barbering

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t dealt with dry scalp, or dandruff at one time or another, but for some this issue is worse than with others. First of all, dry scalp and dandruff are not necessarily synonymous. Dandruff is actually an excess of dead skin cells that form flakes. Skin cells are always dying, as the epidermal layer of the scalp is constantly replacing itself,  but the problem of dandruff can be attributed to overly oily, or dry skin.

The body is a finely tuned instrument, and is built to take care of itself.  Sebum is produced by sebaceous glands, as an oily substance that keeps the skin from becoming too dry.  There is a theory that dandruff is caused by a naturally  produced  fungus called Malassezia If it gets out of control it is believed that it can cause dandruff. A little factoid, Malassezia feeds on fat, so excessive sebum can lead to an excess of the fungus, hence oily skin causing dandruff.

Now on the other hand there’s dry skin. Excessively dry  scalp can cause the skin to flake. Sometimes this due to a lack of being moisturized, sometimes it’s a little more complicated.

I’ve said it before, Barbers are not doctors (see shaving tips), so if I recognize someone’s issue as fungal or parasitic, I recommend the dermatologist. There are some common skin problems such as seborrheic dermatitis (scalp eczema), or psoriasis. There are also some more serious scalp diseases, so I leave the final diagnosis to the men or women who graduated med school!

Dry scalp can manifest from various reasons such as sudden weather changes, water conditions(when bathing), and even allergic reactions. I believe many of us have the wrong approach to dry scalp and their scalp in general. Underneath your hair is skin, and believe it or not, it’s more important than your hair!  Think about it, a lot of people lose their hair and get along fine, however if you get scalped…you might not make it!

Take care of your hair, and neglect your scalp, eventually your hair (which comes from your scalp) will suffer. Treat your scalp with love, and healthier hair can be the result. The skin on your head should be treated with the same care as the skin on the rest of your body. Putting grease on a dry scalp just leads to flaky oily skin. Petroleum, which is an ingredient in many Black hair care products, is not good for the scalp. Products that contain petroleum, mineral oils and paraffin wax will just lay on the skin, clog the pores, and not allow the natural expulsion of dead skin cells. This will most likely lead to dead skin build up, which is what the those embarrassing flakes are.

To properly moisturize the skin, and subsequently the scalp, moisturizer should be applied to skin that’s somewhat damp. Oil is meant to lock in moisture that’s already there, so not washing and properly moisturizing your scalp will lead to dry skin! The same can be said for over washing and not moisturizing. Be sure to control the water temperature in the shower. Over exposure to hot water can lead to irritated dry skin, especially in the case of eczema or psoriasis. As an eczema sufferer I’ve stood in the shower many a day and let that hot water hit a sensitive area. At the time it feels almost as good as sex (alright I’m exaggerating), but at the end of the day, it has the same affect as scratching. Oh yeah, thats another thing, excessive scratching, not good! So people, what I’m saying may not be what you want to hear, but getting your hair parted, dandruff scratched, and scalp greased, is not a good thing.

As with most thing in life it comes down to balance, and each individual balances at a different point, so there can be some trial an error involved.  I recommend all natural, petroleum free oils such as coconut, olive or shea that will be absorbed by the skin rather than just lay on top of it. This will cause build up that’s detrimental to the skin, pores, and hair. Now you can get your hair parted, scalp moisturized with a damp washcloth, and coconutty oiled!  Here’s more good news, a good head massage will help bring blood to the scalp, and can help as well!   Now doesn’t that feels good!

Dandruff can be controlled with some over-the-counter shampoos. There are basic ingredients  in  many of them that combat the causes of the condition.

  • Zinc pyrithione — reduces fungus
  • Selenium sulfide — limits cell turnover
  • Salicylic acid — removes dead skin
  • Ketoconazole — combats many different fungi

Once again this process can involve some trial an error. If your not suffering from actual dandruff, proper cleansing and moisturizing may be the solution. Be sure to give your hair two to three good washes, followed by thorough rinses. Once again, chill out on the hot water.  Condition your hair separately, because the combined affects of shampoo and conditioner will probably cancel each other out.

 What you put in your body is just as, and probably more importantant. Stay hydrated, and eat foods rich in vitamins A,C, B-complex, omega 3 fatty acids and Zinc. Consume a balanced diet, of natural healthy foods, without a lot of unnecessary additives (nitrates, sodium phosphates etc.) Basically, drink plenty of water, eat your fruit, vegetables, lean meats and other good sources of protein. Diet is also important because many of us have allergic reactions to some of the foods we eat. I personally have dealt with eczema my entire life. For me a week of beer drinking, and bad food eating will lead to some itching and scratching!
I can also attest to stress as a possible cause to adverse skin and scalp conditions. In my experience, working out has not only been beneficial in relieving stress, but in helping to alleviate skin issues.
Read labels! Whether it’s your shampoo, or you lunch meat, know what goes in your body. So many of us worry about the outside, neglect the inside, and wonder why they look and feel like…..well, you know what I’m saying. It’s like washing and waxing your car twice a week, but never changing the oil!
In conclusion, there are a myriad of factors that go into dry scalp, or dandruff. Fortunately, some of the same solutions for a healthy scalp, are many of the same things that can help you lead a healthier life. After all nothing operates in a vacuum, everything is somehow related.
Blog written by Dan Brown “The Barber”

Do you have a business card? If not, you should, especially if you’re in the beginning stages of serious clientele building. I can’t over stress how useful a tool a simple business card can be, and I consider my personal story a testament to this statement.

I moved to Atlanta,Ga, from Buffalo,NY in the summer of 1997. Apart from a couple of Barbers I’d worked with at home, I didn’t know anyone. I started in an established shop for the first couple of months, but moved to a new shop with no regular clients. As a rule I wouldn’t advise that move, but I’d promised the owner of the new shop that I’d work with him. In addition to being a new shop, the business was located in a plaza that was basically dying, so the walk in traffic was almost non-existent. Like I said kids, don’t try this at home… but Dan Brown was up for the challenge!

Now at the time I had a little apartment, with no family or friends to lean on. I was broke! I also had two kids to take care of back at home, in addition to bills and booth rent.  I had to make some money! I was determined to make Barbering work for me in Georgia, the way it had in NY, where I’d left a sizable clientele.  I was still confident in myself, but others in my life weren’t  so sure. I heard many times: “You Need to get a job!”,  but working for other people has never been my thing. I couldn’t afford a lot… but I bought those business cards.

With so much responsibility, I had to make things happen. For less than $40.00 I ordered 1000 business cards, and went to work. What I did, is what I tell every new barber to do. I made sure I did all my shopping in the vicinity of the shop. Whether it was buying food from the grocery store, beer from the liquor store, or gas for my car. I couldn’t afford to be shy, so I talked to nearly everyone I came in contact with, especially if their haircut wasn’t proper! When you approach people you don’t know, you need to be friendly, clean, and respectful. Have you ever heard the phrase “Persistence overcomes resistance”? I lived by it!  It’s something that has to be practiced on a daily basis, and patience is a must. You can’t get frustrated when the people don’t come pouring in. I had to make the most of my small victories, so I gave the best service possible to every client (which you should do any way!).

I was on my grind, and you have to be on yours. Attracting customers is a 24/7 job , especially when you’re starting from scratch the way I did. When I was out, I’d be networking, passing out cards. Other than that, I was at the shop!  Building a clientele is basically, starting a business. Sometimes I’d run into people who said they’d  already gotten a card from me, to which I’d reply by gesturing to my hair, and asking why I hadn’t seen them yet.  Now I was a little hungry  (HUNGRY AS HELL!), and in reality if they express true content with their current barber, let them be. Still, stay friendly, you never know when someone may need a back up Barber.

When it comes to Business cards I have a saying: The purpose of purchasing them, is to get rid of them! Like I said, you can get 1000 business cards for about $35-$40 or less. That money can be made back in couple of haircuts. If you get just a 5% turnaround on that box, that’s 50 people! I stayed true to my tactics, and in 8 months  I had a solid clientele. As fate would have it the shop remained slow, even as I prospered.  It eventually closed, but I made a deal with the landlord, and took over the business. It was a struggle, but we built a solid reputation for my shop, and in 2003, we moved to a better location and began to thrive.

A note about clientele building; once you get the customer, and give them excellent service, get their info. Be smart, use that smart phone! I  am a firm believer in appointments, although this may not seem realistic for all barbers. I wrote an article on it, if you’d like to read it, click here!

Today Exodus Barber Shop is one of the premier Hair cutting establishments in the Atlanta area, but most people are not aware of the struggles I went through to get it up and running.  This is a fact: I was able to build my initial clientele with business cards, I couldn’t afford much else! There were times when I didn’t have electricity, heat , and I couldn’t even think about cable!  It wasn’t easy, but my persistence led to my own business, a couple of homes, and I was even able to move my children down to Atlanta with me. I’m glad I didn’t get that Job!

Blog written by Dan Brown “The Barber”

Its back to school time at Exodus Barber Shop, and we love the kids. This is a busy time for us, and it’s a great clientele  building opportunity for new, or newly relocated Barbers. I moved to Atlanta in 1997 and I timed the move to coincide with the week before school started. I must say, that was brilliant! When a shop is packed with kids their parents are more likely to try a barber they’re not familiar with, and if you do a good job on their child, you may find yourself cutting the dad next.

The Atlanta area is full of transplants from other cities(and different countries), so Exodus caters to the newly arrived customers and is a great landing spot for barbers. This concept,however, is not just limited to barbers relocating to different cities, but can be effective when simply changing shops. It also holds true for other high traffic times such as Christmas, Easter, Graduation,etc. Now like I said, we love the kids, and ” I aint scared of no babies”!

Cutting a baby’s hair, especially a first cut ,can lead to life long clients. I have a method for my “brand new clients”,  it’s not rocket science…treat them like YOUR children. Talk to them, make it a game, make them laugh, make faces, make noises, but try not to get frustrated when they cry. I try my best to sit the baby on the booster seat rather than on the parents lap, they’ll have to do it eventually. Encourage them, clap when they sit still,”yea, that’s a big boy”! Ohh yeah, DON’T TRY AND DO TOO MUCH! Babies don’t need shape ups. Their hairlines need to develop, plus they probably won’t sit still. I know the customer’s always right, but the Barber is the expert. Some moms get a little over zealous and want their babies to have these grown up little cuts, that in many cases are impossible to do. Let them know in your professional opinion what you think would be best for their child.

Some barbers like to give candy to kids, and if the parent allows it thats cool. I personally don’t like people offering my kid candy so I don’t do it. I’m not a believer of bribing kids with sugar, it’s the drug of choice for preschoolers! I just gave you some sound advice, but at the end of the day, some babies will be out of control! When this happens…suck it up and do your job! Once you have a good clientele  you can direct the babies to the new guy! Take it easy good people.

Blog written by Dan Brown “The Barber”

Exodus Barber Shop is a full service shop that accepts walk ins, so customers come on in! Now for those of you who don’t like to wait, we encourage you to make an appointment, because we know how important your time is. This article however is not directed at you. I’d like to talk to the Barbers.

I encourage Barbers to schedule appointments as it is a good way to build solid clientele and take control of your own time. Making a career out of this profession starts with clientele building, with the key word being career!  As barbers we often get caught up in the hustle of the business. Now don’t get me wrong, you have to have that hustle to establish yourself and those without it often fall behind. However, having hustle and being a hustler are not the same thing, and a  professional Barber is NOT a hustler. As the owner of a shop I choose to only hire full time, dedicated barbers. There are many aspects that qualify an individual to fit into this category but here I’m focusing on clientele building with a focus on appointments.

Many barbers are apprehensive about appointments because they don’t believe their customers will adhere to them. I had the same reservations. I was a stay in the shop all day all night barber who had no control of my own time, and to be honest when I switched over I lost some folks, but that was short term, and we REAL BARBERS are in it for the long haul. How many of us have been ready to leave on a Saturday evening only to get that last minute dude who, once he gets in the chair, you realize he probably was at the mall or smoking weed all day. Yes he’s inconsiderate…because you let him. At a young age I figured out if you let somebody punk you off you will continue to get punked! Stop being a punk ass barber! We understand that reasoning, don’t we?

I’m not advocating a rude awakening type of transition because we are, after all, businessmen and women. Fortunately most of us possess the key to our Barber Freedom…a mobile phone. Even the simplest of phones have contact lists, and you probably have some sort of smart phone. Always exchange contact info with your customers. If they don’t want to do it they probably didn’t like the cut and that’s another lesson. Your phone should have a calendar…use it. Now I generally book half hour appointments, some do an hour , others 45 minutes. Once you establish your clients needs you can schedule according to those needs.

Now comes discipline. If you have a 2pm appointment, don’t take a 1:52 walk in. Over time you’ll realize who the dependable clients are. Trust me the dependable clients will love you for it and will reward you with their loyalty. Now the most important aspect of this equation is your dependability…be on time, and be there for your appointments. Consistency and dependability are as much a part of your success as good haircuts. In order for this concept to work one must exercise patience and stay the course.

This is not for the hustler, it’s for the career barber. Professional career barbers work for clients, and appointments are an important aspect of turning customers into clients. Well that’s it for now. If you have any questions feel free to contact me, my info is on our website http://www.exodusbarbershop.com on the Staff page. I’ll be teaching a class at the 2012 Fall World Natural Hair, Health, and Beauty Show October 6th and 7th, in Atlanta. Visit www.naturalhairshow.org for more info. Of course you can catch me at Exodus Barber Shop whenever your in the Atlanta area.

Blog written by Dan Brown “The Barber”