Hair getting a bit long but afraid to cut it? This Ontario barber shop can help
TORONTO -- At all three locations of Starks Barber Company, the doors are locked, the lights are off, and the chairs are empty but the staff is staying busy.
"It started with talking with the staff, thinking about how can we help people," co-founder Steve Tallis told CTV News Toronto. And the solution? Virtual consulting sessions, available online at no cost.
"We thought we'd be fixing a lot of mistakes, but it was actually that a lot of people didn't have the confidence to even attempt to cut hair, they'd been procrastinating," Tallis said.
Curious self-stylists can get 15 minutes on Zoom with a qualified coiffeur, to help them figure out what to do with all of the hair they've grown during self-isolation. The sessions have proven to be incredibly popular, filling up within minutes from when they're posted on the company's website.
General manager, Ann-Marie Zakkak, is among those offering the sessions. She says they're designed for "just giving them little tips here and there that'll get them by and allowing them to feel a little better." And the stylists will start with what type of equipment you have in your home.
"We've seen dog grooming kits, we've seen kitchen scissors and stuff like that, so we have to assess what they're working with and then we look at their hair," Tallis said.
Haircuts have seemingly become a focus of people's pandemic lifestyles. There are no shortage of videos and memes online showing self-haircuts that have gone wrong. There are also viral images of people taking part in protests with signs demanding they be allowed to get their haircut.
Zakkak says it all comes down to self-care.
"People are home, not doing anything. They're feeling bummed out because they're locked down, and then having to look at yourself and see a big mop on your head?"
For Tallis, it's a chance to stay connected with his customers while his physical stores are shuttered. The third-generation small business owner says the past several weeks have been like nothing he's ever experienced.
"This level of uncertainty is a little bit scary, but now we're starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said. And when they are allowed to reopen, Tallis says safety will be their top priority.
"I really feel like the demand is very pent up right now, so we only need to focus on safety right now, and I think that's a good thing because we'll get it right."
In the meantime, staff will continue to dispense advice online, for those brave enough to try haircuts at home.
The biggest mistakes they're seeing? Cutting it too short. And their advice for how to get the best look, don't do it on your own. Zakkak says if you're isolated with another person, have them do the cutting.
"Most people will attempt to do this on their own and then that's where it kinda goes a little wrong," Zakkak said.
And for those who've been hesitant to pick up the scissors or clippers, Zakkak says "Why not just do it and why not learn a few tips here or there?" She adds, "This will actually help you in the long run if you want to learn to maintain your hair or your beard in between haircuts."