Barbering has come a long way from its medical/surgical beginnings. Over time, barbers became known for their expertise in male grooming, and their shops were a place for social movement. Technology progressed to make things more efficient. Today, we see applications of AI in shops and salons!
WHERE WE'VE BEEN
Barbering dates to ancient Egypt, with barbers highly regarded as surgeons or priests. In the Middle Ages, barbers additionally performed dental work. In the 1800s, the medical role transitioned out, and barbering became its profession.
Through the 1900s, cultural shifts in communities brought popularity to barbershops. Shops were safe for men to voice their opinions and call for social/political movements. Barbers were popular, and technology was helping to create the experience. Tools were developed to help men relax and feel pampered. As more men came into barbershops, there was a decline in the sales of safety razors. Electric tools replaced manual ones. Barbers were looking for more efficiency and better quality. Mike Iskhakov has a fantastic piece covering more historical timeline details. Check out “Barbering in the 21st Century.”
A whole new world opened with the creation and development of social media. Not only can barbers advertise their business, but now they can advertise their art. Showing your style as a showcase of talent is a way to change the game. Putting your style out publicly is more effective than a logo. Technology is still advancing as algorithms evolve and new platforms emerge.
This medium is a great way to educate. How-to videos can help others. Barbers can learn so much from watching others in style, technique, and systems in cutting hair. Clients can learn how to use products or maintain styles. The rise of social media contributed to the growth of skill and creativity in the industry.
Currently, professionals are using technology to run their barbershops and salons. At our shop, we rely on Squire as our management system. Automated systems provide seamless booking and appointment reminders for clients. Technology will count inventory. Autopay systems allow for smoother digital payments that save time.
AI can be very helpful to write captions for social media posts, and hashtag generators can help make those posts gain traction! Smart thermostats, cameras, phone systems, and music systems can all take the time and energy out of those tasks and keep the shop running smoothly without much effort.
Technology is advancing the tools available to barbers.
Tools such as hydro-steamers and smart brushes can save time and allow for the offering of additional services. The client experience can be enhanced with augmented reality, such as style previewing.
Technology has advanced along with the purpose and needs of a barber. We are in the Digital Age. We are driven by tech and our need for instant gratification and efficiency. What will be developed next? Are you ready to learn? Knowledge makes you sharp on the inside. Applying it makes you sharp on the outside!
Aaron & Kristi Brown, Authors
Aaron Brown is a Master Barber, Cosmetologist, Educator, and Entrepreneur. As a shop owner and product developer, he has a passion for promoting healthy hair and scalp. He loves to connect with others and share knowledge on industry trends and products to solve common problems with the hair, scalp, and skin to help clients look and feel their best.