#ThrowBackThursday HerChairHisHair Presents: Lady Barber Showcase

Hey everyone, I know it's been a while but I also know as barbers, stylists and other industry professionals you definitely understand how work can get the better of you. I have to admit, I have missed writing SO much and was upset that there was very little time for me to get back on here. In good news, our community has continued to grow by the thousands and it is so exciting to see all of you kicking ass while taking (client's) names.

We've just come off an awesome high of having a full stage set up at Connecticut Barber Expo in Hartford, CT thanks to Jay Majors!

I thought it would be nice to finally post some awesome photos and video from our first, personally hosted event in October, Her Chair His Hair Presents: Lady Barber Showcase and Breast Cancer Fundraiser. We raised collectively $1,250 which was donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. and will help so many women across the country with early detection, Breast Cancer education and research, patient ongoing therapy and so much more. *cue cheers*

Thank You...
There are so many people that had a hand in helping make this event a success and I hope you'll take the time to read through the list.

Special thanks to our biggest sponsor, Mr Beauty Equipment from Long Island, New York. They donated the amazing red barber chairs and pink stylist chair you see on the stage and the side tables that allowed the women to properly store their tools. Also, a special thank you to Always Pro Barbers  from Brooklyn, NY for donating so many items to give away including clippers, spray bottles, books and more. Jakpot, creator of the pink Breast Cancer King Midas Capes that graced the stage and were also given away. Charly of the Hustle Barbershop in Queens, NY gave away some seriously cozy shirts that were a huge success as well. 

All night we were vibing to music by the amazing and incomparable DJ Jena Red. We were also graced with some serious talent when Emily Simone came out to play her electric violin. Without these ladies the party just wouldn't be the same. I truly believe great music and entertainment are key to an event.

My parents were also an amazing help, Donna and Jeff, for the delicious cupcakes attendees snacked on and my dad's musical genius with mobile sound. Thanks to him, Jena, Emily and myself all sounded on point when needed.

All of these amazing photos are by Kelsey Campbell who donated her services and time to come capture this night. Video by David "FitBarber" Falla, who also took the time to make sure the event was covered completely. 

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to the ladies and gents who came out to showcase and model for us! Mariela, Lisa, April, Guin Gui, Lady Jae, Corina, Carmen: all of you ladies participated in something that has never been done before. You are the first to headline, showcase and cut in an all female, barber focused, event. Here is to so many more accomplishments in your career as you continue to pave the way for other women in this industry. You are all so talented and creative and I only wish the best success for each of you.

How to Travel to NYC for $500 or Less! (For Her Chair His Hair Presents: Lady Barber Showcase)

In our industry it seems that we always come last. Haircuts, doctor appointments, happy hour and even a short vacation. Our clients seem to always need us when we're about to walk away and after restocking on products, sharpening shears, or covering booth rent, there seems to be very little money left to splurge. 

So how the hell are you supposed to make it to New York City for a weekend of networking, education and, ultimately, a great time at Her Chair His Hair Presents: Lady Barber Showcase?

I'm glad you asked.
 

Naturally, this varies based on where you are located and how far in advance you plan but luckily in the United States flight prices can dip unless they are in high demand. Statistically, after back to school and before Thanksgiving, many people aren't looking to travel and prices become much more affordable. 

I love to travel and I love to make last minuted decisions about where I'm going which usually results in having to squeeze here and budget there when it comes to my trips. So I thought I would share a few things to help make it financially possible to get out of your house and on the next flight to New York. (Truthfully, I just REALLY want to see your face at my event so I can hug you for all of your online support thus far!)

Travel Options

A lot of people think the only way to get somewhere else is by plane. Granted, we are working on shorter weekends than most, so typically it is best. But if you're coming from the East Coast, perhaps consider the bus?

Kiplinger.com points out 'For example, an advance-purchase Greyhound bus ticket for travel in October from Raleigh, N.C., to New York cost $45 versus $52.95 to fill up a 15-gallon tank at the average East Coast gas price of $3.53 a gallon (and you'll need to fill up more than once for a drive of that distance). A one-way Amtrak train ticket for the same route would cost $90.'

If taking a bus, or driving, is not possible and flights are the way to go, consider which airport you fly into. I've found that I can save $50-$100 flying in or out of JFK versus LGA and Newark. Which brings me to my next point.

Cross Check Flight Prices

Most people directly go to the website of their airline of choice and call it a day. I've found there are a few ways to find the ultimate flight within your budget. 

  1. Google! If you simply put in origin and destination Google will show you all different versions of flights that range in time, layovers, and price.
  2. Google comes to the rescue again. Similarly, if you find that plain old Google isn't doing it for you there is the Flight Matrix. It sounds way more complicated than it really is but if you do a little leg work you will find that you can save sometimes up to $100 on a flight with this bad boy.
  3. Points! Have a credit card that you forgot has amazing deals for spending money on it? Chase Sapphire Visa, Amex for Jetblue and Delta, and Chase Freedom are just a few cards I use to take my money already spent and turn it into a flight somewhere more exciting. I recently even booked a flight to Long Beach, California for Modown Barber Exhibit for the price of taxes ($11.20). That's it!
  4. Buddy passes. Know someone that works for an airline? More than likely they have one or two of these up their sleeve and maybe in exchange for some haircuts and beers they will be willing to help you out. Typically these are for one way so you will have to purchase another one way back but have no fear! Most airlines like American Airlines, Jetblue and Southwest love doing deals on Mondays or Tuesdays for one way flights. 

Airbnb to the Rescue!

Hotels and other traditional versions of stay in New York can run you $250 at least per night unless you're far out near the airport or in New Jersey. Why not stay down the block from the Lady Barber Showcase hosted at 28 on 27 Shoot Studio and Event Space located at 28 West 27th Street, New York, New York and in the middle of everything Manhattan has to offer?

  1. On average, to rent an entire apartment on Airbnb.com in New York will save you 21.2% and run you $180 per night. (http://priceonomics.com/hotels)
  2. If you decide to rent a room in an apartment sublet style, you will end up saving 49.5%. ALMOST HALF!
  3. If you really want to maximize your savings, you can split said Airbnb apartment with fellow barbers or friends who have always wanted to come to New York City (and see ladies kick ass while showcasing). 
  4. Want to save an extra $20? Use my referral link. No seriously, it doesn't expire and you can have it. I'm not sure if I truly even get anything for it but that's okay, I just want to see you on the 25th! 

If Airbnb still exceeds your budget, consider hostels which are a way more affordable option to hotels and require sharing some space but are typically very safe. If you're a member of Couchsurfing.com then you are all set with lodging!

Purchase Ahead of Time

This seems really obvious but a lot of people don't consider the money spent on dining out, seeing the sights and other incidentals while you're in New York. Websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, TravelZoo, and others are all about saving you money and promoting local businesses. 


Overall, if you search head to toe for the right flight and book through Airbnb, for two to three days in New York City, you can actually do the entire trip for $500. It of course helps to travel with someone else to split the expenses. But it's doable! And I hope that this will help when planning your trip to the Her Chair His Hair Presents: Lady Barber Showcase on Sunday, October 25th at 6:30 pm. (Shameless plug!)

Until Next Time,

Cassie

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

 

The Woman Behind Your Man's Hands: Mr. Nail Lounge

Wow is this write-up well overdue! When I traveled to Los Angeles for the Xotics Battle this past January, I knew there was one stop in Hollywood I absolutely had to make. Mr. Nail Lounge is prominently located at 9005 Melrose Avenue but the details don't stop with the zip code. 

Naturally I had to sit down with the leading lady, Maston, who is behind every good looking pair of hands in and near Tinseltown. She welcomed me with open arms all the way from Manhattan to check out what West Hollywood has to offer.  It's no secret that I believe in elevating our industry and how people perceive barbers but this takes it to another level! Check out some details on this amazing lounge for men from haircuts to pedicures and let me know what you think of this trend picking up!

When you think of a business owner behind a men's nail salon, you assume they must have been immersed in the industry from a young age. This is not the case with Maston nor her mother, Nana, who is her business partner and it was a complete surprise to me. Okay, I know you want to know, she was in Dental school. Yeah, I was shocked too. 

Better yet, the idea came to Maston as she was considering what she wanted to do after school and realized this niche industry was extremely underserved in Hollywood. 'Too many guys have to go to regular nail salons and deal with the chemicals, chatter and awkward looks', Maston told me. She wanted to create an environment that allowed men to indulge while relaxing whether that means watching the flat screen, having a cocktail or a shave.

Upon walking in to Mr. Nail Lounge, your world is completely transformed from the rainy L.A. day to deep, black walls, ornate gold fixtures and large leather chairs. Even the small things were thought about too: menus for both your drinks and your services were individually done, bronze tubs for your feet to be pampered in, and of course, a barber station.

When I visited it wasn't even open for a full year and business was already booming. Upon asking her what she envisions for the future of men's nails and her business, Maston confidently replied that they plan on opening one in Orange County, California and, hopefully, New York City too. I know plenty of guys who would love this (and some who need it), do you? 

Check out the gallery below, your mind will be blown if it hasn't already. 

Until Next Time,

Cass

When Giving Is Golden: Social Responsibility as Barbers

Recently I have seen a lot of discussions on social media about giving back as a Barber or Hair Stylist and I felt it was time to finally have an open dialogue regarding when we should or should not participate. For the five years I have been working as a freelance artist, I have participated in somewhere around 4-5 unpaid or low paying events/jobs that I felt would make a difference. But this isn't about my career, it's about yours and when you should say 'yes' or 'no'. 

Mark Bustos Free Haircuts NYC Homeless Her Chair His Hair

If you have Instagram or Google notifications then you have certainly heard about the recent trend of barbers like Mark Bustos giving back to the homeless or that The Vatican is now offering shaves in addition to haircuts and showers.  If you aren't in the hair realm then perhaps you have heard of other not-for-profit programs that offer makeovers for women in shelters or with cancer and MS.

But what about the people that are just looking for hand-outs? Who don't want to pay and don't even have the proper registration? You will walk away annoyed and feeling like it was a waste of your time. I want to prevent this because we, as artists, do have  social responsibility to give back in ways that other groups cannot. 

Here are four tips for making sure that this job is legitimate, first, and worth your time, second.

1.) REASONS

Why are you doing this? Is it for the 'likes' on Instagram? Or maybe praise from the people organizing the event? Look, I don't think I've ever gone a day without thanking someone for the smallest thing but when it comes to these events you may not be thanked. There is so much more at play than just the makeup like catering running behind or the venue not allowing the amount of people they said they would. Address why you want to do this: money, likes, or because it's something that genuinely makes you happy, and you won't have any problems feeling unfulfilled. 

2.) PAYMENT

Are they paying? If yes, how will they pay you? Cash day of, check in two billing cycles, etc. Most of the time non-profit groups don't have a lot of funding to pay for an event but they either budget it or make sure that you're paid quickly for your time on a low rate. If they're not paying you, then just like when you donate clothing to some places, they will give you a voucher for your taxes at the end of the year and you simply claim how much you would normally charge and/or how much product you used. If not? I'd be careful which leads me to my next point.

3.) REGISTRATION

Are they registered as a Non-Profit or 501(c)3? Some companies try to tell artists that their event is non-profit which is a sneaky way of saying,"We've already paid too many people, sorry." If someone approaches you and you have a weird feeling in your gut, LISTEN TO IT! Don't be afraid to ask the right questions like Crystal Wright always says. Unsure of what the right questions are? Ask Crystal. ;)

4.) REACH OUT

If this event is larger than 25-50 people then they definitely have at least 1-2 additional artists. See if they have worked with them before and how their experience was. Most of the non-profits I have worked for have invited me back each year and I've only said no to one. That was after I didn't listen to my gut and ask the right questions AKA I shot myself in the foot. 

There you have it ladies and gents. With these tips you should be on a solid start for you all journeying into the world of charitable services. As Mark Bustos says,"Remember to be awesome to somebody."

Until Next Time!
Cassie