BarberEVO Magazine

Be part of the Barber EVOlution

Andrew Brewster

Cut it Out

The owner of the barbering institution, Astor Place Hair Stylists, in the East Village of New York City — whose loyal customers include celebrities and even Mayor Bill de Blasio — is pleading with New York lawmakers to eliminate the 4.5% sales tax on haircuts to help stylists get over the COVID-19 crisis.

“City barbers and hairdressers are being unfairly singled out for a punitive tax, yet they are among the hardest-working New Yorkers who are least able to afford it,” said owner of the establishment Jonathan Trichter.

“New York City taxes haircuts, hair coloring, blow drying, wet shaves, hair restorations, permanents and straightenings at a rate of 4.5%. If the city asked the state to snip that tax, I will pass on the savings to our barbers and hairstylists, increasing their pay by 4.5 percent.”

The hair industry was brought to its knees over the last year and a bit due to COVID-19. Barbershop and salon owners have struggled to keep their businesses afloat during this time. This plea comes desperately to provide some chance to give those effected a chance to become stable once again.

The state Tax Department of New York City has confirmed that NYC is the only city to have the tax active currently.


Sunday, No Longer a Day of (Ar)Rest

In New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on July 13 ending an near century-old  state-wide law prohibiting barbering on Sundays – a law that was barely enforced.

“This is the very definition of an archaic and meaningless law that makes little to no sense in the 21st century,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement on Tuesday the 13th of July. “While not routinely enforced, I’m more than happy to sign this repeal into law and allow these businesses to determine what days they choose to operate.”

The bipartisan bill by two upstate lawmakers, both Republican state Senator Joseph Griffo and Democratic Assembly Member Billy Jones respectively, repealed the section of the state’s General Business Law that forbids anyone from participating “in the business of shaving, hair cutting or other work of a barber on the first day of the week.”

Anyone who was caught breaking said law were subject to fines of $5 (the first offense), $10 (the second), and $25 for the third infraction which also could have resulted in 10-25 days of jail time.

The statute was largely the remnant of the far bygone puritanical era, the lawmakers wanted to remove the ban to assist those effected by both the law and COVID-19, as this nearly crippled the barbering and salon industry during the outbreak.

Griffo said “Barbershops and salons, like all small businesses, have faced significant, unprecedented and strenuous challenges during the coronavirus pandemic”, he continues “By removing outdated and unnecessary laws such as this, these businesses will be provided with an additional opportunity to recover financially as we work to rebuild our local and state economies.”

Haircuts for Peace

Andre’s Barber Shop recently gave free haircuts to its local community members on Monday as part of their initiative to take a step towards peace in their city of Rochester, New York. The barbershop owner, Andre Morrison, says that his mission is to educate the younger generation about how they can use preventive skills pertaining to violent situations.

“Some of the more negative images are placed out here especially for the youth, that’s what they see and that’s what they pick up so it’s important for us as community members and leaders to put out positive situations that they can follow,” said Morrison.

The room was a buzz, with both people and clippers that is, for the “cuts for peace” initiative. Not only did the kids get goodies such as haircuts, snacks, and balloons. This was also an opportunity to have an open conversation about what violence is, and what types of violence they may have been exposed to.

“We asked them questions, ‘OK what do you think some of the causes of this violence out here is?” and “What do you think some of the answers to solving it can be?” Morrison said.

The barbershop also teamed up with the Rochester Police Department, who also came along to the event, not only to answer any questions but to offer “Safe Child Identification Cards” – these are created by by scanning fingerprints, the information is logged in the New York State Safe Child database in case of an emergency.


Next Stop, Haircut

Myke Cummings, the co-owner of Barber Metrix with his wife Domina have been operating a new style of barbershop on wheels.

“I operate my business as a judgment free zone. We have real good conversation, positive conversation,” said Cummings. He then continues “I used to work in a barbershop with a lot of people, a lot of co-workers. I didn’t feel safe working in that environment when Corona hit, so me and Domina, my business partner, we got creative and came up with this concept,”

Since the beginning of 2021 they have worked from a nearly ruined bus parked at W 125 Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in New Work. 

“When we got the vehicle we had to take out rows of chairs that was in here because it was rows of seats, you know, this was like a church bus,” said Myke.

After months of renovating the floors and installing seats for clients, they hit the ground running, or driving, last Christmas Eve. 

“The first couple of days that we actually opened it was a little nerve-racking,” said Domina Lazaro, co-owner of Barber Metrix. “We weren’t sure how people were going to take our business. After the first couple of weeks, we started to see the clients come in. We got so many more walk-ins than the last place he was cutting hair at.”

The couple joins the growing number of other mobile barbershops popping up throughout Harlem. Linwood Dillard is known as ‘Da Barber Godd’ and claims he’s the first mobile barbershop in the neighbourhood.

Chase for Barbershop Killer Still Continues

More than a week has passed since after a fatal shooting at a Goose Creek barber shop in South Carolina (USA), police have now reported to say they believe the suspect is still in the vicinity of the area where it all took place.

Goose Creek Police Chief, L.J. Roscoe, told Live 5 News, local new station to the area, on Sunday the department has heard from a person claiming to be an attorney representing the suspect in question, 24-year-old Dominique Jamar Denaro Jefferson. However, said person has not provided proof they are actually representing him.

Jefferson is wanted in connection with the shooting that took place on July 3 shooting at the Cream of the Crop Barbershop, that left 21-year-old Rae’Jay Palmer dead. Investigators have stated that Palmer was at the barbershop getting his hair cut when the suspect, later identified as Jefferson, entered the shop. Jefferson then approached Palmer, this then led to the two of them had a verbal altercation, according to a report.

The report states that the argument escalated into a physical altercation and Palmer tried to run toward the back of the shop, police say this is when he was shot. There was other patrons within the barbershop at the time also, however no one else was harmed during this altercation.

There was a vigil planned in the name of putting a stop to gun violence on Sunday 11th of July, however this was cancelled last minute.


Barber for England Football Team Offers Free Haircuts

Former England Football Team barber is offering free haircuts to customers ahead of the Euro 2020 Final. The barber, Simon Townley, used to cut Gareth Southgate’s hair before the 2018 World Cup Semi-Final in Russia.

Townley runs the aptly named Simon Townley Salon in Burnley Lancashire and found the inspiration for the promotion following England’s 2-1 victory against Denmark, and the subsequent drinks that followed – making the offer official by posting it on his Facebook page.

He then woke up to a plethora of messages from people holding him to his very generous offer, and with Final between England and Italy round the corner, it was time to make good on his word.

So far, the biggest trend in these free cuts is to get ‘the Phil Foden’, who’s signature is a bleach blonde buzzcut.

“I’ve done it to a couple of footballers in the past – we’ve done it at the end of the season – and the start of the next season they go into training and I’ve had to dye it back dark, because it takes some cojones” Townley told PA News Agency.

He then continues “(Foden’s) first major tournament, to walk in with that haircut, what a guy. Very cool.”

Townley then reflects on his time spent working with the England Football Team and where it all started “The first time I ever went anywhere with the England squad was in the Euros in 2016 in France, I was doing (goalkeeper) Tom Heaton’s hair at the time – basically he dropped me a message saying do you fancy coming to France? A few of the lads want a haircut.”

Members of Chile Football Club Break Bubble for Barber

Members of the Chile football club have been fined after inviting a barber into their Copa America bubble. This bubble design is to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, and by inviting said barber in they have broken the terms of the bubble – the members have been fined by the Chilean Football Federation (FFC) on Sunday 4th of July.

It has been reported by the FFC that none of the members of the team have tested positive for COVID-19 after the incident, however they acknowledged the error in their judgement in a small statement.

The statement released by the FFC said the following: “recognizes the violation of the health bubble of the squad participating at Copa America, with the unauthorized entry of a barber who, despite his negative PCR test, should not have made contact with the players.”

The statement then concluded “We regret what brought us to this situation and we inform that all members of the squad tested negative for the virus on Saturday”, they did not name any of the Chile team members involved but they did specify that all parties have been fined.

Chile coach Martin Lasarte said that “It was an error, a temerity, but that is over now,” and continued with that the members of his team that done this made “a serious mistake.

Chile is one of four teams that has had to isolate due to COVID outbreaks, the other three being Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela. It has also been reported that one of Peru’s Fitness Coaches has tested positive for the virus.

* Information from Reuters and the Associated Press was used in this report

NHBF Launches #Shaping the Future of the Industry

The NHBF has dedicated July to the new generation of hair and beauty apprentices and learners just starting out in their career. Its annual Industry Statistics Survey has shown a decline in the number of hair & beauty apprentices year on year since 2018 so NHBF want to start a debate, asking, as an industry in flux, what could the future of hairdressing look like, and is it what we want? 

What is the impact of the rise of the self-employed hairdresser?

Individual self-employed people are unlikely to hire anyone else, especially a trainee. Salon owners who hire only self-employed staff are equally unlikely to invest in training an apprentice, who won’t deliver income into the salon for around two years. 

However, we are seeing the emergence of a hybrid salon model, where most of the stylists are self-employed and the salon invests in apprentices supporting them as fledgling stylists, growing their skills and confidence until they are ready to become self-employed.

Has the cost of employing apprentices become a major barrier to people coming into the industry?  

Recent surveys have shown salon owners reluctant to take on apprentices because they are “all cost and no revenue” for up to two years.  

Salons are unable to afford to take older learners due to having to pay the higher rate of National Minimum Wage (NMW) after the first year. 

The Government’s latest Skill Recovery Package, whilst welcomed, offers just £3,000 for new employees of any age who start their apprenticeship from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021.

However, a typical 16-18yr old apprentice full time wage for 24 months (the period of the apprenticeship) costs around £14,660 and a typical wage for an apprentice aged 19+ is around £20,800, so this funding provides no real incentive for employers, especially during this difficult financial period.

Does government have a proper understanding of the sector when it sets the rules for apprenticeships?

Probably not, as employers are not able to claim the apprenticeship incentive payments if they take on existing Saturday or part-time staff because they are not considered “new” employees, effectively removing the incentive from one of the traditional entries into the industry.   

What will be impact of the imminent introduction of T-Levels in England?  

The government’s preferred route for 16-19-year-olds is mainly classroom-based and requires learners to demonstrate ‘threshold’ competence, ie the very basic level. 

Anything short of full competence isn’t attractive to salon owners, who are asking whether T-levels will create a generation who have the technical skills, but are not ‘salon-ready’, and will need be trained in these skills whilst also being a fully-paid worker. If T-levels get a poor reputation, that won’t help public perception of hairdressing and beauty as a revered and viable profession. 

Are school-leavers actually interested in a career in hairdressing or beauty?  

Employers may be worrying about the cost at the moment, but could they find the candidates if they wanted them? There is anecdotal evidence of salons that are taking on more apprentices to cope with demand post-lockdown and a rise in interest in hair and beauty as a career. However, others say that the emphasis by schools on academic routes to college and university puts many young people off more vocational careers.

And ultimately what does lack of new talent coming in to or being supported by the industry mean for clients in the future? 

If the majority are seen as less skilled or competent, will those with expertise be able to name their price? A nation of awful hair – imagine! UK hairdressing, and UK hairdressing education, is regarded as the best in the world – it would be a shame to lose that accolade.

Richard Lambert, NHBF chief executive says, “If there is a positive from COVID, it is the elevated profile of hair, and we must use this to ensure a successful future for the industry. What we need is for all hair & beauty professionals, from salon owners to those just starting out, to join in the conversation and let us know your thoughts.”

 Join the conversation 




Barber Closes Shop After 64 Years

One of South-Jersey’s most well-seasoned barbering establishments will finally close its doors after over six decades of service to its community.

Donald Thompson, who has been cutting hair at Don’s Barber Shop for 64 years, says “I enjoy what I do. So consequently, I didn’t really consider this a job”.

Don started his career in 1954, starting as an apprentice as under the tutelage of local barbers, and after starting up his own store 1957 many of his clients would follow with him.

I’ve got lots of good people and they’re friends, they weren’t so much customers,” he added.

Carl Shaw, who has trusted Thompson with his hairstyle since he was a child, and a very loyal friend and client to the shop says “He cut my dad’s hair. I came here as a little boy. We’ve been friends ever since,” said Shaw, who is 70 years old. “Don was in the Army and I was in the Air Force, and so, we talk a lot about the service.”

Don’s Barbershop houses many, many trinkets and collectables, and history buff Shaw has always found them to add to the allure of the shop, making it a museum of sorts and stable of the town in so many ways.

Mr Thompson says “I enjoyed it, and people knew that I enjoyed it, so a lot of people contributed to me,” he said. “Old telephones, old shaving mugs, antique bottles, pictures, a little bit of everything.” He continues “I’ve sold probably 75-80% of what I had already. We had 15-20 people a day come in here and buy things.

Having worked all of his life, Mr Thompson hopes he can finally enjoy the spoils of retirement however he does know himself, and has stated he will get “clipper itch” and has already been offered part-time work another establishment.

Time flew and I don’t have any regrets about going here in the first place,” he said. “I was very fortunate and very happy and my children were happy. A nice life.

Westminster Announces COVID Restriction End

On Monday the 5th of July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the government will be releasing plans for a four-step roadmap, starting the 19th of July 2021, on moving the country towards a COVID restriction-free state.

Moving forward we will keep you up to date in all things relating to this matter, both domestically and nationwide.

We will be posting all blog posts to our Facebook, so make sure to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ us there for all the newest information on this new announcement.