Money, one of the biggest things you can do is improve your social skills as a Barber. Yes, these people will be shaved by other Barbers but why not approach them and ask what they liked about it? Or if they're looking for a new Barber? Can't hurt to ask a question. Or better yet, ask these Barbers how they were contacted to work this event for Esquire Network, that can't hurt either!

Have fun for me and check back Thursday 11 AM EST. See you then!

Warmest wishes,

Cassie