The taper, the fade, the edges, how he is gonna look when he comes back...look at it all. It is your name and reputation going out of that door.Read More
So recently I have been listening to "Movember Radio" podcast put on by Movember. If you have paying attention to Movember over the last few years you will know that they also focus on men's mental health.
After listening to a few episodes and working a bunch of days in a rowI posted the following on Instagram (@FrankieTheMick) "You will work you whole life but if you do not stop to think about what you are working for and why you may miss out."
if you are in the hair industry it is a lot of long hours,days and weeks. I personally run 6 days a week and I know that the day I change shops or just finally open my own shop it will mean a lot of long days until I get where I want to be.
The issue is how do we keep our head on straight when we are working our asses off, missing time with our families and just not taking care of ourselves very well? How do you handle dissapointment when your hard work does not pay off? These are issues that effect a lot of people I personally know in the hair industry.
When you work long hours and you do not see an real increase In your personal income or your "success" is not where you want to be how do you begin find the balance in life? How do you keep from wanting to give up on working as a barber or stylist?
The truth is in the end keeping your head on straight, your family together and yourself healthy is about balance and not being afraid to have these conversations. Mental health and hard work go hand in hand.
Work as hard taking care of yourself and you do in your trade. I hope you look out for each other in your shops and salons.
i am not a doctor but this is just observations I have made recently....Its an importan conversation.
This has been a conversatio. have been seeing though out the Internet recently and even within the shop I work at so as we roll into July and this being the time of year that Ivan Zoot (@clipperguy) suggests you raise your prices I thought I would have the conversation. I want your opinion and feedback on this issue because it is o e we can all learn something from.
Sp let's start with string prices if you control your prices in a barbershop there are many thing you have to take into account....overhead, demographics and years of experience.
Tour prices are going to differ based on whether you rent a chair or you are running your own shop. Obviously if you are renting a chair your overhead is a lot less then trying to figure how much to charge verse if you owned a shop but this is where you look at your demographic and your experience.
If you work in a shop in watts,Los Angeles you may not be able to get away with charging $25-&30 bucks for a haircut like you would if you were working on say Fairfax & 3rd in Los Angeles. In Fresno where I live I have been cutting hair long enough where I could get away with charging $25 but not in every part of Fresno would it make sense to charge this.
How many services does your shop offer? We have either been to or we have worked a shops/salons where customers get nickle and dined to death for everything. My work charges one price for a men's haircut, different price for kids, price for grey blending and we just raised the price on our hot towel shaves by $10 and by appointment only. We also charge the same price for a razor fade as we charge for a hot towel shave. All this crap gets confusing.
Brian Hurson from the Nite Owl Barbershop in Toronto has the right idea...Two price rates $30 or $15 dollars which is the apprenticeship rate. There is no confusion to what you are paying. Also if you miss your appointment you as a patron are responsible to pay for the aping eat you missed on your next visit.
Asking clings to pay for missed appointments goes to the conversation of what is your time worth? If you book all your appointments on a time frame (every 30 minutes) that is your time and income. So if you work on a scheduled appointments this is something to take into consideration.
Let us take a look at raising our prices. Rent goes up, price of supplies goes up and my favorite taxes go up. Sometimes you have to raise your prices to compete and survive but how do you tell you customers?
Do not be a dick and surprise them with this price increase that is a quick way to loose business! Make sure your signs in the shop are clearly marked with your new prices. You do not want then to come in and see one price but you tell them "Oh it is actually a different amount". They will not appreciate this. Also give them some notice. Shoot your customers an e-mail or a printed letter at least a month in advance and be clear what is going up. They will understand.
One last point....Take credit cards! Gone are the days when being a barber was a cash only business. Square is awesome because it does a great job keeping track of things for you.
These are are just a few things to take into account....If am wrong just let me know. This is a conversation that effects all hair industry professionals!
How much to raise your price....here is what Ivan Zoot Has To Say
One of the things that seperates barbers from stylist is our ability to provide a service that is as old as the trade itself...the hot towel shave shave. For a good, solid shave there is a whole process but your service is also as good as the tools you use.
My first razor out of barber college was the Monsieur Charles which used the Persona blades and I was using this until it pretty much fell apart. So when it was time for a new "razor" I purchased a new "razor" and blades from a company called MD Barber Supply.
So while I was in Orlando I had some down time and started talking to a guy running a barber supply company and so I decided to buy a razor from him from a brand called Shaving Factory.. It is a heavy duty razor handle with the butterfly head for blades. I have been using the Derby blades
The Shaving Factory Metal straight razor is heavy duty and after several uses is fairly well balanced so it is comfortable to work with. The blades are held in place very securely and I appreciate the amount of exposed blade. The other thing I really like is that the "blade" is manufactured at an angle which This razor is averaging between $10-$15, so it is super reasonable. It can be found on Amazon.
The second razor I am going to take a look at is the FEATHER Artist Club SS Folding Razor. Truth is this is the razor I ha e been wanting to get my hands on since I met John Mosley and saw what he was using.
The head of the Artist is made of stainless steel and it seems to move across the skin and the blade exposure is awesome. The Artist uses blades that are specific to the Jatai brand. There are three styles you can get an all purpose blade, a blade that has super fine guards that is perfect for just starting out with this razor style and last a blade more sensitive skin.
The FEATHER Artist has definitely a higher price point and you have to order blades directly from Jata (www.jatai.net)I and there is a bit of a learning curve but it is worth it.
In the end you have to use tools that work the best for you.
So getting back into the groove of daily life took a little longer then normal with this trip. Now it has been just over a week so I wanted to share a little about Premier Orlando.
After a long day of travel the wife and I got to Orlando pretty late Friday evening. We grab some dinner and a couple beers and called it a night because we had to be at the convention center pretty early Saturday.
I have been to trades shows in the past but this is the first time I have had the chance to go as not just a professional but as a barber involved with education.
We got the the convention center where we caught up Brian Hurson, Pope TheBarber, Misti Blu and the rest of the Peter Coppola Beauty family.. Some of us were a bit out of place since as barbers there is no real "model prep".
On Saturday the showroom floor was still being set and not open to the public so it was a day open for education which included the two classes from Peter Coppola Beauty.. These classes were the "DTT-Diversity Through Texture"and the "Groomsmen Collective".
"DTT" had four models and three stylist where they shared styling multiple styles with different hair textures. The "DTT" classes ran the whole weekend and was lead by Coppola Artistic Director Steve Lightfoot.
For The Groomsmen Collective the three of us had a haircut models all weekend and we each showed how we approached these haircuts. When you think about how barbers approach a haircut and you get to watch three different barbers from differen backgrounds and you realize everyone's skill set is different.
For our barber classes we did one on Saturday, two on Sunday and one on Monday. On top of al, this Brian and Pope also had platform work at the Coppola ramp during Sunday and Monday.
The best thing about Minday was watching my wife on platform for Coppola.
On the floor there were quite a few men's products brands represented like Suavecito, GIBS, American Crew and several other who I had never seen before.
I have been to trade shows before and here I saw boot he's going up and as quickly as Premiere went up it seemed to come down even faster. The doors closed at 5 pm on Monday and before you knew it carpet was coming up, booths coming down and fork lift freaking everywhere!
It was a cool weekend that I am grateful to of had. I always enjoy my time with the Coppola Crew. I also met some just solid people from Florida and my buddy Sebastian introduced me to some of the guys from Hanzo. I also survived my first tropical storm
I was planning on a big editorial about the weekend, education and whatever else I could think of but in the end any time you get to work with a lot of super talented professional you can not go wrong!
Until Next Time
So as I get close to heading to Orlando for Premier with Peter Coppola and seeing a bunch of stuff about "educators" on the interweb I got to thinking about what is education and what it means to be an educator.
Before I get rolling out and say something that will be taken the wrong way, I am a working barber first and foremost. I do not consider myself an educator just a barber who may or may not have something to share. Peter Coppola Beauty brought me and several other barbers into the family to share some of our experience as professionals under the "Groomsman Collective" banner.....That being said on with the show.
In the last year of working with Peter Coppola, I have had the pleasure to see old friends become renowned educators and become friends with other educators. During the last few years I have also seen a rise in so-called educators courtesy of the Internet and YouTube.
What is an educator and why does one become an educator? An educator is is one who passes on knowledge, someone who shares instruction, I believe in education because as a barber or just someone in the hair industry, there is always new shit to learn, new looks and new techniques that we can all put into practice.
I think the million dollar question is why do you become an educator? Sometimes you just fall into it like I did. I believe in what I do as a barber and believe in Coppola's vision. I always hope that I am able to share something that makes sense to another stylist and or young barber. I am no better than the people I am trying to share my skills with.
Tonight I asked a good friend of mine, Dylan Johnson who, like myself is a working barber but is an educator for GO24/7 (UNITE men's line), why he became an educator. He was very straight, "I believe in what we do. I believe in sharing knowledge and ideas." Dylan is great and comfortable in front of groups and is great at sharing techniques, but is passion for your trade enough to be a solid educator?
I work with a young man who has been cutting hair for 3 years and works as a part time instructor at a cosmetology school that also has a barber program. When I asked him why he is working at the school he said, "My education sucked, so maybe I can teach something based on my mistakes." Oh yeah, the state of California has no license to be an educator in the cosmetology school system.
Elijah Mack who is an educator for Hattori Hanzo shears did not start working as an educator until he had been cutting hair close to 13 years and believes he is now a "million times more the educator then when first started." Elijah continues by saying "Not all great Barbers make great educators".
It seems like right now in the hair industry it is cool to be an educator (truth is it kind of is). What we are seeing is this rise of really good educators mixed with a growing group of "internet educators". People who cut hair but all they have going for them is the fact that they have a ton of Instagram followers. I have seen photos, blog post and YouTube videos of "educators" and I wanted to throw my device through a window because they were so bad. I have watched videos by dudes who say they are educators and they are shooting a video in a garage or someone's kitchen.....this is just pure stupidity.
Peter Christopher who works with Seven and is also an ambassador for Uppercut Deluxe said "There is no guide lines. It's all about fame & glory. Company's now only hiring people who have a following".
"But Frank, you work for a company as an educator...why are you knocking it." If that is how you are reading into this then let me make it very clear -I FUCKING LOVE EDUCATION!! Even as a barber there is a lot for me to learn. If you call yourself an educator you have a responsibility to put the time into making sure you are sharing information and skills that others in the hair industry can walk away and say " I learned something that makes sense".
All this being said we all have an opportunity to teach and we should. Take the time to share skills with others in your shops and salons. If you have something to share that makes the guy in the chair next to you a better barber or stylist....SHARE IT!
I am grateful for the position I am in and even more grateful to become friends with guys that are awesome educators so I have guys to learn from. Not just to become a better barber but a solid educator
My last point is this....if you are in "education" for fame and glory please take a good long look at what you do and why you do it.
It's 11:10 am on Thursday at Cutthroat Telephone in Houston, TX and my appointment is running late. I figure this is a perfect opportunity to reflect on barbering, music, and how the two connected in my life. Here goes...
When I was a young kid in Exeter, NH I had figured out I was anti-social, didn't appreciate main stream society, school, religion, cops, or any other form of conformity or rules. I also didn't appreciate team sports. I remember seeing an older kid on a skateboard and I quickly got hooked and we became a very small and tight knit group of skateboarders in the New England area.
Back in those days, way before the Internet or other forms of mass information of anything "cool" there were a few VHS tapes floating around from Powell Peralta and Vision skateboards. On those tapes, not only did I witness the best skateboarding the 80's had to offer from California but I also heard music that made me feel alive. It was my first exposure to Punk Rock and I was hooked. Not only did I make it a mission to get good at skateboarding but I had to know more about punk rock. There were a few tapes floating around town. Back then, we had to tape tapes on dual cassette players to share music so my first punk rock record was Suicidal Tendencies first record on one side and The Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks on the other. The quality was so rough being a 5th generation copy and I played them so much, I had scotch tape keeping the tape together.
Shortly after that, I got Circle Jerks Group Sex and Black Flag Damaged. The music made me skate harder and faster, it also made me feel like I finally belonged to something. There were so few of us but there was a fun scene and I eventually discovered the older punk kids. Eventually after a failed attempt to be a sponsored skater by running away from home at 16 to San Diego, CA, I fell more into punk rock and less into skating. The Queers were the local Seacoast NH band and B Face, the bassist let me live at his house and Joe the singer would give me occasional work at his restaurant and let me help him set up shows around NH. B Face also taught me how to play bass.
I loved punk rock and the new community I had. Somewhere along the lines I came into a set of clippers and would give Mohawks to the punks, and some Chelsea's to the skin girls. You couldn't get a barber to do it, and even if you could we didn't have any money for anything except beer and smokes. As I got older and Social Distortion made Prison Bound, and I came across The Stray Cats, I got into rockabilly culture. The music was happy and catchy and was a nice change in my then pretty dismal life. Somehow I managed to get myself a pair of creepers and visit Johns barber shop in Portsmouth, NH for a "50's style" hair cut. Long on top to comb back with Murrays pomade, which never washed out and you needed a hot towel to apply and a low number 2 fade to keep the side burns.
What I remember about those early barber shop experiences was that first, John hated when you showed up with Murrays in your hair because it screwed with his clippers and 2, it was a place where men gathered to talk about EVERYTHING. You'd hear about the economy, women, local gossip, politics, etc... I learned a lot in barber shops. Also, there was something so vintage about it all, the chairs, signs, the tools, outdated magazines. The shop hadn't changed since it opened and John the barber was so cool without even knowing it.
Over the years, my music career progressed and I played with many small punk bands. After living in Portland, OR a while in the early 90's, I moved back to New England in 95/6 and my friend Al Barr was looking to re-ignite his band The Bruisers. Having been a huge fan of the band and how they tied American Rock and Roll in with British Oi! and Street Punk creating a new form of American Oi! music, it was my first real gig. Finally I could play music that fit in with my love for Rockabilly, punk and Oi! Over the next few years we played and toured Europe, all over New England, and took the band to California for the first time. This was also when punk was blowing up again in the mainstream US and we had label interest, and larger touring opportunities. We also had another New England band looking for a singer after losing their original singer so after giving Al a giant blessing he went to join Dropkick Murphys. I continued to play as well, I had a very short stint with Mike Ness on his first solo record tour and started working crew for my friends who's bands were blowing up.
After several years of doing this with Dropkicks and The Bosstones and other playing gigs like another hero of mine, Roger Miret and his band The Disasters, I met with original Dropkick singer Mike McColgan and we started doing Street Dogs in 2002/3. I loved Mikes voice with DKM (yes I love Al's voice with DKM too) but Mike had a melody and originality that I loved and wanted to make music with. What started as a side band to do like poker night with your friends pretty quickly turned full time with the release of Savin Hill. Over the next 10 years and 5 full length records we toured the world with our favorite bands some 200 days a year. I had also started a family, we had accomplished what I never dreamt possible when I got into punk rock. Making music on our own terms by our own rules and being able to pay the rent.
After 10 years of doing this, I had 5 kids who barely knew me, an angry wife, lots of debt, and an addiction to pills and whiskey.... I knew I had to take a breather. The guys in my band were pretty convinced they'd find me dead in my bunk on the tour RV and folks were worried about me. So I started a journey to address my newly discovered demons. My priorities started to change. I wanted a relationship with my children and my health more then a new record or another tour. I remembered 2 years earlier when I went to a small town barber shop in Richmond, TX and when I left I ordered barber school info online. It sat on my desk for 2 years.
But I was romancing the idea of the similarities between riding in vans and busses bullshitting with the guys and sitting in a barber shop bullshitting with the guys. I also loved a good, classic haircut and could only think of a handful of guys nationally that I would visit on tour. I was talking to our drummer Pete Sosa and he told me about his friend Ryan who was a figure in the Houston punk/ hardcore scene and shared some similarities with me in terms of music and saving myself from myself. He had started barbering at Cutthroat in Houston and Pete suggested I go talk to him. Ryan came to visit me for a coffee and after some talk and fellowship, for the first time I could see myself as a barber. I also had a new brother and a really great example to follow.
Immediately I used some music downtime to enroll in barber school and after a year and a half scraping by between Street Dogs gigs, working the front desk at Ryans new Cutthroat location and the love and support of my family, band mates, my kids, and my wonderful girlfriend Melissa, I am a full time barber who is also fortunate enough to still play music. In fact Street Dogs are planning a new record, a couple short tours, and my barber clientele is growing daily. Who said you can't have your cake and eat it too!?
Anyway, some guys grow up at 18, in my case I started growing up around 39/40. Life is good, I see my wonderful kids all the time, I work at the best barber shop, with the best guys, we cut hair, talk shit, I drink a lot of coffee, smoke cigars, the young guys expose me to terrible hip hop, I expose them to real music and the customers love it. Come in and I will advise you on how to make terrible life choices while cutting your hair!
My name is Johnny, I'm a barber and a punk rocker.
Growing up on Long Island in New York on the border of queens by the famous Belmont Racetrack, I was raised by my parents who were both musicians. I've been surrounded by music my whole life. My mother played piano and went to beauty school learning to cut hair. My dad played in bands since he was 16 years old. He started playing music as a young child on the accordion; playing in wedding and cover bands . Subsequently it was only natural that I follow in their foot steps. I was lucky to have great parents that supported me in whatever I pursued in my life. I have so many vivid memories of being home with my mom as she sang along dancing through the house, on her crazy cleaning sprees, or cooking while blasting everything from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin, Motown and much more. As I got a little older, I would roadie for my dad and his successful wedding bands back in the eighties.
I started playing music in Jr. high school. I thought about trying the guitar but my father encouraged me to try bass instead. He said every band needs a good bass player and guitar players are a dime a dozen. This was the best advice of my life, without which I would not be where I am at today. When I started taking lessons, it did not last long. My teacher just wanted to show me scales and refused to show me any songs. I got so bored with it, I stopped and did not pick it up again till I graduated from high school. I remember seeing Murphy's Law at the Wetlands NYC and saying to myself, that's what I want to do. So I picked up the bass and pretty much taught myself by playing to punk rock and hardcore music. I started my first band in 1997 called On The Rise.
Around the year 2000, I ran into Rob Kabula, formerly of Agnostic Front. We were hanging out at Lamores in Brooklyn, just talking at the bar, and he asked me if I would want to replace him. This took me by storm. To make a long story short-15 years later and I'm still touring the world with them.
It's been an interesting 15 years on the road with these guys. A band I always loved and respected. It's still hard to believe I'm in this band. I've traveled all over the world-from Europe to Japan, Canada to South America and all over the states. What I love best about touring is being able to see how different cultures exist. Trying different foods and meeting people in all the beautiful cities we traveled through. I've made so many friends along the way. I encourage everyone to travel as much as possible. There is so much more to life than where you live. Don't miss out.
After about ten years of being in the band, the touring schedule slowed down a bit and I was tired of finding bullshit jobs in between tours. So I gravitated to the barber world. I wanted to get into something that I can see myself doing for the rest of my working days till I retire. An old school trade that will never die. I had 3 months home that gave me just enough time to go to barber school and get my apprentice license. This was the next best decision of my life. I have to thank all my friends over at 2 Kings Barber Shop in Smithtown NY for really showing me the ropes and putting their time into helping me get my license. Being surrounded by a great team of barbers that take pride in their craft helped me to become the barber I am today. Now, I'm a full time dad; aka Mr. Mom. I still cut hair in my spare time in my home studio barber shop that I set up. When the baby gets older, I plan on returning to a shop. This is a craft and a profession that I love and enjoy doing. I love all my jobs and I never feel like I'm working- because when you love your job it never feels like work.
So this we I was helping a young man that works with me on his shave as he gets ready to take his crossover exam for his barber license.
So as he is doing a shave on a fellow co-worker He gets distracted by someone walking through the shop. At this moment I stop and lecture him about rhe importance if what we do as barbers.
I beleive there are three trades where a man will trust (trust is the key word) another person to come into his personal space. These trades are a physician, a tattoo and his barber. For a man to trust you not only with his haircut but to get into his personal space for a shave is an awesome thing.
I know some barbers who choose to not do shaves in there shops and trust me, I understand where their thought process is but for me I love not only doing haircuts but I throughly enjoy the process of the shave.
There is something zen like to doing a shave. Your focus is in place and that is the man in your chair. Not the guy to your left or right not even the next person walking through the door. Your job is a clean shave that is comfortable and relaxing.
someone asked me why the shave disappeared in culture and there is a whole list of reasons with one being the fact that people wanted things faster so barbers quit doing them. But I feel it is important that barbers do not completely abandon the process of the shave.
A word to young barber students...embrace the shave! If your school does a shitty job teaching it force yourself to learn it. Find a shop who will teach you and be willing to learn.
So as I end this I beleive what seperates us as barbers from stylist is not just the fact that we use a razor and they do not it goes deeper then that. There is a responsibility that only comes with trust that men put in us as we lay them back in the chair for that shave.
Here I sit in an empty shop, a snowy cold Monday. It’s the second day of spring and my day off but I'm working. Trying hustle a little more money before I leave for Europe. I fly out on Wednesday for two shows in Stockholm Sweden with my band. Sitting on my ass not making money is rare in this shop but seems to happen any time I want to come in and make a little extra. I’ll stay positive though. Like any job you can get sucked down and burnt out. Im glad Iwas asked to write about my career. Its given me a chance to step back and take stock of what I have and where I was before I made the decision to become a barber.
There is a certain trait that I have seen in most barbers. We all seem to have it. This old school “Do It Yourself “ panache and bravado. These characteristics are also prevalent in musicians. Its easy for me to see why so many of us are both. I knew early on the family business of boiler making wasn't for me. I joined the National Guard while still in high school and was off to Fort Lenard Wood in 1997. By 1999 I had a few years in and was jumping from work with the family to working at Tower records in Harvard Square. One Sunday Rick Barton of Dropkick Murphys came by the house to hang out with a girl I was living with. He mentioned he needed a roadie for an upcoming tour. I quickly made a few phone calls to quit my job and made sure I could still drill with my unit when I was back. I was off and touring from there learning the business and having fun. During that first tour I had mentioned I needed a haircut. This was 1999 we didn't have the internet on our phones everything was still passed word of mouth. Someone mentioned that other bands all went to Rob’s Chop Shop. We weren't near Dallas but the idea of a shop that all the bands hit when they were in town always stuck with me.
I roadied for bands for years. When I was home I would find work where I could. Selling Yankees Suck shirts outside of Fenway, bouncing at bars. I was 23 and playing by my rules. This is where my bombastic attitude was at its highest and got me into trouble. All balls and no brains doesn't get anyone very far. I was selling drugs fighting all the time. although I’m not proud of those days I don't think I would change them. Like every drug dealer’s story it ended with me being arrested several times and I wound up doing a short bid at Suffolk County House of Corrections also known as “South Bay”. I paroled out in 2004. I was 24, humbled, but I knew I was better than those shit bags I was just with. I had to figure out what I was really going to do. Woking production with bands had dried up. Partly do to my reputation, but mostly because I was so caught up in drug dealing and being a tough guy. It was then I remembered Rob’s Chop Shop..
I went to Massachusetts School of Barbering in 2005. Barber school was an interesting time. I was rebuilding my life and starting a new career. As I was building my confidence behind the chair my confidence in life was being built as well. By graduation I was playing in bands again and running around with a guy who had always had my back. He had a band called the Street Dogs. I would tour with them when I could and cut hair the rest of the time. That was the beginning of the good times. I eventually worked for the Street Dogs full time. By 2012 my wife and I had decided that tour life had to take a back seat to barber life. It was time to get back to my “real job”. I dove back into cutting with everything I had. I was running a shop in the suburbs of Boston and getting ready to buy a house.
About a year back into my new life off the road I received a text from a friend I had met touring. He asked if I wanted to join SLAPSHOT. Although I had talked to my wife about slowing down and focusing on adult shit I could not say no. I joined the band in late 2012 and quickly realized that running a shop and touring in a band wasn't an easy balance. Even with the relatively light touring schedule I just couldn't make it work. I stepped down from my position and eventually left the shop. Today Im working at a shop in Brighton close to the Boston College campus. The two owners are family guys and fantastic barbers. Myself and Matt Charette are touring musicians and barbers. Check out Matt Charette and the Truer Sound. He's a great songwriter.
So that’s how I got here. Im now supposed to talk about what Barbering means to me.
’ve only done Three cuts while writing this so I'm a little annoyed today but honestly I’m proud to be a barber. Ten years in and I’m still playing by my rules. I still enjoy honing my craft. Its been interesting to watch the industry blow up. I love seeing these new traditional shops pop up all over the country. I love seeing guys suck it up and put their balls the line and go for it. Like watching my friends get in a van and hit the road not knowing what is going to happen they now open shops and go for it. It’s that resolve in a man I respect. Guys who will not be another cog in the machine that is easily replaceable. Personal accountability for you work is whats makes a man and a barber. My skills will keep my chair busy and my stomach full.
Ryan can be found cutting at: Lessards Barbershop 545 Washington St. Brighton Ma.
So over the next few weeks the Barber Collective is excited to share the story of three barbers who have strong ties to punk rock. Today, though I am going to share my story.
i have two vivid memories of the barbershop as a kid. My dad used to take me and my brother to a place called Jan's Barbershop in Madera,Ca and there were times I would just ride my bike to get my haircut since it was close enough. The second memory was a barbershop on my newspaper route. It was attached to an old movie theater in downtown Madera and smelt like talc, bay rum and stale cigarette smoke (he was a cheap tipper).
in 2003 I moved my wife and kids to Spokane,Washinton where I began my time working my ass off in kitchens and while doing this I had already spent the better part of 7 years putting out a quarterly zine called "The Underground".
I had already been doing a ton of shows and "The Underground" focused on punk, hardcore and even rock-a-billy. But it was going to be issue #32 (which was also the final issue) that put me in a new direction. This issue featured tha bands Until The End, Hit The Deck and xLooking ForwardX. This was also the issue that featured Donnie Hawley of Hawleywoods Barbershop/Layrite
i loves the hard work of the kitchen but as I learned about the tradition and history of the barber it got me thinking about what I was doing. That tradition is what drew me to the trade and I have always looked at being a barber as a trade just like being a butcher,a welder or even a cook. So after thinking about it and talking to my wife (who had recently finished beauty school) and a few guys I knew In 2006 I enrolled in school in a lovely neighborhood known as Hillyard.
I started in school in Feb of 2006 and finished in September of 2006 with the help of my family, friends and a good a guy named Mark who kept pushing me. I held down 1 full time job in the kitchen and a part time job in the mall and finally finished and past my Washington barber board in September.
I was cutting hair at venues like the Dipper and Fat Tuesday's. Late night haircuts for bands coming through Spokane at bbqs after shows.
Now it is 2016 and I will be celebrating 10 years as a barber and there is nothing I would rather be doing. It has given me the chance to travel, share what I do with others and meet so many great people. Not just customers sitting in my chair but all the amazing barbers out there that I have the pleasure to call my friends (way to many to list).
Well that is my story in a nutshell. I have a long road ahead of me with a hell of a lot to learn still. I am grateful for the chance to have interviewed Donnie Hawley because I would never on thought about being a barber. I am also grateful to Peter Coppola Beauty for giving me the chance to travel and share what I know about barbering (Coppola Crew (
I look forward to sharing the stories of some good barbers and just downright nice guys!
Thanks for the continued support,
So here I am sitting in the airport withing on my flight to the bay area where the wife and I are doing great some work for Peter Coppola. I am sharing some barbers tips along with how to use Coppola products with the men who enter their salons.
My boy Mike made sure I looked respectable before I hit the road...agaiin!
So I am excited to announce some special contributors over the next few months starting with Brian Hurson from the Nite Owl Barbershop up in Toronto. Look for his piece coming on St. Patricks Day.
Another series that is coming will be featuring some great men who are barbers and who have strong ties to the punk/hardcore community. My hope is to start introducing these contributors over the next week.....sso keep an eye out!
Speaking of St. Patricks it is almost time for the 2016 St. Patricks shirt....pre-orders will go up March 1st at wwww.thebarbercollective.stostoreenvy.com.
That's it for now....
Cut With Pride
I have a pet peeve and that is treating being a working barber like a "hustle" and also pictures of young barbers posting pictures on Instagram of stacks of cash.....I am going to explain why this is.
I am a working barber who is on the verge of celebrating 10 years behind the chair and I am 42 years old with two kids trying to go to college. I have the same bills everyone else has along with the same
concerns for the future. This includes retirement.
We as barbers have the tendency to work in a very cash orientated business just like our friends who are tattoo artist. This means it is easy to burn through cash a lot quicker. But there are options out there you just have to look for them.
i am currently in talks with a guy who is a financial planner and more importantly one of my regulars at the shop and over the next few weeks we are starting to look at my options to start preparing for my future because I have to look out for my family in the end.
What I have learned is that it is time to start looking to the future so you do not wake up and wonder where did all that cash you were making go.
So next time you are bragging about the "hustle" and the stacks of cash think about what you are gonna do in 20 years when your wallet is empty.
So Sunday Last Sunday I spent the day in the barbershop before catching a flight to Los Angeles to get ready for the first ever "Barbers & Beers" event held by Peter Coppola. Now that I have had the week to reflect on things I am going to share some stuff with you.
If you have been paying attention you may already know of my involvement with Peter Coppola Beauty and the launch of the "Groomsman Collective" (not to be confused with the Barber Collective)..
The event landed on the tail end of the biggest hair and beauty trade show in Long Beach,California and so we took full advantage of this by holding our event at the Mar Vista Art Department in LA (closer to Venice, but I digress). We were happy with the turn out especially when we learned that some people who attended had extended there weekend to attend Monday evening. I learned that Estetica Magazine has also come out to see what we were doing that evening.
I can forget the most important people along with my wife was Steve Lightfoot (creative director for Coppola and long time friend), Annetter Davxport (west coast sales and as of recent I have given her the title "partner in crime) and the rest of the Coppola "Powers That Be".
This was my first leap into the education ring and I was actually glad to have all these people there because I can count on positive feedback. Steve did three haircuts....two men's haircuts and a women's cut on the fly and I did two men's haircuts that I was quite proud of (Micheal & Eric were good sports and nice fellas).
There is a point to this and it is not just to share about how well "Barbers & Beers" went but to share something about educating.
First being a working barber/stylist is different then being an educator Theree is a switch that you have to be able to turn on and off to do both and I believe it takes a little bit of time to find to find that place. And secondly a lot of "working educators" when they are not in salons or shops are traveling and share I g what knowledge they have to share. They cross-costs the country whether it is with Hanzo, Coppola or whoever they are working with. A lot of airports and hotels and more importantly away from their shops and FAMILIES!!
I am looking to more events like this and learning how to share what knowledge I have and meeting more barbers out there and learning from others around me.
So I have talked about what it means to be a "traditional barber" in past posts and I am not revisiting those post. This is a different view of what it means to be a "traditional barber".
How do you interact with the men who sit in your chair? How do you greet them? When you drape that cape on them do you take into account how they are dressed and if they are going back to work? Is that man not only comfortable with you cutting his hair but confident in your knowledge and ability to cut his hair?
The truth is these are just a few questions that as barbers we need to be taking into account as we interact with our customers. I know for myself I make sure I make eye contact with the guy in my chair as we discuss what he is asking for, and I always shake his hand and say thanks for his time.
Another this is how is your conversation? This is important because it should not focus on you but your customer. Seriously they guy does not want to hear all the weird shit in your life. This their time! It is one thing to hold a nice conversation but do not control it and focus on yourself.
I have seen a trend of guys just getting them in the chair and getting them out because you have to turn that chair in 18.5 minutes to make a profit. In this time how are you supposed to doing a good job and providing a good service that the man in you chair does not feel like he is an inconvenience. Also on the topic of time, do you show up for work early, right on time or are you a,ways a few minutes late. Are you making appointments but not being then when you have scheduled that man?
The way we treat the men in our chairs is a reflection on how we value their business. We would not have jobs if they were not coming into our shops and more importantly returning to our chairs....Take. Good look at every aspect of your service the men will appreciate it!
So below is my top 10 Instagram post for the year and they are in no particular order.
Handsome Jack the Barber and myself as we head to an evening of drinking and karaoke with the Peter coppola Family
Daisy took this and we used it for my week of social media with Peter Coppola
I partnered with Annette Davenport as we did some door knocking on LA barbershop.
First of the year I reshared this photo because just knowing I got to be apart of suck a great magazine is awesome.
The Wife and I went to an event called Cochon555 and I met a lot of cool cats but was super excited to meat Kris Morningstar chef/owner of Tarrant in Los Angeles.
The day my Murphys Traditional arrived at my home
hooked Jimbo Wallace up with his own cans of Murphy's Traditional Pomade
Me and my brothers at Hanger 24 in Redlands
The guys from Gentlemens Ave did a small write up on our little can o' grease
Support from new friends is always a great thing. (See ya in Ft.Lauderdale)
Sitting here in sales/product meetings all weekend with Coppola out in Fort Lauderdale. It's cool to be around some of these again. I do not consider myself an educator but I like being involved with this company
Product companies should not be just about the product but about the people you work with and the that run the brand. The people who make the decisions are people you need to believe in and they need to believe in the people who support the brand.
When I was invited to Chicago last year I was not sure why since I am just a working barber. I do not come from a salon background, never have I done hair color and I have never styled an updo....Cuts and shaves
I have done some cool shit this past year and am excited about the first event of the year in Los Angeles. Myself and Steve Lightfoot are going to be sharing Coppola techniques and show things you can use with your men's clientele (stylist) and in your barbershop.
I do not know what's to come but always I am a barber first but I am having a blast working with Peter Coppola!
So if you pay attention to my Instagram (@frankiethemick) you have seen most of my pictures for the year, so I will not post any pictures in tonight's end of the year commentary.
i now have a niece in college, a daughter almost done with college and a kid finishing high school. I spent the bulk of 2015 working two jobs and not getting far and more importantly feeling screwed quite a bit from one of my jobs.
The best part of 2015 when an opportunity was presented to me by a company called Peter Coppola. Some days I am still unsure why they called on me but there was something they saw they wanted to use. It started with a trip to Chicago for four days where I met some great and wicked talented people. More importantly lead by a cast of people that I hold a lot of respect for.
I do not consider myself an educator. I am just a working class barber with a group of people behind me and along side promoting a pretty awesome brand.....For this opportunity I am grateful.
Back around fathers Day I returned to the barber chair after being away for a while and man I love it.I love what I do and hope to be behind the chair for as along as I possible can.
In October I gave a big middle finger to the restaurant game and went full time at The Great American Barbershop in Fresno,Ca and they even allowed me to host the Movember Kick-Off & Shave Party in there shop. Which again was a total blast.
But please know that 2015 was also another ear of spinning my wheels and feeling like I have gone nowhere.....which is a tough feeling.
Now 2016 is off to a crazy start with a trip to Ft. Lauderdale for Coppola education and also do I get a couple events for them in LA and the Bay Area.
This year also has me getting my barbers license in the state of Arizona.
2016 my wife and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and that is a big fucking deal!!!
There are things I am hoping to see happen but I have also learned over the years that I can not control what happens.....So here is to 2016!!
So I am a dad of two daughters so taking my kids to the barbershop did not happen but the longer I stand behind the chair and interact not only with kids but their dads I begin to realize that everything a kid needs to learn as he grows up he can learn in the barbershop.
The truth is this was something I started to notice a couple of years ago when I was working in Visalia,Ca with a couple of young boys who would have theit mom bring them by about once a month. The boys would come in with enough money for a haircut and a tip. She went out of her way to make sure the boys knew the importance of tipping those in the service industry. The boys would always say "thank you" and shake my hand (a hi five for the younger boy).
As a barber I may not have the patience of a saint with real little kids but with 10 and up I will have conversation with them about school, sports and anything they find interesting. I always shave their hand when I am done cutting their hair and basically just treat them the same way I will treat their dad.
I always hope that dads who get haircuts with there sons (especially if they share barbers) is a sacred time and a right of passage. Kids learn to shake hands with other men, behave like a man should, interact with a barber and behave in public.
These are some of the most important thing you are supposed to learn as a kid....why not learn them at the barbershop with dad.
So looking out for your customers is a big part of your job as barbers and if you swing your razor whether it is for just doing neck shaves and around the ears or you are doing full service face shave how are you disposing of your razor blades?
This is a serious question because if you are not being responsible in how you handle sharp disposal you really are kind of lazy especially since a sharps container cost less then 10 bucks!!.
This is something small that I do not think most barbers or even shop owners even think about when it comes to day to day workings of their shops.
This is just a quick rant....I am now done.