So I do not personally use YEalP and I am not sure if the shop(s) I work at do But I do know there is Google and Facebook and guess what people do read this reviews.

so this week out of nowhere I did something I have never done before and that was to ask the people who sat in my chair to leave a review on one of these platforms.

The reason I asked them to do this was a realization that I needed to find a way for my name to get recognized locally. I will be honest asking them to do this was not as awkward as I thought it was going to be.

Things like Yelp and Facebook have always had some controversy to there review platforms(bad reviews get pushed to the top, ability to remove defamatory and just plain a$$holes who get a kick out of posting bad reviews). If you know you did a great service and that they were happy they will be willing to share their experience.

As much as I am not a fan of review sites I think I need to start taking advantage of them. The more positive things written out you the more people looking for services are going to be more drawn to you. 

One thing I got to thinking about was what if you are in a shop and are not sure how long you are going to be there Nina Kovner of consulting agency Passion Squared says "You totally can have your own page with your brand name using the salon address (you are currently at)".

This is a good idea, especially if down the road your goal is to open your own shop. So develope your brand and take advantage of review sites.

i guess I am going to leave it at that and hope it is something that may help, because I know it is something I am having to learn. 


Retention.....What are you willing to do!


So for the longest time I had the attitude of "There are enough heads in this city to keep us all in business". But the more I have thought about it this is an attitude that can keep you from not only getting busy. 

The move from California to Arizona has forces me to not only start my business from scratch but for the first time change the way I view  building my business.

It is wasy to get those guys in your chair that first time. It may be a walk inn or a referral from someone you know. But what are you going to do to turn that from a one time customer into a regular client. What are you doing to make sure they speak highly of there experience in your chair. 

Let us start with the service. ...I am gonna to be the first person to admit there guys out there that may give a better "haircut" then me. Hell, I do not do designs or spray black dye on hair for a crisp illusion of a haircut.  

The one thing I do is take my time, pay attention to what they are asking for and finding ways to go the extra mile during that service. Does not matter if it is a haircut, a shave or just a beard trim. I work hard to not only make it work their money but more importantly their time! You have to work hard to find ways to separate yourself from the others.....Become   "THE GUY".

Recentlt I heard Andy Frisella (founder of the MFCEO Project) say on a podcast "...Make A friend and you make the sale".  This statement got me thinking about how we interact with customers 

Solid customers are in our chair a minimum 12 times a year and as much as every two weeks. We talk about birthdays, anniversaries and sometimes unfortunately death and divorce. Truth is there are times that these guys are going to talk to us more about personal shit then their wives and or significant other.

The point I am trying to make is if you create friendships with the men in your chair you have the potential to create customers that will last you for years to come and in this business that's what you aim for.....longevity. 

I know it has been a while since I posted but I enjoyed writing this, because this is stuff I am trying to out into practice as I build my bilusinesa in Arizona. 



In The Beginning part 5....Ryan Taylor East End Barbershop


Coming from a strong bloodline of refinery workers, I spent most of the 4 or so years of my life traveling. As it sits, so far I’m the only person in my family that hasn’t worked in a chemical plant. My parents met in a refinery in Louisiana, where I was born, and it wasn’t until we made it to Pasadena, Tx that my Dad decided to plant us there and take on the traveling himself.

Now as I read Mike, Johnny, and Packers entries I’m trying hard to muddle through the fuzz of my horrible memory and trace back where it all began with punk rock as well as barbering.

It’s hard to recall what came first with me; the music or the lifestyle. The first spot we moved to in Pasadena was Pecan Plantation, a mobile home community on Spencer highway towing the line between La Porte and Pasadena. My Mom worked in the managers office so not only did we get a cut in rent but we also received the occasional potato in the tail pipe from an evicted tenant. At this time I was hearing a lot of Motown from my Mom and CCR and blue oyster cult from my Dad, both were greatly influential on me growing up but neither hooked me as strongly as punk rock would. At this time I started dabbling in what I deemed normal rebellious kid activities; shoplifting(I felt bad and buried the goods in our yard), fighting(as provoked by my brothers), skateboarding, and just general vandalism. All of these things were exciting endorphin rushes that I craved more and more of.


Fast forward a few years and Dad's work started picking up and we moved to a proper house in La Porte. It was either Green Day's basket case video or Rancids salvation video that first floored and peaked my interest. Either way I discovered these bands shortly before meeting  a couple of like minded miscreants that I could skate and chain smoke Moms cigarettes with. One of the kids, Dustin, made me a proper mixtape that opened my world to the likes of D.I., NOFX, 7 seconds and sex pistols.
    During all of this I'm going back to Louisiana about one weekend a month with my Mom to visit family. An essential on these south Louisiana trips is a truck ride with my Papa Hottell. My Grandfather was the epitomie of selflessness; a recovering alcoholic himself, it wasn't uncommon to see strange men sweating it out on his couch. My first trip to a real barbershop was on a truck ride with Papa Hottell. Over the years I went countless times to the barbershop with him and never once saw him get his hair cut, I was hooked on the atmosphere before anything else.
    Now this was also a time when my brothers and I had 3 options- let Mom give us chili bowls with the dog clippers, let Mom's stylist friend give us chili bowls, or we could give each other chili bowls. Most times we chose the latter, which I immediately fell in love with. While I was experimenting and trying to learn how to properly blend, my brothers were fucking around and doing whatever would give us a laugh in the moment. Barbering; the culture, the smell of a shop, the many looks of a classic shop, the style of classic 40's and 50's cuts were instantly appealling to me. From then on I began experimenting for a few years before really buckling down and committing to the craft.
When I was 15,  a couple years into picking up my first pair of clippers, I joined my first punk rock band. We were appropriately sloppy, and
from then on I began playing in various bands over the years, putting out records and touring the U.S. and Mexico. At the beginning of my punk rock
career I picked up a nasty affinity for opiates which haunted me for well over a decade. Once the touring slowed down and one of my bands broke
up, I was left with more time to get high and look at myself, and it quickly got worse. Through an odd divine intervention I ended up in treatment 2/17/10
and have been clean and sober ever since. It was in my first year of sobriety, after working the steps, that I finally decided to take another leap
of faith and pursue barbering full time. I thank God every day for sobriety and barbering, amongst other things. Hands down the most rewarding
career I've ever had, I learn something new about myself, my craft, and others every day, never a dull moment AND I still get to play in bands. I'm thankful for the support of my wife and best friend Erin, stepson Shepard, and son Chase. I am also thankful for the many barber
mentors I had in the beginning; Brandan, Don, Brandy, and Demarcus to name a few. Not to mention the mentors I have now in my shop; Johnny, Ana,


(Editors Note: All photos are by mark champion Ryan Taylor is the owner of East End Barber, co owner of Wired Up Records and Books. He plays  in thug boots and black coffee, have played in ten crowns, the burden, titan blood, i am wolf, grave robbers, your mistake to name a few.)




The definition of value-"the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something (or someone).

If you stand behind the chair long enough this will be a question you will have to ask yourself.

It will come up when trying to decide if it is time to change shops. It will become an issue when you decide if it is time to open your own shop or start renting a chair.

When you work for a shop that offers an hourly wage your value is not based on what you as a business charges for a haircut but what the owner of the shop feels you are worth. If you work in a commission shop or salon your percentage is based o. What the owner believes is fair and not what you feel is fair.

Last week as I was at Darryl & Kim Brandt's (owners of Public Image) asked me how much I was going to be charging for my services Kim asked also said "charge what you are worth". And this statement lead me to really think about what I was worth.

I am personally looking at value and worth in a bigger picture. I am not just looking monitarially and also in my skill set. If I am not where I want to be what am I willing to do to get to that point where what I charge is equal to my skill set. Or is it my skill set is worth every red cent I am charging.

How confident are you in yourself and your work? I do not care if you are a barber, a stylist, a colorist or a educator. Your value In the end is based on your work and the care you take in what you do. The pride you take in your craft.


The last conversation I had with my friend Steve he said this to me: "Do not let anyone tell you that you can not be an educator. You proved you have what it takes to do this. Do not let anyone tell what you can or can't do".

I felt as I was working on this it was relevant to share. Do not let others determine your worth....In the end it is all up to you.



Me & Steve Lightfoot Venice,Ca

Me & Steve Lightfoot Venice,Ca

So since the start of the year I have been trying to decide what to post abour. Do I want to go into how my year was or talk about the redundancy of new years resolutions.

But I have decided to cover a few things .

2016 started with me still working with Peter Copolla and working along side my good friend Steve Lightfoot. The problem was at the end of the year I watched a brand I beleive in and who believed in me take the people who put blood,sweat & tears into building a brand and hung them out to dry.

Tara O'Brian and Steve Lightfoot gave me an opportunity that I would never of had otherwise and I am still grateful. 

It is a good thing loyalty,honesty and integrity are part of my DNA! 

This year also found me doing multiple guest spots at Public Image in the heart of Roosevelt Row Arts District in ohienix,Az and am proud to share that starting in February this shop will be my new home. 

Everyone talks about "new year,new you" bullshit. Change is good but to pull the trigger and to make a change is scary but sometimes you just have to do it.

This year's Movember was awesome. We held it at Great American Barbershops newest location and had some amazing guys involved. I look forward to holding this in a new city and new community. 

Just another day bugging Vinnie

Just another day bugging Vinnie

Is year also allowed me to get to know a few guys one being Vinnie Morey owner and barber of The Proper in Los Angeles and Orange County I also got to meet Brian Hurson owner of The Nite Owl Barbershop in Toronto.Both of these guys are running great shop and look at barbering the differently while both upholding the tradition of the craft. (Vinnie,thanks for your continued hospitality when I rol, into LA) 

I watched my daughters graduate high school and college . I even bought a MINI Cooper!

2017 my goal is to grow The Barber Collective and get some contributors to submit regularly and really find a way to make a name for ourselves.

Now with all that being said we need to take a good hard look at are work, how we approach our job and why we do it. Is our goal to become famous or are we striving to be great barbers who are good with our customers.

So on that note I wish everyone a great 2017....Success in your business, family and day to day life. 




So after I finished the "Just Another Social Media Post!" I got to thinking about a few of my favorite Instagram pages. I told you about my friend Pope The Barber (@Popethebarber) and Douglas MCCoy (@houseofpop).

I follow a lot of cool people, brands, barbers and food shit....So in no particular order I give you 6 of my favorite Instagram pages, which turned out to be tougher to pick then I thought it would be!!

1- GentlemensAve Magazine

A men's magazine like no other They believe and support the culture of barbering and have promoted it strongly. 


2- Sailor Jerry Rum

Tattoos...check, rum...check.  



i do not do women's hair but this OG page is amazing...just straight cool! 


4- Dale Ted Watkins

I have been obsessed with Dales work for a long time. He is one of these guys that would love to work with for a few weeks because he has a ton to share and teach. 


 5-Chefs Feed

One of my favorite food Instagram and websites.....That says a lot because I follow some cool chefs, restaurants and knife companies! 


6- Dixxon Flannel Company

Danny is a good dude and Dixxon is some of the best shirts on the market!



Sitting here having a cigar,drinking a beer and talking to a few guys about social media and how to use it. I was not sure where this conversation was going to go but in the end it turned out to be quite interesting. 

We live in a time where tech is king. Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat...etc. In the hair industry whether it is being a barber, stylist or a colorist it seems like you are judged by social media. Does having a quarter of a million followers really mean you are a great stylist/barber. Do brands bring on "educators" based of the amount of followers or like on there pages. Last but not least does social media truly give a clear reflection of that professional?

The truth is it is all in how you choose to use these platforms. 

For me the question was is social media an illusion and the response was interesting.  

""It means your helping more people then just your clients, by way of education,inspiration and entertainment" say Andrew (founder of ADH grooming products). Jason Bonner (@handsomejackthebarber) believes that "inspiration amongst our peers is priceless". 

"Being famous on social media is like being rich at Monopoly" says Matty Conrad (Victory Barbers & Brand Victoria,Bc). "Everyone has a following these days but it does not pay the bills".

Just for the record being "successful" on social media does not mean you are a great stylist or barber it just means you have figured out how to make yourself a commodity... something for people to pay attention to. A few examples are Pope The Barber owner of Vatican barbershop has currently 60 thousand plus followers. I have had the pleasure to work along side Pope and she is awesome behind the chair and has made this huge presence on social media with Instagram & Snapchat.  

Another example and hands down one of my favorite presence on Social media is Dougla McCoy, owner of House POP in Spokane,Wa.. His personal Instagram has 1516 followers while his salons I/G has 13 thousand plus followers. The content is creative and reflect him and his salon/brand.

Is content the key to blowing up your social medial? I am not sure!  Do my customer give a shit I smoke cigars and drink whiskey......a few do. So should it be all business or should we be game to share a piece of who we are with not only our immediate clientele who follow us but those who pay attention to our business outside the realm of our personal bubble.

Dane Hesse owner of Pig & Eagle in Costa Mesa,CA  said "I don't often post haircuts. I mostly toss up lifestyle tidbits. Moments that reflect who I am".

"My life is not a reality show and my family never signed up to be broadcast like the looks That I creat. Finding balance is key" Andrew says. 

We as professionals have an opportunity to share our skills and life with others. Whether it is showing a haircut, a simple technique or just a glimpse into what we do at our shops people are watching. 

Trends chang so do not get caught up into the platforms that are cool because next month someone is using the next cool thing. And remember it is sometimes better to have 1000 followers in your local community and areas you actually work then 10 thousand followers in places that you have never.

I am not a social media guru by any stretch of the imagination. I hope you find this as interesting to read as I enjoyed putting it together.

Eddie Castro X Miller Brothers limited edition Movember poster


For the 2015 Movember Kick-Off & ashave Oarty we released a limited edition tattoo flash sheet designed by a young tattoo artist from here in central California named Zeek Gomez. 

For this year's Movember event the plan was to do a poster that was going to be released and available at this year's Movember kick-off party. For this year's poster I present the work of Eddie Castro 

i have been following Eedies career from the days of his brand called GANGSTERBILLY. It was a t-shirt brand that was rooted deep in monsters and car culture but his roots go way deeper then that. 

Eddie has been involved in the toy industry from close to 14 years and is currently the Art Director at Maisto International, He has been working as a graphic artist since 1996 and has had his hands in multiple toy companies . Jada Toys is one such brand that I own a few toys from (are they Eddies,I do not know).

When I approached Eddie I did not know if he was going to be up to do the poster. Guys have families to feed and sometimes no matter how good a cause they just do not have the extra time to do a project like this so I was excited when he let me know he would do this limited edition Movember Kick-Ff & Shave Party poster. 

printing is being done by Miller Brothers of Visalia,California. You may the know the name since they have been doing Barber Collective/Murphys Traditional shirts. He has always done a great job on our work. These guys know what they are doing when it comes to printing and am glad that they are continuing to do our printing especially for this project.

This poster will be numbered and available October 30th at the Movember Kick-Off & Shave Party. 

The 2016 Movember Kick-Off & Shave Party is being held at Zthe Great American Barbershop on Sunday October 30th from 7-10 pm. The Great American Barbershop is located at 950 Herndon Ave, Clovis,California. If you are interested in booking a spot for your shave call 559-827-2592 or call The Great American Barbershop Barbershop at 559-765-4037.



2016 Movember Kick-Off & Shave Party


It is that time again. The Barber Collective is partnering with The Great American Barbershop for the 2016 Movember Kick-Off & Shave Party on Sunday October 30th from 7-10 pm.

This year we are holding it at the newest GABS location at 950 Herndon Ave in Clovis,CA. 

I am currently worki on getting all our guest barbers booked for the event and are being announced slowly on our event page on Facebook. 

We are stoked by the artwork from Chris Chance one again....he continues to kill it. All I do is point him in a direction and he figures the rest out for me.

The Movember Effect:

Globally, the funds raised by our Mo Bros and Mo Sistas support world-class men’s health programs that combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. These programs, directed by the Movember Foundation, are focused on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, staying mentally healthy, living with and beyond mental illness and research to achieve our vision of an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.

Like last year we will be bringing in a DJ, guest barbers from not just the valley but are planning on bringing in guest barbers from other great shops in California.

For this years event you will be able to get a shave for $30.00 the proceeds being donated to The Movember Foundation.

If you are interested in booking a spot for your shave call 559-827-2592 or call The Great American Barbershop Barbershop at 559-765-4037. We will be running the event from 7-10 pm on Sunday October 30th.

The barbers currently scheduled are the staff of GABS Frankie Reiland (@FrankieTheMick), Mike Coleman (@Mike_Coleman10) and Devin Duckworth (@DevinCursHair) and Peter Christopher (@pc4barber). Please check back for updates 

To donate online go to and for more info about Movember visit


Tailor Made-Looking At The Details Of A Haircut

Tailor Made-Looking At The Details Of A Haircut

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

Finding Balance When Things Are Not Going So Well

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.


C.R.E.A.M. 2.0 - A Look At How We Price Our Services

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 is what Ivan Zoot Has To Say

What works for a good shave-A look at two razors and blades

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.

Shaving Factory Metal Razor

Shaving Factory Metal Razor

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 more comfortable I get with the the more I love this

The more comfortable I get with the the more I love this

The FEATHER Artist has definitely a higher price point and you have to order blades directly from Jata ( 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.



Premiere Orlando....DONE!!!!


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".

I always keep myself in good company

I always keep myself in good company

"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!

Steve Lightfoot art dir for Peter Coppola and old friend!

Steve Lightfoot art dir for Peter Coppola and old friend!

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

myself, Brian Hurson and Pope The Barber

myself, Brian Hurson and Pope The Barber

What Is Education, Really?

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.

Myself with Steve Lightfoot for Peter Coppola

Myself with Steve Lightfoot for Peter Coppola

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?

Dylan Johnson for Go 24/7

Dylan Johnson for Go 24/7

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".

Peter Christopher working an event for Uppercut Delux

Peter Christopher working an event for Uppercut Delux

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.

In The Beginning Part 3.....Mike Gallo


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.

Understanding The Importance Of The Shave


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. 

In The Beginiing Part 2....Ryan Packer

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 Packer


Master Barber

Lessards Barbershop in Brighton,Ma

Lessards Barbershop in Brighton,Ma

Ryan can be found cutting at: Lessards Barbershop 545 Washington St. Brighton Ma.