Don't Call Me Lady

Originally published in Barber Evo, USA Edition #1

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Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in a barbershop: the clippers buzzing, the conversations and music in the background, the sound of water rushing as the last remnants of hair are washed away. Who do you see? How do you imagine a Barber?

This was the first question I posed when I created the website for Her Chair His Hair, and one that I still ask almost 5 years later to this day. The barber that comes to mind will vary based on a plethora of descriptors: old or young, new or advanced, Latino or Russian. However, that Barber you imagined is likely a man and that doesn’t make you wrong, but it does show how far we have to go as an industry.

Every day since I graduated school, I have had the same, eye opening conversation. “Hi, my name is Cassie and I’m a Barber.” Most people, men and women alike, will blink confusedly and ask a simple question, “Oh, you’re a stylist/lady Barber/Barber-ess?” It used to bother me so much until I realized that it is not their fault because we all have been conditioned to think of a barbershop as a place for men. Women have salons and men have barbershops, right? As we lovingly say in Brooklyn…“nah.”

In 1924 the first “women barbers” were admitted into the Barber Union and in 1985 women constituted for 50% of Barber school enrollments.

Women have played an integral role in the barbering industry longer than most people are aware. In 1924 the first “women barbers” were admitted into the Barber Union and in 1985 women constituted for 50% of Barber school enrollments. These statistics are only applicable to the United States in the 20th century and yet, without proof, most people will brush them off and say that it is a new “trend” or “fad” for women to become barbers. So why is there so much pushback? In my years of doing research, networking and developing relationships with women in the industry, the consensus is typically the same: nobody believes us when we tell them what we do for a living.

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Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow barber, platform educator and brand manager at the International Beauty Show in New York. We spoke about a recent event she participated in as a featured judge and how it lead her to realize something very strange about the structure of the battles that were hosted. Full disclaimer: I think, to a degree, “female” categories at Barber events are great because they’re a way to dip slowly into the water. With that being said, the active separation of men and women at these events are a complete disservice to all professionals. This woman told me that the “female” category was not only priced less, at the same price as the student category, but that the cash prize plus physical trophy dwarfed in comparison to the other categories.

Some will read that last paragraph and yell out, “But Cassie, at least there is a female category to represent women in the industry.” I ask you to hear me out. Why at least? From my perspective, it’s indirectly sending a message that women are not on the same playing field as men when it comes to competitions and we all know that’s simply untrue. Well, some of us do at least. This is not an attack on those who have good intentions and are attempting to include or attract women to their events. Historically, most Barber events are geared toward men and any good marketing course will tell you that diversity is key, especially when there is an 18 trillion dollar “female” economy to tap into.

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So where do we go from here? We move forward in unison as an industry while respecting that we all have strengths and weaknesses in our personal path to success. All events, for both stylists and barbers, can actively create an inclusive environment so that any professional looking to enhance their skill set feels welcomed. Most importantly, in my opinion, when someone tells you who they are or what they do, you can believe them and skip the 21 questions about how their gender magically affects their title or license. 

Oh, and you can stop calling me “lady.”

Cassondra Kurtz

Founder of www.HerChairHisHair.com 

Master Barber, State of New York

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

Finally! The Video You've Been Waiting For...

On November 30, 2014 five women from across the country came to join in on an amazing photo shoot. I've anxiously been waiting to release the women's photos and haircuts but this photo definitely helps in the meantime! 

Featured in the video are mini interviews of Roqkandy, Corina_LadyBarber, Lici_LadyBarber, QueenCutsNRoses, and of course StylistFairy!  Some of these ladies will be at the She's My Barber Battle on January 18th in Oakland, California so don't forget to check them out ahead of time!

The video was filmed and edited by none other than Will Rodriguez at Above The Norm Films who I think has done an amazing job. A big thank you to my amazing sponsor, Always Pro Barbers, photographer Alana Tyler Slutsky, social media expert Tiffany Greenstreet, videographers Will Rodriguez and Erin Yamagata, kick ass assistant Samantha Thomas and Skyla Veltman, booker extraordinaire at Wilhelmina Models Men's Division. 

Enjoy!

Always,
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[...].