Tuesday, September 30, 2014 07:58pm
North Adams, MA now: 61 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Stubble and Scruff
By Bill Schmick On: 08:36PM / Wednesday March 21, 2012
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
1
Facial hair is back in a big way among men. That is nothing new, but the time, effort and expense of looking so scruffy might surprise you.

Back in the day, you were either clean shaven or grew a beard. During the Hippie Era, it was all long hair and beards, which sent many a barber to the poor house. Hair length gradually shortened, beards and moustaches were trimmed and barbers breathed a sigh of relief. Over a decade ago, American men grew older and fatter. To add insult to injury, their hair started to thin as well. The fashion industry quickly came to the rescue and convinced the nation that bald was beautiful.

I, for one, embraced the idea and quickly learned to shave my own head. For me, an avid jock, no hair was both convenient and saved a trip to the barber. However, maintaining that clean shaven pate is no easy job and many men sought out the barbershop to maintain the new style. But the fashion industry was not done with the masculine ego. Enter the man's man.

First, let me confess my ignorance. In my naivety, I had long assumed that the facial hair that had sprouted up among male actors in a variety of television and movie roles was simply the result of not shaving for a day or two. How wrong could I be? These new facial-hair styles demand a lot of time, effort and expense and have spawned a plethora of trimmers, shavers and masks to give the customer just the right look,

Today, facial hair is part of what the fashionistas call the Retrosexual Revolution. It is an era in which men are looking back to the styles, values and pastimes of traditional masculinity, albeit with a heightened discernment about brands, aesthetics and lifestyle. Sort of "Mad Men" with a dash of political correctness.

This new flannel-clad urban woodsman (for those who can afford it) will normally sport a carefully clipped or trimmed five o'clock shadow across his jowls while displaying his single-malt scotch collection or his fixed-gear touring bike. The image appears to resound mightily among American males.

As a result, more men than ever before are visiting the barbershop. Last year, there were more than 235,000 barbers in over 100,000 shops in the United States. That is the highest in recent memory and is predicted to jump again this year according to the National Association of Barbers Boards of America.

Sales of beard and stubble trimmers (as they are now called) advanced 14 percent in 2010, 17 percent last year and should top that again in 2012. And stubble trimmers aren't cheap. A top-of–the-line stubble model will set you back $60, about twice as much as your old-fashioned beard trimmer. Grooming companies such as Conair, Phillips Norelco and Wahl have taken special care to deal with facial hair at close range and have succeeded in segmenting the market.

Now, if you have the desire, you can get just the right length of stubble each day by picking up the stubble trimmer. But if instead you like a slightly longer look called Scruff (the George Clooney look) you can buy another trimmer that will convince one and all that you could grow a full beard if you wanted to, but choose not to. Full beards require a heavy-duty trimmer while goatees, moustaches and sideburns all require different trimmers. Of course, if that is not enough, one can always go "feral" and grow your beard until you look like Heidi's grandfather.

Yet self-barbering takes effort, practice and often less than satisfactory results. Many men have opted instead to visit their neighborhood barbershop breathing new life into the staid and sometimes stuffy local hair emporium. Unisex is out. Barbers have reinvented their industry by offering customers what they want, the way they want it. The top 10 barbershops in the U.S. all have one thing in common — ambience. Masculinity, tradition, and a variety of services is what distinguish barbershops today from those of my childhood.

Barber schools grew at a 29 percent rate last year and becoming a barber has appeared on several new career lists. Opening a barbershop has also become a "hot startup" area given that the barriers to entry are low, startup costs are reasonable and competition tame.

A simple survey of barbershops in the Northeast confirmed that "business is good" as Patty, a barber at The Clip Joint Barbers in Portsmouth, N.H., said.

Bob McGiffert, who owns Bob's Barber Shop in Greenport, N.Y., also agreed that haircuts were doing well, although he "doesn't see much traffic in stubble and such."

In Rutland, Vt., Steve, a barber since 1988, works at Henry's, an establishment celebrating 57 years in business. He is seeing a "lot more goatees" in his business lately. "It just adds to the product line."

And finally Nancy Donovan, who has been cutting hair for over a decade at Ken's Barber Shop in Great Barrington, is seeing a lot of facial-hair trim requests, especially in the summer.

"We have a lot of city people that vacation here in the summertime," she said, "and we get all sorts of requests."

She says she has done everything from shaving heads, to regular haircuts to even cutting a "B" for Boston on one customer's head after the World Series over the last few years.

As for the barbering business, she enjoys her line of work and would recommend that anyone wanting a great career should look into becoming a barber. Take that George Clooney!

Bill Schmick is an independent investor with Berkshire Money Management. (See "About" for more information.) None of the information presented in any of these articles is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at (toll free) or email him at wschmick@fairpoint.net. Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill's insights.




0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Gift Sculpture Installed in Williams' Restored Reading Room
Mohawk Trail Centennial Dedication Set for Saturday
Uncertainty Surrounds Dunkin' Donation of Pittsfield Church
Clarksburg Golf Course Work in Danger of Shutdown
Pittsfield Board Revokes Unused Liquor License
Letters: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
Adams Board of Health Raises Permitting Fees
Dunkin' Donuts Withdraws Pittsfield Church Demolition Plan
NBBPW to Honor Marilyn Faulkner
Habitat for Humanity Showcase Trees Available Oct. 1
Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (145)
Independent Investor (197)
Archives:
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (6)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (8)
November 2013 (7)
October 2013 (6)
Tags:
Fed Congress Energy Oil Stimulus Retirement Rally Economy Currency Stocks Election Pullback Japan Debt Markets Jobs Stock Market Taxes Europe Greece Interest Rates Bailout Deficit Metals Federal Reserve Housing Euro Debt Ceiling Europe Commodities Banks Selloff Fiscal Cliff Crisis Recession
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Wash, Rinse and Repeat
The Independent Investor: Is Wall Street Responsible for Climate Change?
@theMarket: Waiting on the Fed
The Independent Investor: The United States of Scotland?
The Independent Investor: Europe Follows the U.S. lead
@theMarket: What's Up With Bonds?
The Independent Investor: Baby Boomers and Retirement
@theMarket: Labor on Their Mind
The Independent Investor: Financing ISIS
@theMarket: Geopolitical Risk Trumps Economic Growth


View All
Girls Soccer: Wahconah vs...
Monday afternoon girls soccer game between Wahconah and...
Golf: Drury vs Pittsfield
Nick Boulger carded a 40 to lead the Drury High School golf...
Bike Night 2014
Motorcycles packed into the Visitor Center parking lot...
Girls Soccer: Pittsfield vs...
Trinity Cookis tallied three of Pittsfield’s seven goals...
Soccer: PHS vs Taconic
Pittsfield boys, top Taconic 5-0
Football: Smith Voc vs McCann...
McCann over Smith Voc. 53-0.
Soccer: St. Joe's vs Taconic
St. Joe 1, Taconic 1: 1st half: Tac - Ryan Abel (Colin...
McCann Tech Golf
The McCann Tech golf team dropped a 19-5 decision to...
Girls Soccer: Hoosac vs Mt....
Rand made two of her six saves in the last six minutes, and...
Berkshire Works Career Fair...
The annual Berkshire Works Career Fair connected hundreds...
Soccer: Mount Everett vs...
Bradley Lupiani scored twice to lead the Mount Everett boys...
Cross Country at Wahconah
Boys:Wahconah beat Hoosac Valley 28-31; Lenox beat Hoosac...
Soccer: Commerce vs McCann
McCann Tech's Fuller Closing in on Hundredth Point. Nico...
UCP Annual Meeting 2014
United Cerebral Palsy of Berkshire County dedicated its...
Volleyball: St. Joe s vs...
Saint Joseph's 18 13 13 0 Wahconah 25 25 25 3
Girls Soccer: Mt Greylock vs...
The Wahconah girls soccer team earned its fifth straight...
Girls Soccer: Wahconah vs...
Monday afternoon girls soccer game between Wahconah and...
Golf: Drury vs Pittsfield
Nick Boulger carded a 40 to lead the Drury High School golf...
Bike Night 2014
Motorcycles packed into the Visitor Center parking lot...
Girls Soccer: Pittsfield vs...
Trinity Cookis tallied three of Pittsfield’s seven goals...
Soccer: PHS vs Taconic
Pittsfield boys, top Taconic 5-0
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved