The scene begins as we head to get our hair cut one friday after school-- someone’s told us that our hair is acting out and it needs to be shaped up. We wait patiently in the waiting area looking at dated magazines and vintage style profiles. We pick out random numbers and imagine what would happen if we came off with a faux-hawk and a perm. Before we get to the yelling portion of our daydream, we are called up to the chair and cool hands rotate our head to ask about what we want. Immediately, we hear the faint voice echo the same warning we receive everytime we come to get a cut, “Don’t let them cut into your hairline!” However, we never mention this, we just say we want a simple fade so we can make it to the neighborhood court before the sun sets. And so, when we wander out of the chair and look in the mirror, we are shocked that our hairline has received a penalty and has been pushed back at least half an inch. We can’t go back now, the cut is over-- so we plan for next time searching through the internet seeking answers to the age-old question:
Why are barbers cutting into my hairline?
Just like many other things in life, students become teachers and barbers are no exception. As a profession that is heavily client-centered, our brand-improvement stems from our ability to connect with our clients on a professional and personal level. Whether we acknowledge it, or not, some of our very own clients may have googled the following question to understand why they’re forward now has more living space. As barbers, it is our job to provide answers to our clients concerns through improved technique or strategy. For both barbers and clients alike, asking better questions and seeking more creative and efficient answers will allow better success for both parties (and less familiar google searches.)
So what can we do?
Tool Kit Check
Barbers, like many artists, rely on the tools of their trade to enhance their final result. If we as barbers use tools that are outdated or don’t serve a purpose in our routine, we are not only selling ourselves as artist short but also not fulfilling our promise to provide satisfactory results for our clients. Seasoned barbers have discussed the necessity for using tools that work for you and your barber brand and then sticking with them. Our barber kits aren’t solely what allow us to work as great barbers but they provide a constant framework for our future success.
We as barbers are an extension of our tools-- so choosing items that represent us and our brand is key.
Communication is Key
Communication is a vital component to any business, especially those that provide a service. If our clients feel that they can communicate their needs to us without harsh criticism, we have succeeded in creating an environment that breeds success. In order to do this, we need to acknowledge that we are providing a service and then open up the floor to allow clients to ask detailed questions and discuss concerns. Barbering is about transforming the conceptual into the actual-- our clients visions are just as valid as ours.
A Step Ahead
As artists, we need to continual train and elevate both our skill-set and our ability to foreshadow possible problems. No, we don’t know everything a client is thinking, but we can work with a general set of problems that other barbers have encountered or will encounter. Think about some of the questions and concerns we’ve heard clients bring up during sessions in our chair; consider bringing up those concerns as a part of your routine service. We have the ability to provide solutions by simply asking more client-centered questions; we can even consider compartmentalizing topics that come up often and walking through that with a client to ensure the best results.
So the next time you come across the question, “Why is my barbering cutting into my hairline,” what will be your response?
“Being a barber is about taking care of the people.”