Q&A: The Wndrlnd Interviews LBP's Tev Finger
The Wndrlnd tour sends veteran stylists around the country to party, give back and educate with local salons.
The traveling stylists spend one day facilitating a pop-up shop with stylists from the chosen local salon and give free haircuts in exchange for donations to the charitable organization of the salon's choosing. For more info and a complete list of tour dates and locations, visit thewndrlnd.com.
A few months ago, I received a text message that read, "Watch this." Next, I received a link.
Knowing the deliverer of said text message, I made the decision to be dive head-first into this rabbit hole. Within those few seconds it took for the page to load, I thought of so many things. How far will this take me down? Is this what they meant by, “…take me down to funky town…”? What if its something I just can’t unsee, like any Lindsay Lohan movie in the past five years?
That’s when I was introduced to Tev Finger. I didn’t know who he was at the time; I only knew the dude on my screen who seemed like a genius. After all, who would’ve thought to create a talk show for the hair industry only broadcast through the Internet? I’ve had a lot of great ideas that seemed larger than life, but Late Night with Tev Finger definitely takes the cake. Plus, he has his own IMDB page.
It’s not often you get to have a convo with someone who helped to found Bumble & Bumble, sell his portion and create a whole new brand just because he felt he could do more for the people in this industry. This is how that conversation went.
Wndrlnd Q&A with Tev Finger
WNDRLND: What book has most impacted you?
FINGER: This might sound corny, and I’m a little embarrassed to say it. It's a book called The Four Agreements. It’s about four things you should always do, like honesty, being up front, etc. It’s a very quick read, but I've always remembered it. I thought then and still think know that if the world operated that way, it would be a happier place.
It’s not a literary masterpiece like War and Peace. Sometimes in life, the simple things in life are what you get the most out of.
W: What do you do to unwind and decompress?
F: I’m new to parenting, and I have two-and-half-year-old twins. I was a late starter. I’m 42, but this has completely changed my life. Before this, I was a broken record about how great my life was. But now I’m finding all these new emotions and feelings. And my kids treat me like complete sh*t! It’s remarkable how low on the totem pole I am, but it’s humbling, and that’s great.
My kid told me the other day, “Can you go away from me now?” I was like, “What? What did you just say to me?” She said again, “Yeah, go away from me!” I just walked away. I got kicked out of a room by a two-year-old. When you hit those kind of lows, nothing can slow you down in life.
W: What is one thing you do that people think is crazy, and why do you do it?
F: In January, when I came up with the idea for the show, every one of my partners at work, employees, my wife and my good friends we like “WHAT THE F^%# are you doing?” People couldn’t get past the expense, and they were unable to see the benefit.
I truly felt someone needed to step up and be a connector and lead by example to connect the beauty world together, drop all the BS. I’m inviting everybody to come on, talk about their brand, talk about what they do. If we can unify a little more, we can leave the little things behind that keep us from growing as an industry as a whole.
I also looked at it as a challenge. I have never done a TV thing before; I’ve never done any acting, or anything like that.
W: Oh, I know, we could tell…
F: Hahaha, thank you, thank you. So it was more of, “Why can’t we do a hair-salon industry late-night show?” Everything I heard was why we couldn’t, which was just fear. Fear of failure, but so what? At least it’ll be fun. Since doing this, everyone we have invited has said yes, and I have been able to meet the most incredible people. I’ve learned more about this hair industry than I learned in the past 30 years.
W: What advice would you give your 30-year-old self?
F: I was very money-driven at 30, but I wish I was more like I am today. Less about the money and more about the relationships and experiences of life. Around that age, I had sold my portion of B&B. I was young with a lot of money, and it really took a decade for me to realize that it was kind of depressing. I can’t believe this is what I worked so hard for. I know it sounds cliche, but my kids really helped me with my perspective. So, basically I would go back in time and tell myself , “Chill the F*#& out, Tev!”
W: When you think of a person being successful, who is the first person who comes to mind?
F: Warren Buffet. From a financial perspective, he’s like the second-richest man in the world. What is most interesting is that he has pledged to give away everything to charity when he dies, which is unbelievable. This guy is changing the paradigm of what wealthy used to mean.
Another thing is his lifestyle. He drives the same little Ford pickup truck. He’s completely unaffected by the money, which is pretty amazing. This might not seem an attractive part of the interview for hairdressers, but it should be. Here’s a guy who has achieved a level that most never will, and he’s still wearing the same droopy clothes, same house, same car. He’s not a Kardashian.
W: What are you excited about right now?
F: The way that technology has thrust itself in to the salon industry via social media. The paradigm of the salon suites/rentals and commission salons. All the laws being passed in California. There's so much going on right now that will have a monumental impact on the future of this industry.
I love history, and what I’ve learned is the in anytime in history when there's huge amounts of change, it’s exciting! That's where we are right now. It seems like people are so emotionally charged, and they’re picking sides. I’m excited about possibly being in the position to be the little light at the end of then tunnel. Not that one side is right or wrong, both sides have their pros and cons. You can adapt to the change and be wildly successful.
There’s a revolution going on led by the younger mindset. I know it scares the s**t out of people, but they shouldn’t be scared. They should welcome it.
W: In August 2015, you did an interview with MODERN SALON where you likened LBP's Front Row to Coachella. I don’t remember anyone being set on fire at Front Row this year. Is that something you will be adding to the show next year?
F: Haha! You might not have seen anyone on fire on stage, but you didn’t see what as going on in the back room! I have to tell you, that was the best event times 1,000. Not just because it was our event; I’ve never received feedback like that in my life. It was one of those magical moments in your career that you get scared you might not be able to top.
I have an idea for the next one. I want to do it on a cruise ship—rent a cruise ship and deck it out all things hair and hair industry.
W: What is your exit strategy for your brands and LBP as a whole?
F: We haven’t put any thought in to anything like that. We’re still in such a growth stage. We’re in that the time period, the first five years, of a brand where all the growth is the most exciting. We would have to want to sell.
W: It seems like so many people are quick to build and sell in this industry.
F: Sometime things appreciate over time significantly, and most people are going to hold out. They will take the money, let's be honest. The way I see it is that you should never really want to sell. If you only build to sell, you’re going to build a crappy brand. Always live in that great time period and build as much value as you can, then let destiny handle the rest.
W: Who are some guests we have to look forward to on LNWTF?
F: We have some great guests. Pope the Barber, Rob the Original and James Pecis from Oribe. We’re doing an editors show with MODERN SALON, Ocean Drive magazine, our on-location correspondent, Michelangelo.
W: Last question, what’s your favorite curse word?
F: Definitely F#^*! Without a doubt. My wife yells at me every day.
Why Tev, what's next?
The first time I knew Tevya Finger was a Wndrlnd type of person was when he completely called himself out on his own show and ran with it.
During the Larisa Love episode, Tev was interviewing Smith & Cult creator Dineh Mohajer. He misread his cards and told Dineh she had juvenile diabetes, when in reality, she was promoting charity work to help fight juvenile diabetes, Everyone just started to laugh, and Tev threw his head on to his desk in utter embarrassment and laughed at himself, too.
Tev could have edited that part out, but he left it in there. I respected what had just happened because as an artist, I challenge myself to put myself out there every day. I see my stylists questioning themselves on a minute-by-minute basis—but not questioning yourself like double-checking your work in math class. More like, "Will the filter cover this up if it doesn’t turn out?”
The most impactful artists in history all have one thing in common: They bared their souls and left everything open to interpretation. Tev’s slip-up was an important part of the show. and re-enacting is not in the cards for him. It has to be genuine and from the heart. He recognized that and just said, “F#$% IT.” That’s when I knew I had to talk to him.
Now we’re off to the world-famous Premiere Orlando in Florida. Be sure to check us out on Snapchat @thewndrlnd. If you keep up with us, you might hear something regarding a secret pop-up shop at the Hyatt across from the convention center.
Listen, our motto is PARTY-EDUCATE-GIVE BACK, so you know we’re going to do all three as hard as possible. Also, the hypothetical pop-up shop will definitely be on Facebook Live. Tune in to see who we’ve invited.
The great thing is that none of these guests know what kind of hair they’re working on. Hell, neither do we.