Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"The Barber Bible" by Vick Damone

Barber Bible
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There are plenty of books on the market about “Barbering 101.” Perhaps you have your books from barbering school sitting in a corner collecting dust? Lets face it, barbering books can be boring to read. Between measurements, boring and rather irrelevant history, outdated material, and poor writing styles, these usually make reading into the barbering industry a rather dreadful task. Say no more, fam. Our friend Vic The Barber has you covered. Recently, Vick Damone released his works, “The Barber Bible,” a collection of first hand barbering experiences and lessons learned (some the hard way!). I had the pleasure of sitting down with the 120 page volume recently and caught a glimpse into the life of Mr. Damone, his success in the industry, and the goals he is currently working towards. Understanding that we are all dealt a specific hand of cards in life, Vick tends to explain that is what we do with that hand that matters. YOUR life matters, and YOU have the ability to turn it into something great, or you can choose to bypass the opportunity set before you no matter how great or unfortunate your circumstances may be.
                  The opening chapters provide valuable insight for the aspiring barber. If you or someone you know is considering the profession, this might just be what helps decide between the various paths of licensing: Barber school or apprenticeship? What tools should you immediately start out with, and what tools should you save for over time? Vick also explains his take on barbering ethics and values that he believes each barber, whether just beginning their journey or those who are well aged, should possess. These tips help ensure that clientele will keep returning week after week. By asking these four simple questions, Vick encourages the reader to develop themselves relationally and professionally: Am I being the type of barber I would want cutting my hair? Am I providing a service that I myself would appreciate? How is my appearance and hygiene? And how is my attitude? As matter a fact, the major theme within The Barber Bible is attitude. According to Vick, an individual literally has the ability to alter their reality by changing the way they think, which will dramatically alter the way that people think about them.  Vick continues to describe the 10 steps required for attaining a “winning” attitude, but you will have to get the book to discover these 10 principles for yourself!
                  When you decided to become a barber, there was more than likely three deciding factors involved: (1) The enjoyment of working with people, (2) the enjoyment of developing your artwork, and (3) the ability to make GOOD money! As a barber, you have the ability to make $20,000 a year, or $100,000 a year, and because of this Vick wrote an entire chapter dedicated to money and saving. Pulling from Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University,” Mr. Damone elaborates on the importance of saving and establishing your finances so that you can live and retire in comfort. Smart money making techniques also requires smart spending habits, and Vick certainly hits the topic square on. The majority of barbers came into the industry without knowledge on healthy spending, so even though you might make an average of $35,000-$40,000 a year, you might still find yourself struggling when bills are due. If this is you, I highly suggest grabbing this book to learn healthy spending habits. Your wallet will thank you for this later in life.
                  The later chapters in The Barber Bible deal exclusively with individuals who are established within the trade and are seeking to grow further with their businesses and potential brands. Reaching into his wealth of experience and knowledge in developing the trade, Vick engages with the reader and encourages those who are interested to set attainable goals. According to Vick, these goals need to be SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. In order to fully understand the role each principle plays, you will have to get the book! If starting your own shop is your goal, then chapter 8 and 9 are dedicated to you! Establishing your shop and developing your branding are essential in barbering success. Sure, you can come out with your own private label merchandise, but if you do not have the tools or knowledge in branding, then your products will simply gather dust on the shelves, just like those barbering books from school! If you want your brand to do well, then you need to do well. YOU are your brand! Vick goes into fine detail into tricks and tips to help establish your shop and branding, so I will not elaborate further.
                  This book reflects quite a bit of Vick’s religious and philosophic interpretations and perceptions. Even if that is not what you were hoping to get out if the volume, fear not, for there is plenty of valuable information and encouragement within the pages outside of his personal beliefs and convictions.  If you are interested in starting your barbering career, developing your existing career, or even finishing your career strong, then you might consider adding this volume to your shelf. There is so much that I would like to share with you from this book, but that would spoil the surprise! At 120 pages, this is not begging for an excruciating amount of reading time. Actually, you might be able to finish the entire volume within a slow afternoon or morning at your shop! Sit back in your chair and enjoy an engaging read which may offer you valuable information and/or encouragement to help you along the way to success within your trade.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Can I Pay You Later...

   If you have been in the barbering industry for any length of time, you have undoubtably come across a situation similar to this: a customer walks in and sits down for a haircut. You take the next 30 minutes fading, trimming, and shaving. You talk about work, family, upcoming plans, and maybe he'll even brag a little about his latest and greatest toys. But when the customer gets up, you hear those dreaded words—"oh, sorry bro. I left my wallet at home. Can I get you next time?" 

   You can't take back that haircut you did! You already performed your service, and now Joe Shmo can't pay you. What do you do? Sure, if the bloke is a regular customer and you can trust him to remember, then there's no issue. That relationship is established, and you know he'll be back within a week (and with an even bigger tip for your patience), but what about the guy who's in your shop for the first time? Or what about the guy who has a track record of always coming up short? Here are a few ideas to get the gears turning: 

1) "Go grab it. I'm here till 5."

It is completely acceptable to change the offer. He offers to pay you next time he's in, which could be a week or two down the road. Encourage him to make his next visit before the end of the working day. If it's later in the afternoon, make sure he knows what time you open the following day, and that you will be waiting. Assertiveness CAN be your friend! 

2) "I'll put your name up."

This "pay you next time" gimmick is more common in certain areas than others. Some of you may have only had this once or twice, and it was with a friend. Others may experience this guy on a weekly basis. If your shop has the misfortune of entertaining a few of these no-pay-guys, perhaps you may consider a visible white board. 

Every time this gent "forgets" his wallet, or simply doesn't have the funds to pay you, grab his name (and perhaps his number?) and slap it up on the white board for everyone to see. The "Board of Shame," if you will. Restaurants do this same thing, but with pictures of those who have "dined and dashed," which if you think about it is the exact same thing happening with you. You provide a service, you spend a half hour at your trade doing the best work you can, then this guy takes your lunch, eats it right in front of you, then leaves without paying the tab. A "Board of Shame" might seem a little extreme, but at the expense of your trade, budget, and bills? It might be what you need to get paid in a timely manner, IF this is something you experience often. And let's face it, nobody want to be on a Board of Shame.

3) "What can you trade?"

This is something to consider when the customer doesn't have any funds. It can be an honest mistake: the bloke goes to pay you, then realizes that unexpected bills came out, and he has no funds in his checking account. We have all been there. No need to throw his name up on the Board of Shame, he's already ashamed enough, and you can tell. Perhaps there's something he can trade you? I'm not going to begin to elaborate on what this trade might look like, as everyone is different, but personally I wouldn't mind a tin of pipe tobacco (just saying!). Bartering can be a smart tool to use in situations like this, and it offers the ability to get creative with payment methods! 

4) "No." 

For some of you, this situation might be a little different: instead of forgetting his wallet, or not having funds AFTER the cut, this bloke will ask if he can pay you another time BEFORE he gets a cut. The conversation usually goes something like, "Hey bro, I have a job interview tomorrow morning, and I need a trim, so can I pay you when I get my first pay check?" 

Ok, there's a few ways to go about this. First, if he's a friend or a regular customer, discretion is king. If you can trust him, then maybe you help a brother out and he'll return the favor. However, if you don't know this guy, then saying "NO!" Is a completely acceptable answer! Setting and establishing boundaries is important in relationships, and if this guy wants to start a relationship between himself and his barber, then asking for a "free cut" probably isn't a good way to start off on the right foot. Do not feel guilt-tripped into providing a service that you may or may not get paid for, unless you feel a wave of generosity overtake you, then do what ever you want—give free cuts all day, first come first serve. But something tells me you probably won't do that. 

5) "There's plenty of shops in town—see you later." 

If this is a reoccurring instance with a gent who seems to always be losing his wallet, or is always low on cash or bank funds, the perhaps you might consider tell him to go to another shop. You're already not making any money off him, so why continue to waste your time hoping he'll return with cash? The first time something like this happens, get creative in getting your payment, but if wallet-man always comes in looking for a cut with no cash or card, then suggesting a rival shop in the area might be good? Ok, maybe not a "rival" shop—we're all friends here, right? 

At the end of the day, your judgement and discernment is key. Do you know the person? Will they return the favor to you later? Does this person need to find a new barber? There's always going to be an individual who will seek to undermine or abuse the system, so it's up to you to develop the reasoning skills to conclude if this customer simply had a bad day and left his wallet at home, or if you need to apply the "Ban-Hammer" and bar an individual from coming back. Keep in mind, the individual who made an honest mistake can be a customer for life, while the individual who abuses the system will only steal time from you, and time is money, is it not?

If you are looking for some new razors or other barber gear please take a moment to download our app "MD Barber Supply" or check us out online at!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Growing Your Barbershop’s Business

   The barbering industry is a competitive market, and customers are not guaranteed to choose your shop over another down the road. Customer preference, regional demographics, local economy, and shop location certainly play key roles in helping your shop become the customer’s favorite place for a cut. But getting the word out can be rather difficult, even if you happen to be in the prime location for your area. People are getting haircuts, there is no doubt about that, so the task at hand is not convincing someone that they need to get a new haircut—the task is convincing them that they need to get a haircut at YOUR shop! 

   A barbershop in rural Ohio is going to use different methods of advertisement than say a barbershop in San Antonio, so ensure that you investigate your immediate demographic and adjust advertisement accordingly, and while non-locals are always appreciated, keep in mind that the local customer is your lifeblood—not the guy you see once a year, or maybe who you ever only see once. 

   Below are a few areas to focus on to help increase your barbershop’s business, all of which can be personally tailored to your needs, but keep in mind that success is not based off of one of these (or only these!) tips alone—success in the barbering industry is a combination of these tips and learning what makes your customer tick. 

1. Social Media

   Here's the nice thing about social media—its generally free. Of course, certain social media sites allow for paid advertisement, but that is up to the user to decide. Social media can be fairly tricky, and it does require quite a bit of maintenance, however it has the ability to reach a large audience at all times of the day. People flip through their phones quite a bit, so why not have them reminded of your shop while they scroll through Facebook? Another wonderful thing about social media is the volume of media outlets you can pursue: Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and now even Pokemon Go are all outlets that can be used. There are customers who use all of the mentioned social media sites, but there are also those who only use one or two, so expanding your social media presence can ensure that your shop is getting the attention it deserves. 

   While social media is generally free, it is certainly not useful for every shop. Keep in mind your demographic—do identified customers in your area use smartphones? I know that sounds crazy to ask, but I was recently in a smaller town in Oregon where the general population of cowboys and grain elevator workers made it difficult to spot anyone out in public with a smartphone. However, in this smaller town, I counted 5 barbershops. While one of these 5 shops might use or have a social media account, it probably wont help bring in traffic with a people group who use radios more than smartphones. That being said, lets look at the flip side. I was also recently in Scotland, and while visiting shops in Glasgow I noticed an entire corner where 3 or 4 different barbershops were literally touching. Each shop window had information for various social media outlets, and even advertised social media deals. Social media defiantly brings business to these shops, even with the highly competitive location.  
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   To learn more on equipping your shop with social media tools, check out Dave Diggs’ book “How to Grow Your Business: Social Media Strategies for Barbers & Stylists.” In it, Dave specifically mentions successful ways to engage with customers of social media interfaces so that your can maximize your regular customers as well as your walk-in foot traffic.

2. Atmosphere

   Your shop’s style has the ability to make or break customer relations. The first thing that should be mentioned is that “more expensive” does not always mean “better.” Im not saying that you need to go all out and invest tons of money and man hours in making some state of the art shop. What I am saying is that your customer has a preference, and this preference is “comfort.” The customer wants to be comfortable! Look at your target demographic—do they like barn wood walls and vintage barbershop tools hanging from strange contraptions? No? Then don't include them within your shop! 

   I have visited shops where the atmosphere was counter-culture to the neighborhood, and therefore received little traffic. For example, I visited a shop that was completely decked out with contemporary vibe—wooden walls, big glass display cases for expensive artisan products, 60 year old barbering chairs, a few trendy barbers, etc…but there was no one in the shop. Furthermore, according to Yelp reviews, the barbers gave a clean cut, so skill was not a issue. I went a block or two down to another shop, and here was a single barber cutting hair in a simple shop. A no frills, simple shop. And he was packed! The neighborhood didn't want a “trendy shop,” they wanted a simple shop. 

   On the flip side, here in my hometown in Idaho, customers prefer the trendy shop. Know your demographics, and adjust your shops aesthetics and atmosphere accordingly. Keep in mind, it might not be the direction that you prefer, but you are looking at increasing your barbershops business, right? Sometimes in order to do so, as the shop owner or manager, you have to sacrifice personal preference to give way for the customer's preference. 

3. Banners, Flags, & Poles

   The universal sign of a barbershop—the classic red, white, and blue barber pole. As much as we have been discussing the regular customer and the value that the regular customer brings to your shop, its time to introduce the “walk-in.” We briefly touched on the subject a little earlier, but lets expand a little more now. The non-locals who come to a city for business or for pleasure are generally unaware of shops in your area. The first thing someone is likely to do is Google or Yelp search “Barber Shops” and read the reviews and look at pictures of you and other shops in the area. Now, a shop can have wonderful Yelp reviews by the locals, but if it is not marked well, the non-locals will not be able to find it! Since I visit shops nearly every week, I come across this often. A shop will get plenty of warm reviews on social media, but the actual shop is hidden somewhere in a shopping mall or moved locations and never updated information. Regardless, there is usually something that accompanies this instance—another shop close by that is clearly marked with a large barber flag near the road, a clear shop sign, and the classic barbershop pole. Even though I was not originally looking for this marked shop, be sure I am making my way through their door. 

   No, the non-local is not the lifeblood of your business, however this demographic can bring welcomed “bonuses” in certain seasons. Lets build a scenario: suppose your town or city hosts a yearly event. For my hometown, we have Ironman competitions. Whenever this yearly event takes place, people from all over the world flock in droves for up to two weeks at a time to our city. Barbershops EXPLODE during this time, and it is very difficult for the regulars to make appointments, yet alone try to even walk-in. What event or season do you have in your town that would make for a solid two-week profit? Whatever it may be, keep your shop clearly identifiable. Even if the shop a few blocks down has better reviews, since your shop is marked better, you may receive more traffic. Here at MD Barber Supply, we carry quite a few different barber poles to grab passerby attention. Take a at our Barber Pole Selection

4. Relationships

   Most importantly, understand that growing your business is about growing relationships. People interact differently with their barber than they do with say their local gas-station. Gas-station “loyalty” is not really something you hear of. Sure, there are those out there who want to get the cheapest haircut and will go from shop to shop looking for the “cheap” deals. Let them go. Thats not your lifelong customer, and not someone who is wanting to develop a relationship. Barbering is a personal business, and a customer will continue to return week after week if they feel as though they are personally connected with their barber. A few weeks ago I was watching “Family Feud” with Steve Harvey, and one of the themes was along the lines of “Who is likely to know your true character?” Number 1 was “your spouse”, number 2 was “your pastor,” and following after was “your barber.” Look at your top customers. How well do you know them? What is their wife’s name? How many kids do they have? Where did they go on vacation this past summer? Get to know your customers and become relationally invested with them, and you will have a dedicated and loyal customer, and if you are lucky, maybe even a friend. 

   Relationship is a core value for MD Barber Supply. When we are serving customers, we  are serving individuals, not just some voice on the phone or a few words in an email. We are serving fathers, husbands, mothers, and students. People with stories that we care about. Look at our giveaways we do every week—the competitions are usually personal in nature! Show us a picture of a recent haircut you did, or have a customer tag you & MD Barber in a post, etc, etc…I make every effort that I can to visit barber shops in different areas near our main office.  We care about you, your shops, and even your customers, so what better way to show that we care than to visit your shops and get to know you even better? When you think about it, relationship in the barbering industry is really at the core of what we do. Invest in your customers relationally, and watch as your business grows exponentially. Simply cut hair and push customers out the door, and you will forever be wondering why your business is stagnant. 

   These are just a few examples of growing your barbering business. By utilizing social media in order to advertise, considering the atmosphere of your shop in comparison to the area’s demographic, clearly identifying your shop, and investing in your customers relationally, you have the ability grow your business into a thriving local hot spot. And remember, MD Barber Supply is here to serve your barbering needs all along the way! 


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

In Depth Product Review: Barber Box V5

For most barbers 90% of your income comes from haircuts done in a shop.  For some barbers however, being willing to travel to the customers' location has unlocked clientelle and has helped fill in the gaps when times are slow or you are between shops.  The Barber Box V5 was made for the professional mobile barber.

If you have never considered offering mobile services consier the following facts: (1) Many clients are willing to pay $40-$100 for a home/office visit.  Busy Clients may want you to come to their office to cut their hair.  Elderly clients may be unable to travel to a barber shop.  (2) Being a mobile barber means low expenses.  You don't have to rent a chair or pay comission on mobile barbering resulting in huge savings. (3) It's a great way to sneak in a few haircuts on your off days when the shop is closed or when it is after hours and you want to close the shop.

Whatever your reason for pursuing mobile barber servies - there is no other carrying case designed so perfectly to meet the needs of a barber.  We know barbers and our experience shows in our products!  The key differences between the barber boxes and other boxes are:

SIZE: the V5 is 36% bigger then the competition.  It's hard to tell in photos but this box is big. This is important for ensuring you can fit all your tools in the box.

36% Larger than other boxes, holds 8+ Clippers!

STAND: The V5 can be ordered with an optional four-legged, collapsable stand.

CASH: The V5 features a secret location for storing change and tips.

False Bottom Hides Cash

SPEED: The V5 is the ONLY box that allows you to leave all your clippers plugged in while you travel by using a secure ONE PLUG system.


 SECURITY: The V5 features two separately programmable combination locks allowing 1,000,000 possible combinations.

Double Combination Locks

STAYS PUT: The lid can be held at 90 degrees to allow maximum access to tools.

LOW PROFILE: The lid is completely removable for use at a barber station in a shop.

DURABLE: Steel corner guards protect the box and your tools from damage.

If you have any questions about the Barber Box V5, please just give us a call at (866) 939 5588 and we will help you decide if this box is right for you!

Overnight shipping is available, for more information visit