Barbering Techniques Class at Jake’s Place – Day 1

I recently had the opportunity to teach a barbering techniques class at Jake’s Place which is an upscale barber shop and men’s spa in Norfolk, Virginia. The barbershop is immaculate and has an incredible staff, management, and ownership. The two day class was a combination of look and learn and hands on. The goal was to learn new men’s hair cutting techniques as well as improve face shaving skills. We covered so much material I decided to make this a two part blog series.

Barbering Techniques Class at Jake’s Place – Day 1

Day 1 Morning Session: Look and Learn

The motivated staff came in on Sunday (which was their day off) and we started off with introductions to get to know each other before we got started. I  like to get a little background on everyone and what their trouble areas are so I make sure to address them along with my already prepared presentation. Next, we moved on to the look and learn portion of the day. The first client was growing out a buzz cut so it was the perfect opportunity to show the staff one of the most popular men’s hairstyle’s named “The Princeton”. I was able to demonstrate fading techniques which almost completely eliminate the blending step by starting with the larger blades and fading down in stead of up. This way you never make a line in your haircut so there is no need to blend it out. Then we had a traditional business cut model where I was able to demonstrate the scissor over comb and clipper over comb techniques. We also had a chance to talk about the importance of head shape, face shape, and natural hairlines vs. tapered hairlines. The last model of the morning was a bald fade finished off with a straight razor on the sides and back of the head. This gave me a chance to demonstrate how to fade down without leaving a line again with the smaller blades. The biggest issue the staff was having was fading out the line they were making with the straight razor. I was able to add one step to solve their problem. I shaved the head with a foil shaver first which cuts a lot closer than a trimmer. This way when you shave the head with the razor you do not put a line in.

Day 1 Afternoon Session: Hands on Haircuts

The afternoon session was a lot of fun but very busy. All 12 staff members had models coming with only six chairs. This gave each staff member a chance to do a haircut while their partner watched. It was my job to go back and forth between stations and supervise. I started out by conducting the consultation with each barber before they began the haircut so I could instruct them the best way to approach the haircut and which new barbering techniques they learned from the morning session to use. We had many challenging heads of hair to work with. Their were a few haircuts that stood out the most for me due to their level of difficulty. The first model was our Asian American model. His hair was so straight we had to decide how high to bring up the fade and what to do with the top to create a visual blend. We decided to section off the top and taper up the sides without any skin showing. Then we cut the top slightly and used a dryer to style the hair to the side and back to create a visual blend. The next difficult model we had was an African American gentleman who decided to go with a burst fade. This is usually not that difficult of a haircut but after the shampoo, conditioning, and drying process we discovered that his last haircut at another barbershop left the top of his hair with chunks of hair cut out and areas with excess hair. Our first challenge was to pick it all out and evenly cut the top before beginning the fade. After that step was completed we faded the sides and finished off the haircut with a sharp outline. For all of the rest of the haircuts the barbers practiced the new fading technique they learned of fading down instead of up to eliminate the blending step, using a traveling guide instead of a stationary guide when picking up hair with their fingers, and the scissor over comb technique.

By the end of the day everyone was exhausted but had a great educational experience. I even had the opportunity to give one of the female barbers a haircut which allowed me to demonstrate a few different straight razor hair cutting techniques.

To book your next barbering class for your salon, barbershop, or school please contact or call (518)629-5394.

September Hands On Barbering Class with Greg Zorian

On a beautiful day in early September we had 9 people come out for our latest hands on barbering class at Gregory’s Barbershop. The shop is a perfect place to hold class because it gives the attendees the feel of working in an award winning barbershop. It’s great to work with so many people that are so passionate about men’s cutting and a few were even attending the class for their second time.

Hands On Barbering Class with Greg Zorian

September Hands On Barbering Class with Greg Zorian

The syllabus for this class was even more ambitious than usual. I added in another haircut bringing our total haircuts practiced to 6 in only 8 hours. We started out with a long men’s layer cut where the class learned the difference between working with a traveling guide and a stationary guide. They also learned how to give a long haircut with a masculine finish.  Next, we moved on to a medium length layer cut with disconnected bangs. This is a versatile haircut that can be worn to the side or brushed straight back. Always a class favorite is the Pompadour 1950’s style. I always challenge the class to see who can get the top to stand up the highest when styled. From there we moved on to the traditional side part haircut which is one of the most common barber shop haircuts. Next, we did a shorter version of the business cut in which we practiced fading techniques with longer clipper attachments and blades. Lastly, came the most challenging haircut: the flattop. The degree of difficulty is due tothe hand dexterity necessary for clipper over comb and understanding how to cut a square shape on a round object.

The class was very successful and we had one of the attendees travel from as far away as 1,000 miles! Everyone did excellent and left with a new enthusiasm for men’s hair cutting. In the past month since the class I have received numerous e-mail updates with photos and comments on how the class has been helping them in their barbershops and salons. I am looking forward to our next class on Monday January 12th, 2015. It is always fun meeting and working with a new group. The class is already half full with a couple of the attendees who will be traveling 900 miles to take the class. If you are interested in more information on the class please e-mail or call us at (518)618-9515.

The Barbershop Waiting Room – Part 3

In this final installment of The Barbershop Waiting Room I want to give you some ideas to add those extra touches that will create an inviting atmosphere.  These are the added things that will make your waiting area a more relaxing place. If you can get your customers to look forward to coming and relaxing you have an excellent chance of them waiting longer as well as retaining them as a customer. In my shops we have created such a comfortable environment that a lot of our customers are disappointed if we take them to the chair too quickly. A lot of people are so busy that this is the only chance they get to relax.

I suggest that you have a large selection of magazines and styling books. Make sure they are appropriate for your clientele. I was cleaning out my magazines recently and noticed I had too many National Geographic and Field and Stream. I have a customer that brings in all of his old magazines and I was loaded up with these. I threw most of them away and added more GQ, Sports Illustrated, People and Motor Trend.

T.V.’s with cable access are also an excellent touch. The important thing to note here is the televisions are for the customers, not the employees. I have come in to my shop on numerous occasions to find game shows or soap operas on. This is a barbershop. You should have a sports channel, news channel, or financial channel on. If you have more than one television you can split it up. Make sure the volume is not too loud. It should just be in the background. Again, this is for the customers. The barbers should not be watching the T.V. while they are working. This is one of the most unprofessional and disrespectful things you can do as a barber.

Wireless internet access is a huge plus in today’s connected world. This is probably the number one way to occupy your customers while they are waiting. Just think about how fast time goes by when you are online. Give your customers the ability to surf the web, check their e-mails, or work while they wait. We added a wireless router recently and it has been a huge benefit to us. We put up signs advertising it and our customers love it. This will tell your customers you really care about them and are on the cutting edge of technology.

This next one is real simple and inexpensive. It may only cost you less than a dollar per customer. It is pretty easy to raise your prices a buck. Offer your customers coffee, tea, and water. You can hire a coffee service and they will bring the coffee to you at a specified time. They will also supply you with the cups and lids. This is the cleanest way to go about it. You can make your own coffee and try to do it yourself but it can get messy and be time consuming. A water cooler is a great touch. There are also services that will bring new water coolers and take away the old one. They also have a hot water spout so you can offer tea also. You can buy a box of tea bags real cheap or you can have a nice selection for a few dollars more. The nice thing is you already have the cups and lids from the coffee service.

The last but not least touch that I would recommend adding is good old fashioned Tootsie Pops. These are the best lollipops and everyone loves them. This will really seal the deal and keep your customer coming back. I have been giving these out since I started my first barbershop in 1995. To this day the Tootsie Pops are incredibly popular. I now have a nice serving dish and the receptionists like to color co-ordinate them into a nice display. Just give it try. I promise you will be amazed by the reaction of your customers.

The Barbershop Waiting Room – Part 2

The barbershop waiting area is and extremely important part of the customer service experience for your customers. In the following blog series I am going to cover how to make this area comfortable and inviting for your customers.

The Barbershop Waiting Room – Part 2 The Barbershop Waiting Room

Keep The Waiting Area Clean At All Times:

I want to give you some tips and tricks for keeping the waiting area clean at all times. As I have said before, give your customers a clean and relaxing environment and they will wait longer. Garbage should be removed periodically throughout the day. All employees should take turns and keep it fair. Walk around the waiting room and pick up any candy wrappers or garbage from the chairs. Replace all magazines, books, and periodicals in their designated place. Take pride in your business or place of employment. Don’t just throw reading material back in its place any which way. Stack all reading material in an orderly fashion so it is easy for the next customer to make a selection.

The floor and carpets should be swept and vacuumed periodically as well. All employees should take turns and keep it fair. If you have a larger carpeted area I would not recommend doing any vacuuming during the day. It can be a distraction. Wait until the end of the day and you are closed and locked up before taking out the vacuum. If you do it while customers are still their they will feel like they are keeping you from closing and that you are rushing through their haircut to finish up.

My barbershops are in the Northeast so winter is an issue. Customers are dragging in wet snow all of the time from outside so it is necessary to also mop periodically. It is very hard to keep the floor dry and safe for the customers walking to and from the barber chairs. Something we do to help dry off the customers shoes is put brown shampoo towels at the bottom of every waiting chair. This way, while the customer is sitting waiting for a haircut the shoes are getting dried off. We also do this on the footrest of the barber chairs. It is a good idea to make sure the bottoms of their shoes are dried off before they get out of the chair and walk around. The last thing you need is for a customer to slip and fall.

Stay tuned for The Barbershop Waiting Room – Part 3 coming soon….



The Barbershop Waiting Area – Part 1

The barbershop waiting area is and extremely important part of the customer service experience for your customers. In the following blog series I am going to cover how to make this area comfortable and inviting for your customers.The Barbershop Waiting Area

The Barbershop Waiting Area – Part 1:

There should be a designated waiting area so the customer knows exactly where to wait. This area should be out of the way of the barber chairs. This way the customers waiting will not be a distraction to the barbers working. There is nothing that is more disrespectful and unprofessional than carrying on a conversation with someone other than the customer in your chair.

The waiting chairs should be comfortable and inviting. The more comfortable your customer is the longer he is likely to wait. I would definitely spend a few extra bucks to upgrade the chairs. If you research enough office supply catalogs and websites you can find some really nice discount chairs that will last. You do not have to go crazy spending $400 or $500 a piece for waiting chairs. Just keep in mind that your customers will notice all of the extra touches and effort you put into the look and feel of your business. Especially when they are waiting and do not have anything else to focus on.

One more thing to keep in mind is to avoid the appearance of being too busy as much as you can. When dealing with the male consumer most of us do not have a lot of patience if any at all. Have as many waiting chairs as you can so there are always some that are free. Spread them out if you have the room. Customers are funny. They do not want to come in if you look too busy. On the other hand they will think there is something wrong if you are not busy enough. Sometimes you just can’t win. Just focus on doing your best. That is all you can do.

Another way to avoid looking to busy or chaotic is to keep the waiting room organized. Make sure to avoid clutter at all times. Have an area clearly labeled for the customers to hang up their coats, sweatshirts, sweaters, etc. This area also needs to be out of the traffic flow to and from the chairs so your patrons are not getting in each other’s way. If you are a larger shop you should have room for a nice coat closet. Just make sure it is labeled. Sometimes a sign is still not enough and you have to tell the customer where to hang their clothing. If you have a smaller shop a nice standing coat rack or some hooks on the wall will work well. Whatever you decide make sure you buy the nicest looking material within your budget. Don’t forget, customers notice everything. If you do not have an area for customers to hand their coats they are going to leave them on the waiting chairs while they are getting their haircut. This will give the appearance that the chair is taken and that the shop is busier than it really is. Another words it will look like there is a long wait even if there is not.

Another nice touch is a hat rack. Hats are very popular today and the same thing is going to happen if you do not have a place for your customers to hang up their hats. They are going to throw it on an empty waiting chair or bring it over to your work station and throw it on your counter.

Next, it is very handy to have a nice magazine rack and an end table or two depending on the size of the waiting area. If you have a clearly designated area to grab something to read and to replace it you will avoid unnecessary clutter in the waiting area. If you do not have a designated place the customers will just throw the magazine or styling book on an empty waiting chair or your counter.

Stay tuned for the barbershop waiting area part two coming soon….