Not Your Average Joe

By: Bryan Gaum

Recently, I had opportunity to visit Williamsburg, a very hip borough in Brooklyn, New York with the longest-bearded man I had ever met: Joe Loving (@beardspiration12). Loving, the Managing Partner for Mean Beard (@mean_beard) and I had met on the phone a week prior and had decided to meet up at Barbercon – one of the barbering industry’s premiere events. Joe has a great story behind his beard and brand. Several years back, his son was diagnosed with hemophilia. He decided to raise awareness for the cause and grow out his beard. He called the charity fundraiser, “Beards for Bleeders”. Three years later, Joe is still rocking the beard and is one year in to his new start-up beard care brand. His claim to success: “don’t trim it!”

Lee Resnick started Barbercon (@barberconnyc) in 2016 as the live networking event for Barber Shop Connect (@barbershopconnect), the first social site exclusively for barbers worldwide with over a million followers on Instagram. Over the last couple of years, Barbercon has morphed into one of the leading events for the men’s grooming industry worldwide. This year’s event attracted more mainstream vendors and cosmetologists thanthe previous two years combined. An education element was added, which has taken it to another level beyond just a social networking event.

The evolution of urban barbering has come together with the lifestyle movement as high-end men’s fashion and old school traditional grooming have exploded onto the mainstream stage. There have been signs of this growth developing over the last few decades, but the latest push is more than just a short term trend. Salons are feeling the need to up their game in the men’s grooming segment. We are only just beginning to see how the growth in men’s grooming has increased the need for gender-specific brands on the professional product shelf space. Don’t be surprised to see traditional female-focused beauty stores andonline-professional-only e-commerce sites expand their offerings, and in some cases, change their names to attract the male shopper!

The mainstream acceptance of men’s grooming has created a fundamental need for cosmologists to increase their skill set to offer expanded men’s services. Hot towel shaving, guard-free clipper cutting and facial grooming are in high demand. While traditional barbering techniques has been somewhat of lost art throughout North America over the last few decades, there are regions throughout the globe where traditional men’s grooming has stayed relevant, including the United Kingdom and the Middle East, where it never really went away.

Experts from industry leaders like the British Barbers’ Association (@BritishBarbers) have been very well received in North America over the last couple of years, as stylists and barbers alike, look to advance their men’s grooming skills. Traditional cosmetology providers including Pivot Point (@pivotpointcanada) have recently launched a major foundation barbering program targeting cosmetology schools to start offering men’s specific programs.

As we see more guys ask for the latest grooming techniques and products, the need to keep their styles and beards well-kept and looking good has never been more in demand. The average Joe is more hip then ever!


Images Courtesy of: Pivotpoint International

Photography: Tim Collins

Shot at: Barber & Co Main Street, Belgard, Maison Cloakroom