Catching Up With @LadyJaeKutz

It has been almost 3 years since I've interviewed @LadyJaeKutz .... THREE YEARS! Can you believe how time flies? I stopped by Street Fame Barbershop to catch up with Lady Jae and see what she's been up to. 

Video by Daniel Recinos, The Recinos Company

Where Is She Now?

No stranger to adventure and going after life, Lady Jae has experienced quite a bit of fun. Spanning her decade and a half long career as a barber, she has managed to solidify a chair at the front of Street Fame Barbershop in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Now an Ambassador for Her Chair His Hair, making a third year appearance at our Annual Lady Barber Showcase & Fundraiser, she is also working on Jack Thriller's Party and Bullshit Show and with beauty maven Monifah. 

Lady Jae is also working on her own brand that will feature products to help clients and barbers alike style braids, edges, and even women's hair. It's also meant to act as protection against the sun, eczema and other scalp issues. She's hoping to release information for pre-orders in the next few months. 

LadyJaeKutz

Fun Facts

Self taught, Lady Jae learned how to cut thanks to the barbers that messed up her brothers' hair on the military base where they lived. Dubbing it 'fish hooks', she used to take the money her father would give for haircuts and spend it on fun treats for her brothers instead. Until he found out and thought it was great because she could do it for free!

 

Children In Her Chair:

A huge supporter of children, Lady Jae works often with fundraisers and charities that are for kids. She is also well known for having Autistic children in her chair sit perfectly well because she has taught them to trust her. 

 

Want to learn more or book an appointment? Lady Jae can be contacted at 201-936-7398 for work and booking purposes only.

@LadyJaeKutz and Cassie, Founder of www.HerChairHisHair.com, photo taken in West Village, October 2014

@LadyJaeKutz and Cassie, Founder of www.HerChairHisHair.com, photo taken in West Village, October 2014

@LadyJaeKutz and Cassie, Founder of www.HerChairHisHair.com,  photo taken in NYC, May 2017

@LadyJaeKutz and Cassie, Founder of www.HerChairHisHair.com,

photo taken in NYC, May 2017

#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.

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

 

Lena Piccininni cuts HerChairHisHair at The Line Up Inc Event

Recently a group of talented and motivated barbers came together to form The Line Up Inc here in New York. It consists of 7 barbershops who put on showcases and bring our industry together while showcasing some of the finest talent it has to offer.

While at one of their events hosted at Filthy Rich Barbershop in Queens, NY I had the pleasure to be cut by Lena Piccininni. She was asked to cut on the fly and, therefore, needed a model last minute so of course I said yes to being cut by one of my fellow ladies! Lena did not use any of her own tools so I thought that was pretty awesome, she just went for it. 

TheFit_Barber, David Falla, and I figured not only would this be a fun video but a great opportunity to show us having fun while Lena kicks ass. A big thank you to David for putting this awesome video together and not looking at me like I was crazy when I first asked at the event. 

Enjoy.

Full disclosure: I came from working in the shop all day and had a decent amount of product in my hair so please excuse it. :-X

www.HerChairHisHair.com

Produced by FITBARBER @thefit_barber

Music: Maroon 5 - Sugar (remix)

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