September 10, 2019
It is a day and age where the best barber in Los Angeles is widely considered to be a female, that ladies name is Sophie Pok. We thought it would be a good time to have a Q&A chat with our very own Jess and Kira. They are two on our team who are doing a great job on the tools and an even better job of breaking the gender stereotypes through their career success in what is a heavily male dominated industry.
How long have you been in the barber game and do you feel you are breaking norms by working as a female amongst your male piers?
Jess: I have been cutting for 15 years now, 3 years as a barber and to be honest I don’t actually think that the image of the modern barber is stereotyped by gender. There are so many great female barbers and barbershop owners these days that I personally just don’t see the industry being as heavily dominated by men like it once was.
Kira: I have also been in the industry for about 15 years, 4 years as a barber and yeah the industry changes quickly, I don’t feel like we are breaking norms either, I think generally people are pretty open minded, while there is at times that stereotypical image of the barber being male, I think most people look beyond that and pass judgment on the barbers skills and the level of service that they receive.
Who do you draw inspiration from?
Jess: There is a pretty tight community around here and word of mouth goes a long way, the whole team at the shop work together to build on strong connections and then that reciprocates as the support comes back full circle. I guess we inspire each other to constantly improve and grow along with the industry as it changes and develops.
Kira: I agree with Jess the whole team here drive each other, we are always quietly competing to be better and that helps us all as a collective. I also appreciate that information that would have once been guarded and considered to be trade secrets is now openly shared on social media. There are educators contributing information on techniques and making that readily accessible. That is beneficial to the broader industry and I find that selfless contribution to be inspiring.
As a female and never having a beard, how did you find the journey of learning to groom mens beards?
Jess: It’s like any other skill in a trade, you are taught the theory and practice the process, I don’t feel at a disadvantage for not being bearded, most blokes I know have never grown a beard, so I don’t think being female really changes anything in that area. That is one of the things that separates the barber trade from hairdressing, you learn the craft, you learn the skills specific for grooming men and grooming beards is just another part of that.
Kira: For me personally I enjoyed that learning curve and journey, I found it really interesting, you need to learn how to stretch certain parts of the skin and over time as you do it more and more it becomes natural and easy. Beard care is such a big part of our offering and I think that is one of the things that really helps to differentiate us from other barbershops in the area.
Who do you believe to be leading the way for female barbers in the Industry, or just pathing the way in the industry in general?
Jess: I'm interested in the likes of Jake Putan, dude is an artist, and he is working outside of the box, I love what he is bringing.
Kira: For me it's The Scumbags Of Rotterdam or in Dutch 'Schorem Haarsnijder En Barbier'. They have this whole alternative culture surrounding what they do. Speaking of the Industry in general you tend to see the same things over and over again but then with Schorem you see this affiliation with all these alternative subcultures and it just makes it really appealing, it's more about the crew on the fringes instead of the mainstream and I think thats the catch.