Looking sharp on the job

Posted on January 13, 2009. Filed under: resources, startup | Tags: , , |


What happens when a ‘mad genius’ type 4th generation German shear maker goes drinking with a well known tattoo artist?

Freebird Shears – where we believe the tool a stylist uses should represent their own personality and flair.

Freebird Shears is the brainchild of Maurice Stoll a fourth generation German Master Craftsman.

After immigrating to the United States he was faced with how he was to earn a living, he then fell back on the century old family business. Stoll got his start selling family shears “Made in Solingen, Germany” as well as sharpening services to salons and stylist across Texas and its surrounding states. As his business grew, he yearned for a young, fresh and updated twist to shears while still paying homage to his family’s history and roots.

It was his desire to develop a selection of shears that are as artistic and unique as the designers’ individual style. Although, professional styling shears are not a new concept, especially for a fourth generation craftsman, Stoll wanted something innovative so he revamped an old product for a new generation. Similar to what Google did for the Internet search and Starbucks for Coffee.

To fulfill his vision of the ‘perfect’ shear, he consulted leading master craftsmen, artisans and designers from Japan, Germany and the U.S.A. to leverage century old knowledge and fuse it with the latest ground-breaking production techniques known to man.

After perfecting the production process, Stoll met with Elvis Crocker a well-known tattoo artist in Arlington, Texas (formerly of NYHC Tattoos) and created shears inspired by Crocker’s designs. Each shear has a design intricately cut into the handle and these designs vary wildly from “Butterfly Kisses” to “Key to my Heart” and from “Iron Cross” to “Skulls and Crossbones”.

Stoll’s goal of developing a cutting instrument like no other in performance, design and uniqueness was in sight. After several years of planning, development and research, Freebird Shears was born and is proud to be one of the few companies to have their own production facility in which they incorporate the finest hammer-forged Japanese steel while fusing German and Japanese craftsmanship with American passion, design, ingenuity and technology.

Freebird Shears are not simply cut by a machine and finished but go through over 250 steps by hand to create a flawless shear before they are finished and perfectly balanced by a master craftsman during final inspection.

Stoll’s idea may have begun with shears but that is not where Freebird Shears has ended. They also offer thinning shears and razors with matching designs so the stylist has an option to use a trio of tools or give them the ability to create their own unique set. For the easiest use and most convenience; Freebird razors use standard premium shaper blades that are available in any beauty supply store.


Have an idea for a design you would like to see in a shear of your own? Freebird Shears is also able to take company logos and personal designs to create a custom shear. These can come in a variety of colors, including laser designs or special engravings.

Freebird Shears: Innovative Tools for Creative Minds


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Salons and Blogging

Posted on August 8, 2008. Filed under: marketing, small business | Tags: , , |

A few months ago I spoke with Stacey Soble of Salon Today magazine. We chatted at great length about my salon’s blog and blogging for salons in general. The article is available now in their August Technology issue. If you are subscriber, you probably already have it in your hot little hands. If you are not, check it out online. It is a very nice piece that should get you excited about starting your own salon blog. It is “cheap and effective” marketing at its best.

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Chicken Soup for the Beauty Professional’s Soul

Posted on April 11, 2008. Filed under: Network | Tags: , , , |

Chicken Soup

It was only a matter of time before there was a Chicken Soup for us.  They are gathering stories now.  I submitted one from my book.  Do you have a touching/true/inspirational story?  Click on over and tell it from the heart!

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Service Trends – Can you say “NO”?

Posted on April 4, 2008. Filed under: customer service | Tags: , , , , |

I read this article in Philadelphia Magazine this morning and it really got me to thinking.  When do you refuse to provide a service?

We are not a kid-friendly salon.  We only do the children of our regular clients.  (We have the same policy for bridal parties, but that’s another topic all together!)  This week was spring break in our town and like magic, a herd of small creatures appeared for haircuts.  It is not my favorite time.  (I prefer them not all be in the salon together.  There is a reason I don’t work in a kids’ salon!)

We are not opposed to doing (what we determine to be) age-appropriate services on children.  A few well-placed highlights in the winter to blend the sun-lightened summer streaks.  An occasional pink streak for fun.  Uni-brow removal.  But I think that my professional judgment and integrity have value.  I won’t wax in an arch on a child because her face is growing and changing.  Her arch will be somewhere else next year and all that trauma to the follicles could cause long term trouble if there is no longer hair in a place you wish there were.  Children do need to be groomed, but they don’t need to be high maintenance.

One grandmother brought us her sixth grader for highlights.  We talked about a little face framing; or maybe a sprinkling of blonde throughout the surface.  The child stomped her little feet and demanded to look like Paris Hilton.  We declined.  My response to the little angel was something along these lines: When you have a job and can afford the maintenance, we can talk about it.

It has always been my policy not to perm a child’s hair.  I was told a million years ago that the hair is not fully keratonized until puberty.  I have no ide if that is correct, but after having a number of children come back for perm re-dos because it wasn’t a nice even curl, I stopped offering the service.  (Nevermind the logistics of getting a small person to lie in a shampoo bowl for a five minute rinse!)

So, I ask you:  What won’t you do on a child?  Where (if anywhere) do you draw the line?  Are you afraid to tell a client “No”?

Trend: Pretty Babies

Facials, bikini waxes, mani/pedis and blowouts have long been de rigueur Rittenhouse and Main Line beauty regimens — but nowadays, the “women” getting these luxe spa treatments have yet to reach puberty

By Carrie Denny

Page 1 of 6

T. Kruesselmann/zefa/Corbis

Melanie Engle was trying to just pluck the stray hairs here and there. She was trying to deliver an age-appropriate eyebrow wax to her client. It was hard, though, because there was a foot tapping next to her, and a voice shouting in her ear: “No! Not like that — like a supermodel’s. I want them arched.”

After years in the beauty biz, Engle had seen her share of crazy ladies demanding perfect, Glamour-cover-worthy brows. But this Crazy Lady wasn’t talking about her own brows. The brows in question belonged to Crazy Lady’s daughter. Who was eight.

After sweating through the kid’s eyebrow wax, Engle, today an aesthetician at the Adolf Biecker Salon/Spa outposts in the Rittenhouse Hotel and Strafford — and, it should be noted, one of the most sought-after eyebrow specialists in the region — was directed to give her pint-size client a … bikini wax.

Engle was, predictably, extremely uncomfortable with the idea. But she sent the girl next door to the spa to have it done anyway. “It was clear that this girl was getting a bikini wax no matter what,” she says. “Better for her that we did it, instead of her mother dragging her off somewhere else to get it done.”
 Read the rest of the article here.

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