This week marks the fifth anniversary of Jake Hunker’s Barbershop in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. To celebrate, Hunker is donating $5 for every haircut he completes, from March 30 to April 3, to the Railroad Street Youth Project.
Throughout Hunker’s high school career, he said in a recent interview, “I was never one to really be into my books. I was more of a hands-on person.” This characteristic spurred an interest in motorcycle mechanics, but his frequent visits to the barber shop before his basketball games and school dances proved a more promising direction for Hunker’s future.
After the sudden closure of Hunker’s previous employer, Sim’s, the barber shop formerly located on Main Street in Great Barrington, he “was forced to make the choice to either go into business for myself, or find another direction … I took the plunge, and here I am starting my fifth year.”
While Hunker was confident he could make his business successful, he always tried to “pay attention to what made my clients happy and what made people comfortable in the barber shop. It’s definitely been a journey, to say the least, but I’m grateful to say I’ve made it.”
Over the course of his five years in business, Hunker estimates he has acquired 150–200 clients and predicts that, as long as he has a full schedule next week, he should be able to donate $400–$500 to Railroad Street Youth Project.
Hunker decided to go with RSYP because its mission resonated with him. According to the RSYP website, the organization “excels in helping youth find their voice and realize the benefits of their commitment to themselves and their community.”
RSYP is very grateful for the donation Hunker plans to make. “We are so touched that Jake thought to give back to us,” said Tiffany Riva, RSYP director of development. “We send Jake big congratulations on five years of success.”
Riva applauds Hunker’s motivation and his connection to what RSYP stands for. “At the end of the day it’s about Jake, this young person stepping into a leadership position,” Riva said. “These are all the components Railroad Street has in its mission — the intergenerational support, community supporting community — so we are just delighted.”
Hunker’s donation, Riva said, “will go towards helping to keep Railroad Street sustainable. It’s
The residents of Berkshire County seem to truly appreciate Hunker’s work and business in general. Jake’s Barber Shop has earned a five-star rating on Booksy, with over 180 reviews. The page is filled with comments praising his work. Customer Nate C. writes: “Jake’s is the only place I’ll go to get my hair cut. He’s extremely friendly, attentive, and has a clean and relaxed atmosphere in his shop!”
Hunker recognizes the support he’s received over the years from the town of Great Barrington. “I just want to show my appreciation in more ways than just continuing to provide haircuts,” he said. “I want to give back a little bit. This whole town put me where I am now.”
If interested in booking an appointment at Jake’s Barber Shop, visit booksy.com or call 413-717-4238.
In a first for the global barber community, industry mogul Jay ‘Majors’ Raposo, creator of the CT Barber Expo, has launched the ‘Drive-in Education Seminar’ – which will take place on Sunday 18th October 2020.
Majors commented, “We can fit 200 vehicles at this particular facility located in central Connecticut. The cars will be spaced out for social distancing purposes and there will be food and adult beverages available for purchase.”
Given the particular challenges facing event hosts and creators throughout 2020 with the ongoing global pandemic, it’s refreshing to see such a unique concept being brought to life. We wish all involved the best of luck and can’t wait to hear all about it!
For more details please visit the CT Barber Expo instagram page here.
After a slight delay due to the country-wide lockdown, the Fellowship for British Hairdressing 2020 Sassoon Scholarship is now open for entry, with a new online element providing increased accessibility.
One lucky recipient will now be given the opportunity to choose two in-person Sassoon Academy courses, as well as two online Sassoon Academy courses. The winner will also receive a professional tool kit and can claim up to £50 per day towards travel and accommodation costs, courtesy of Denman International. On top of that, the Scholarship recipient will also receive PR profiling through the Fellowship.
Fellowship for British Hairdressing President Ken Picton says: “Vidal Sassoon was Patron of Honour for the Fellowship, and dedicated to supporting the next generation of hairdressing talent. The Sassoon Academy offers some of the best training in the world, but it’s not always within reach of every hairdresser. With this in mind, the Sassoon Scholarship was set up with the support of Denman International to make this world-class education available to all. We can’t wait to see this year’s applicants, and are delighted to be able to offer a life-changing education opportunity to one lucky recipient after what has been a challenging year for the industry.”
To apply, hairdressers need to fill out a form on the Fellowship for British Hairdressing’s website, outlining their career achievements to date and explaining why they think they deserve this incredible opportunity. The closing date for entries is Friday 18th September. After this date, 12 candidates will be interviewed online, with a shortlist announced on Friday 25th September. The judging panel will consist of members of the Fellowship Chancellery, as well as a representative from each supporting company. The judges’ decision is final.
Courses must be taken between October 2020 and May 2021 (subject to availability), and the scholarship is offered exclusively to Fellowship members.
As shops across the United States have begun to reopen, we know you’ll have more to think about than ever before – including how to keep your clients, your staff and yourselves safe.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) can be a major investment and Gillette wants to do its part for the barber community by providing equipment that can help better protect those of you back at work, along with your valued clients.
To help keep the barber community safe as shops are reopening, BarberEVO have teamed up with Gillette to donate 20,000 protective face shields to barbers across the United States.
This is part of a larger relief effort to support workers, relief agencies and communities on the front lines of this pandemic. To date, Gillette has produced and donated more than 300,000 face shields for health care workers in response to the needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lots of barbers across the US have received their face shields already:
“Shoutout to @Gillette for sponsoring our sweet new face shields! Shaves and facials have never been safer!”
Prodigy Salon// @prodigysalon
The Gillette face shields are great…Our clients love them and it gives them peace of mind to come in the shop to get a haircut – thank you!”
Marcus Williams// Marc Republic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“#Salute to BarberEVO & Gillette for donating these face shields to barbers!”
Sipp the Surgeon// The Art of Barbering, Grand Prairie, Texas.
“The face shields help me out so much by protecting my clients and I from spreading anything around. Knowing I’m protected allows me to be at peace when cutting, I’m not so worried about the virus and I can focus on the haircut and taking care of my clients.”
Josue Morales// Sway Styles, Detroit, Michigan.
“We love the new Gillette face shields! They’re super light and comfortable. Not only are they providing important extra protection for all the barbers, but our clients also appreciate them because it shows we’re taking their safety seriously as well.”
Erik Zaiatz// Bostonian Barbershop, Boston, Massachusetts.
On Friday 31st July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced changes to the guidelines of close-contact services offered in salons and barbershops. The services due to reopen on 1st August have been postponed for at least two weeks due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across England.
While the decision is likely to be reviewed on or around the 14th of August, the services postponed in England for the moment include:
Facials of any kind such as chemical peels, dermaplaning, microneedling, hydrafacials, LED therapy, laser therapy, and microcurrent
Eyelash extensions, tints, waxing, or lifts
Eyebrow waxing, tints or reshaping
Threading or waxing anywhere on the face, acupuncture on the face, and make-up application.
Beard trimming will still be allowed for the moment but should be limited to simple beard trims, thinning and removing bulk or length, with the appropriate PPE worn at all times.
These rules apply to all beauty and hair professionals, including freelancers, mobile professionals, and retail and session make-up artists.
For guidance on close-contact services across the UK, click here.
HAVING BEEN IN THE INDUSTRY FOR OVER 20 YEARS, IT’S SAFE TO SAY LAS VEGAS-BASED ELLIOTT CHESTER HAS A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE UNDER HIS BELT. BARBERING IS SO INGRAINED IN ELLIOTT’S WAY OF LIFE, HE BARELY REMEMBERS A TIME WHEN HE DIDN’T HAVE A PAIR OF CLIPPERS.
“I’ve always been a barber; my step-mom’s sister was married to this cat that cut his own hair, so there were always clippers in the house, so I just started cutting my own hair, my friends, people on the football team.”
As time went by, Elliott started taking regular trips to the barber with his dad, and in his sophomore year he was expelled from school for having his nickname shaved onto his head, despite the fact that a fellow student did the same thing and instead of being kicked out, his was considered ‘team spirit’. This led to a discrimination lawsuit against the school board, which became such a big deal in Arizona – where he was based at the time – that it was turned into an editorial cartoon in a paper.
The impact of the case drove him to become the barber he is today. “Not only through my hairstyle was I speaking up for my right to be different, but also my right to express myself, and it taught me that how you show yourself to the world is such a powerful thing.” After finishing school and spending some time in the local music scene, he needed a new direction and the one constant for him was his love of cutting hair. “I went to barber college in Bakersfield, California, and that was it, I just dumped all of my energy into it and it was something I became so passionate about.”
Bakersfield became his stomping ground for the first eight years of his career after graduation, working in salons where barbers worked alongside hairstylists in a shared space. Feeling limited by the small, conservative style of the town, Elliott started driving to and working weekends in Las Vegas where a friend of his owned a barbershop. “In Bakersfield I was charging $12 a cut, but in Vegas we were charging $20, so almost double, plus sometimes you’d get a $20 tip, so the move was a no-brainer.”
After working in his friend’s salon for just over a year, he read a salon magazine article about a barbershop in Caesar’s Palace (Truefitt & Hill), on the Las Vegas strip. “I had never seen anything like it, the barber chairs were beautiful, the barbers were all dressed in suits, they just looked dope…to me it was what barbering was supposed to be.”
Elliott, wearing shorts and a t-shirt at the time, immediately went out and got himself a suit just so he could feel adequately dressed to go into the shop and introduced himself as a barber and luckily, they were hiring. The master barber met him and offered him the opportunity to audition, which was, unsurprisingly, quickly followed up by a job offer, which turned into a year of incredible experiences.
From there, he was recruited by another barbershop on the strip, ‘The Art of Shaving,’ where he stayed for two years. “I really used that period as a time to learn and discover the style of barbering that I do, which is really catering to a higher-end clientele. It was like going back to school again and it made me realize what I wanted to do, which is when I stretched out and opened up Elliott and Company in December 2007.”
The shop, located just 15 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, takes inspiration from the old-school, traditional barbershops of the early 1900s. “I didn’t want it to be a throwback, I wanted to have those elements, but a modern representation of that.” Designed to be a welcoming space, rather than having all the chairs on one side of the room, the four chairs were across from each other to create open communication and group culture.
For Elliott, being a barber is about running a good business, to have a positive effect on the community and provide a great, relaxing experience. He has built up a diverse range of talented staff that reflects his wide client base so that everyone feels represented and welcome. “It’s not about me, or my shop, it’s about the customers, those guys are the stars, not me.”
“I made a conscious decision to put the retail section directly across from the seating areas so that when customers are waiting, they are looking directly at the retail products we offer, so they can maybe take home a piece of that barbershop experience with them,” Elliott explains, and this attitude to business has served him well as a Layrite ambassador.
“I had heard about Layrite before I met Donnie. I was introduced to the Layrite guys by Jay Majors at the International Beauty Show in Vegas and we hit it off real quick. I was looking for a good product line that I could really stand behind and I knew the history of Donnie and it meant a lot to me as a product line because a barber made it, it came from the barbering world. I wanted to support a product line that supports us as an industry, and the product works, Layrite Original Pomade is a staple.”
Establishing that relationship with Layrite meant a lot to Elliott because they understood what was going on in the barbering industry because they themselves were deeply entrenched in it.
“I was always really flattered if they asked for my feedback on products like the Natural Matte Cream or Cement Clay, you know they cared about my opinion. I just kept begging them for a decent shampoo and conditioner, not some ‘guys are lazy’ 3-in-1 bullshit, a real quality product and they listened and came out with a great shampoo and conditioner. Honestly, every product in their line is dope and it works really well, I use it every single time.”
Elliott was lucky enough to be in on the ground floor when Layrite began building the Band of Barbers with people like Jake Shipwreck, Kenny Duncan and more. “It was much more than just being sponsored by Layrite, it was a bunch of folk who really believe in education and in helping to grow the industry, so when they extended the invitation I was beyond honored. It’s the greatest professional honor of my career.”
CREATIVITY, RESOURCEFULNESS AND AN EYE FOR DETAIL ARE ONLY A FEW OF THE QUALITIES WHICH MADE MIGUEL ROSAS STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD AND BE NOTICED, NOW IN HIS THIRD YEAR AS A MEMBER OF THE WAHL EDUCATION AND ARTISTIC TEAM.
At just 19 years old, launching his own barbershop proved to be a steep learning curve for Miguel Rosas. However, the challenges and pitfalls of starting up a business so early on have only fuelled Miguel’s desire to learn, improve, and pursue his passion for the craft. Fast forward several years later, he is now part of the Wahl Education and Artistic Team, CEO of The New Style Barbershop and, as of February, a proud proprietor of his own barbering school, the New Style Hair Academy in Moline, Illinois. Miguel is without doubt a barber who perseveres through adversity and keeps on going.
Getting into business with an older and perhaps more streetwise business partner proved to be costly and set Miguel back considerably at such a young age. Things didn’t work out smoothly for his first barbershop attempt, but this didn’t deter him. Miguel quickly realized that there were gaps in his knowledge that needed to be filled in order for him to run a business successfully, in addition to having those crucial barbering skills. He enrolled in classes to cover essential business skills such as accounting, taxes and balancing the books. Miguel explains: “My next step was to open up a barbershop somewhere else in the area… this time round I wanted to make sure if I did it, I was just a lot more professional about it, so that was the reason why I took the classes.”
Miguel has been an avid participant in Barber Battles, having won over 25 trophies to date. Outgrowing the barbering challenges presented in his local area, he wanted to compete further afield in places such as Chicago, Texas and New York. He recalls, “I saw the Barber Battle and I thought, you know what? I want to do that. I want to go see how good I am compared to these guys in the bigger city.”
Having placed third in his first competition, Miguel was both scared and hooked by the experience in equal measures, and he was ready to compete again. Backed by a supportive group which included his hair models, they would drive on the road for up to 16 hours to attend competitions. These barber battles judged the ability of barbers on a myriad of different categories such as fastest fade, best portrait, best design, and best old-school style. It was at these earlier competitions that Miguel first met prominent figures from Wahl Professional, such as the late Isadore Adams.
Miguel notes the importance of strategy to his rising success in competitions. “I would choose people with really good hair, thick hair, hair with bleach to see the fade really nice – it’d stick out really well. It’s all about choosing the right canvas. You need to have a really good canvas, it’s really important when you’re doing a Barber Battle.”
Opportunities for television-wide publicity really took off for Miguel after his barbering skills were noticed by Lee Resnick from Barbershop Connect following a first-place competition win. Lee’s contacts in both the barbering and the television industry would boost Miguel into the limelight, having secured him a competing place on Cedric’s Barber Battle.
Miguel reflects: “Man, when I got that phone call I was super excited, getting a phone call from Beverly Hills from the producer, and he’s telling me all the details… I’m thinking, ‘I’ve made it’. It was definitely one of the most exciting journeys of my barbering career, knowing I was gonna be on T.V., the world was gonna see me, and I was gonna be able to put my barbering skills to the ultimate test.”
Following on from his television success, Miguel aspired to share the many skills and barbering techniques he had learnt along the way, and it seemed naturally fitting that he wanted to work for a five-star brand such as Wahl Professional as a hair design educator. Miguel really went the extra mile to get his name noticed within the company. He took the initiative by reaching out via social media to express his interest in the role, but it was one striking haircut that really made him stand out from the crowd – a portrait of then Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta.
“I went to the game in Chicago, I was in the very last seat, all the way up in the very top. I had my friend’s son with me that I did the design on. I said, ‘let’s try and get down on the field somehow.’ So we did, we just started pushing through everybody. Finally, they let him go onto the field and he ran up to Jake Arrieta. Some people think that was set up, like we were invited onto the field – it wasn’t like that.” Demonstrating his skill set was something that Miguel had always gone above and beyond to do, and it had finally paid off.
The haircut went viral across social media, and was re-shared by both Major League Baseball and The Cubs on Instagram, garnering thousands of likes and comments, in addition to interviews by Fox 32, ABC, and Univision. As a self-taught artist who favors the Wahl Professional Detailer as his trimmer of choice, this just goes to show how far skill, creativity, perseverance and the right tools can get someone.
Miguel recalls that he was contacted by a representative from Wahl Professional, who told him that he posted a lot of good work and had a positive attitude – they were ready to talk to him about joining the Wahl Professional team. “And that’s kinda how that happened. It kinda just went from there,” he says.
Included in his portfolio of hair art are figures ranging from LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers, Anthony Rizzo and Floyd Mayweather to Bernie Sanders; even Colonel Sanders from KFC, which impressed one district manager enough to gift Miguel a prestigious card to receive free KFC food for life.
Miguel’s hair portraits are influenced by the work of barbers such as Radames Perez and Rob the Original, who were big inspirations in terms of portrait detailing. “Once I’d seen that this was possible, I just said, ‘well, shoot’, you know? If they can do it, I can do it. So I just started practising and I started off doing basic stencilized pictures of people’s faces; once I got good at doing the stencilized version of their face I would then start blending and fading, and creating detail with my clippers so that it would make it more lifelike, rather than a stencil or a cartoon look.”
This affinity for hair design has held Miguel in good stead throughout his career to date, however, he emphasizes that he’s not a one-trick pony. Whilst Miguel is confident with every aspect of men’s hair, hair detailing is his creative outlet. He states: “Some of the stuff you see, I didn’t do it because I was getting paid. I did it for my own satisfaction and being able to use a different type of medium when it comes to art… it’s not your bread and butter as a barber.”
Miguel has leapt towards every barbering opportunity and when there wasn’t one, he created it for himself through education and social networking savvy. His drive and attention to detail make him an excellent member of the Wahl Education and Artistic Team, for which he is now busy educating the next generation of skilled barbers in the use of premium Wahl Professional tools.
As barbershops across the UK & Ireland and North America enter lockdown, Anna Elliott, barber and owner of Doc’s Barbershop in Shanghai, has re-opened her doors. She shares exclusively with BarberEVO her experience of Covid-19, self isolation, and the joy of returning behind the chair.