BarberEVO Magazine

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Karen Carruth

Wisconsin barber hits the road

A Wisconsin native came up with a unique idea for a business and decided to start it up in his hometown. 

Mitchell Thomas is a barber, which means he’s in the business of making people look and feel good. For him it’s a passion that soon turned into a golden opportunity.

“When barbers were not essential for seven weeks you have a lot of time to think and I feel like in hard times you have to innovate,” Blacktop Barbershop owner Mitchell Thomas said.

Innovate is what he did. The inside of his barber shop looks a bit different, that’s because it’s inside a bus. Mitchell decided to convert a bus into a mobile barber shop that commutes around south eastern Wisconsin. He thought it was a one-of-a-kind idea and he could come to the customer, which is extremely valuable during a pandemic.

He may only be a month in, but is excited to see where his business goes.

“Every step along the way has been challenging but that’s kind of the thing with starting something new,” Thomas said. “You have to blaze a trail. It looks cool but it’s a lot of work getting it started and I’m definitely happy I decided to do it.”

For one of his customers who has been there from the start of his career, his grandpa, he says watching him start his own business is truly a proud moment.

“I think it’s very rewarding for me because I’ve watched him from the very beginning, build his career,” his grandfather, Thomas Marco, said.

Now he gets to watch him in a new chapter, while still cashing in on those free cuts.

The drive for cutting perfection keeps Washi at the top

Marc Milman’s passion for cutting perfection drives Washi to the top

When it comes to thriving – not merely surviving – in the beauty business, it takes nerves of steel. “I broke into the beauty industry not knowing that this would be what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” confesses Washi founder/CEO Marc Milman.

“I just dove in headfirst. Back in 1986 I stumbled upon a career sharpening shears, and just a few years later, I bought Washi!”

At the time, Washi was a fledgling company, but thanks to Milman’s swan dive into the deep end, it’s now at the top of its game. Thanks in part to his quarter century in the business, the company’s product roster contains some of the most popular shears on the market, including the AX Ultimate, and Milman is continually creating new scissors that cater to stylists’ every need. (Milman relates that Washi will be launching a revolutionary new design slated to hit the market soon.)

But how do Washi shears manage to snip away at the competition?

“It’s our Hitachi steel. Unfortunately, our industry is plagued by companies claiming that their scissors are forged with Hitachi – which is the finest steel available – when they are not. The burden of finding quality shears ultimately falls on stylist’s shoulders.”

Quality ingredients aside, Milman prides himself on the individual attention that he gives to each set of scissors. “I inspect all shears before they go out the door,” he says. “And if a stylist ever says that his or her shears aren’t performing correctly, I personally adjust the product.”

With this hands-on mentality, it’s no wonder that Milman’s carved out an indelible niche in the pro-beauty world.

Chock up Milman’s success to the mantra that’s made his company a cut above: “The day I stop learning is the day that I’ll fail.”

NHBF addresses concern over footballer’s perfect hairstyles

There is increasing concern from the hairdressing industry and the public over the number of professional footballers sporting immaculate haircuts and so the NHBF has raised the issue with the Professional Footballers’ Association, the English Football League, The Premier League and the Football Association.

Over the past week, the NHBF has been contacted by members of the public raising their concerns that professional football players appear to have had fresh haircuts, despite the mandated closure of hair salons and barbershops.

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF says, “Of course, we realise that some of the players may have cut their own hair, or had it cut by someone within their bubble, but there seems to be a growing assumption that they must have knowingly broken the rules.”

In an open letter to each of the professional football organisations, the NHBF has asked them to remind players that current regulations mean that hair stylists and barbers, whether premises based or freelance, are not permitted to offer any services at the moment. 

Richard continues, “Hairdressers and barbers have a responsibility to comply with the rules, and it’s our job to make sure they understand what that means.  There is no exemption for sportspeople, so when the public see people who appear to think that the rules don’t apply to them, it really hits a nerve. With the whole country struggling as the pandemic continues, it’s important that those in the public eye are sensitive to the need to show that we are all playing our part.

It is also important to stress the reasoning behind the regulations themselves, which is to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives. Looking specifically within football, each time a player flouts the rules and gets a haircut, they increase the risk of getting and transmitting the disease, which in turn puts the rest of the squad and team staff at risk.  As we have seen, this can lead to matches being cancelled, putting pressure on other clubs and even the wider competition.”

Those providing their services in a professional capacity as part of those sectors that remain open can continue to operate. For example, make-up artists in film and TV production, and on fashion shoots. However, these services cannot be carried out in premises required to close.

New date for CT Barber Expo X

With uncertainty hanging over all events this year, the organisers of the CT Barber Expo X have decided to move the event date back to August 2021. The following announcement was released:

To Our Current & Previous Valued Guests,

     With recent discussions with the State of Connecticut officials, Mohegan Sun Casino management and current state of the pandemic, we are rescheduling the date of the Connecticut Barber Expo X. The dates of the event will now be Saturday, August 14, 2021, through Monday, August 16, 2021. The date change will allow for the current surge to subside and allow more time for individuals to be vaccinated. 

     The event will continue to take place at Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino. This will allow for hotel, plenty of dining options and social distance protocols. For hotel room booking, you may call 1.888.777.7922 or use the following link Mohegan Sun Hotel  for special room pricing. To purchase tickets on Eventbrite, please click on the following link. All competition registration entries have been transferred to the new dates as well.

     Again, we apologize for the inconvenience. We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe during this time. 

Sincerly,  CTBE Staff

Any further updates will be fully covered within the pages of BarberEVO magazine and on our social media platforms.

UK salon owners to lose £124m per week under new restrictions

The National Hair & Beauty Federation is warning that the government may have just placed the final nail in the coffin for already struggling salons and barbershops without urgent and targeted financial support. This stark warning comes as the new Tier and Level 4 restrictions are set to cost hair and beauty businesses across the UK more than £124million per week in lost income, killing off many previously profitable businesses, and making thousands of people unemployed. (see table below)

The NHBF Key Industry Statistics 2020 report demonstrates the continued growth of the hair and beauty industry prior to COVID-19. This is in contrast with November NHBF data which indicated 62% of salon owners could not be sure their business would survive until the end of the financial year in April 2021, and almost a third of that number (18%) explicitly sure they would have to close.

The report, compiled in exclusive association with the Local Data Company (LDC), shows that at the beginning of the year barbershops, beauty salons and nail salons were the top three retail categories that saw the highest growth in the UK – above supermarkets, coffee shops, takeaways and pizza shops.

According to the Office for National Statistics there are nearly 45,000 hair and beauty salon businesses in the UK (a rise of over 1,000 since last year), which generated over £8bn in turnover in 2018, up from £7.5bn in 2017.

And the industry had continued to prop up ailing high streets, with hair and beauty businesses pre COVID-19 having higher survival rates after five years than many other sectors, in particular nail salons whose survival rate after five years was 69%.

Richard Lambert, NHBF chief executive said, “The Key Industry Statistics report paints a picture of a strong and growing industry with business survival rates bucking the decline of the high street. It is characterised by a high percentage of female entrepreneurs, supporting young people into careers and its posiive approach to flexible working.

However, this was before the coronavirus pandemic and we know from our recent targeted surveys that the majority of hair and beauty professionals are struggling to recoup their losses from lockdowns, implementing social distancing measures and the costs of increased PPE. Whilst we appreciate these are all necessary, the sector has not received any additional financial support such as those gifted to the arts, the sports sector, leisure or hospitality. Businesses simply cannot continue on this basis and we are continuing our pressure on the government to recognise this. Financial help to salons and professionals during this difficult time will be the only way to ensure the hair and beauty sector can return to where it was at the beginning of 2020.”

Cost per region:

RegionNumber of SalonsLost Revenue Per Week
London7,015 £16million
South East5,425£35million
North East2,020£5million
North West5,425£17million
East Midlands2,980£11million
West Midlands3,815£14million
Total England £98million
Northern Ireland1,560£3million
Total UK £124million

The full statistical tables are available free to NHBF Members, or for £250 to non-members.

24-hour charity cut-athon for Edinburgh barber

Fancy a haircut at 3am? Well, thanks to Edinburgh based salon Stag Barber Co , you can do just that – and all for an amazing cause.

Earlier this month gender-free salon Stag shared the heart-breaking story of their team member Nicole, who suffered the loss of her child at 29 weeks.

On the 23rd of December, owner of Stag, Murray McRae, will be cutting hair for 24-hours straight, with all profits going towards SIMba, a baby loss charity whose memory box helped Nicole and her partner Jordan during their difficult time.

Murray will be standing on the spot, scissors flying from 08.30am on Wednesday all the way through to 08.30am on Christmas Eve.

The salon team came up with the idea after their plan to give £1 from every December appointment to SIMba has been cut short by the impending lockdown.

“2020 has felt like a marathon as it is,” said owner Murray McRae,

“We heard about salons and barbershops in London working round the clock to get clients in before lockdown. So we thought why not do something similar – but for a good cause.

“SIMba was an unbelievable help to our Nicole when she lost her first child Isaac.  To commemorate his birth, and to celebrate the birth of her daughter Iva, born almost a year to the date after the loss, we wanted to give her this Christmas gift.”

Haircuts will be the usual price with all ‘after-hours’ profits going to SiMBA. In-house coffee shop Stag Espresso will be on hand with free coffee to fuel Murray and his early hours customers through the trims. Murray will be in full marathon running wear complete with sweat bands etc on the day and throughout the night.

Barbers and hairdressers in Scotland are required to close their doors for three weeks from Boxing Day following the announcement of the country’s post-Christmas Day full lockdown.

You can book your appointment here – or, if you can’t make it along, you can donate to Stag’s JustGiving page for SiMBA here.