The traditional barbershop is experiencing a renewed energy by providing a modern take on an old-world-experience. What needs to come along with this resurgence is real barbering skills, which have not kept up with this widespread growth.
Chrissy Collins, a cosmetologist and barber for eight years and stylist at Harrison’s, The Gentleman’s Solution, sees a need for trained barbers. “Men today are more interested in their personal appearance and seek skilled and knowledgeable barber’s in an environment that is masculine and suited to them,” Collins says. “Also, they want products made for men and advice regarding their hair, beards, shaving and skincare.
With this demand, it is a great opportunity for stylists to expand their abilities and income by not limiting themselves to being a stylist for women only. But according to Collins, this means education. She sees too many stylists doing men’s services without being properly trained or not using products that are specifically developed to address men’s needs and problems. “Something as simple as recognizing that men produce more sweat making a difference in their scalp and skin care, is very important,” she explains.
There are areas of education that she encourages stylist to study and become proficient in to better serve their male customers.
- The right tools: From clippers to combs to shears, know how to properly use and understand how they work. Remember – the cut and style must be masculine so know the difference in technique to ensure the results is not feminine.
- Know and understand men’s concerns and have answers: Men can be apprehensive discussing hair loss, breakouts on face/body or services normal to women such as waxing, Botox or fillers. Handling these in a delicate yet knowledgeable manner will gain credibility and loyalty.
- Be familiar with the latest trends: Men want to stay current. Some of the latest styles in hair, mustaches and beards require a skillful use of clippers and shaving equipment to achieve. Men looking for this will seek barber's shop and trained barbers’ and are willing to pay for these specialized services and talent.
- Manly Products: Men are used to purchasing shampoo at the drugstore without consideration of anything more than it cleans their hair. Instructing them on the value of the right shampoo, conditioner and other products is as important as the haircut and/or shave. Since buying a specific type product is possibly a new concept to your clients, do not overwhelm with too much information, too many products or ones that are too costly. If at all possible offer two product lines that have different price points. I also highly recommend one that is fragrance-free. Keep in mind, it is a learning curve for many men to purchase what they may consider a “luxury item.”
To those interested in entering the pro beauty industry and focusing on barbering, Collins says, “Be prepared for some hand-holding, some cajoling but most of all have fun with this booming market.”
Harrison’s Gentlemen’s Solution opened July 2016 and is owned by stylist Eryn Harrison who also owns Calm, A Salon, which opened in 2005. Both are located in Oakland, CA.
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