Baker moved to New York, assisted Christiaan, and eventually had his own work. “The willingness to show up and be where it’s at is everything. It wasn’t just that I ended up in the right place. I made conscious decisions to get me in the right place. The quality of the decisions you make in your life determines the quality of your life.”
In the early 90’s, with the explosion of music video channels, Los Angeles became the place to be. “I moved to LA and I moved next door to this camera man who worked for the director Julian Temple and within two days I was doing a Tom Petty video.” He would go on to work with celebrities Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Beals and more.
“The problem with living in LA and being a hairdresser and you’re running with Billy Idol, you start thinking you can live like that.” Saying he was “lucky to get out because many didn’t” Baker went to Miami. “During the 90’s, I had been hopping down there to do some freelance work because it was fun and easy. One day I am riding my bike and I see my old friend Van Counsel and his wife Suzie.” Again, being where the action is led Baker to his next stint, five years at Van Michael Salon in Atlanta, Georgia.
Today, along with his wife Debra Neil Baker, he keeps salons and beauty businesses connected to the hairdresser through Neil TSP, an Aveda distributorship and salon business support company. Baker acts as a liason to the hairdresser. One of his teaching tools he calls the 5x5 station, the size of the average stylists’ station. “It’s your stage and when you step in that five foot radius, you are performing for your customer. Have a script, know what you want to say and do, be prepared and you will have better results in the end.”
A passionate belief in the power of mentorship prompted Baker to launch the 2nd Hand Scissor Project. Master Hairdressers (10 years of experience) pass on a pair of their scissors along with the story behind it to new (at least two years of experience) stylists.
“I have given away 65 scissors to young hairdressers and they are so grateful. They send me these really moving messages on Facebook.”
Baker’s next act may include the reveal of a new cutting tool he has invented. Stay tuned!