This week’s guest is perfectly timed for #EarthDay. James Alba joins me to talk about salon sustainability. James is a co-owner at The B Hive Salon in New Jersey, and co-founder of The Salon Movement.
- James shares the shocking statistic that the hairdressing industry generates 877 pounds of waste per minute
- He tells how he first started to take action for the environmental movement at a young age
- James shares how we have to commit and stand for something meaningful
If you would like more information see @patronsaintjames or on Facebook at Beauty Business Reset
Complete Show Notes
Chris Baran 0:00
How great would it be to get up close and personal with the beauty industry heroes? We love and admire and to ask them how did you learn to do what you do? I’m Chris Barron, a hairstylist and educator for 40 plus years, and I’m inviting all our heroes to chat and share the secrets of their success
Did you know that there is 877 pounds of waste that goes through North American salons? Every minute, catch that every minute. Now, the reason why I’m excited about this week’s guest is he is the owner of the beehive salon and the co founder of app salon movement, if which focuses on salon sustainability, they’re certified gold with green America Platinum with Green Business Bureau. They have been the winner of the International eco salon contest. He personally is International has an international reputation for leadership in organic beauty. And I’d love to get on to this week’s headcase Mr. James Elba.
James Alba 2:12
I called the end of the Anna Pacito and I said, Hey, listen, what’s going on? And why are on Chris Why is why don’t we? Why can I text? My friend and my rolodex. She’s like, that’s fine. I’ll take care of you, you know? Yeah, well, and I tell you now now knowing that you’re from New Jersey, and I’m not going to say whether or not you have any background in the New Jersey underworld. Well, while we’re at it, have a little toast, but I must say I’m glad that you’re calling me your friend. So I don’t find any horse heads or in my bed or anything like that. So cheers. Cheers to you, buddy. Horse. Listen, horse heads they don’t do any more horses are too expensive. The fish in the newspaper though is still Yeah, that’s that’s still there. Listen up. I think that it’s always interesting to know because you know, we’re just getting to know one another again right now even though you’ve had some amazing conversations and we are going to be best friends in real life as well soon. But I just want people to know who might not know who James is that like tell us a little bit about you like the the your back. You are not a hairdresser. Right? But so tell me how you get involved like why hair white hair now? And what what sparked all that? Well, so what’s really funny is my wife and I own a salon called the beehive salon in northern New Jersey opened as a sustainable business. So we sort of you’re talking pretty green circle. And I think even in Canada at that point, we had the concept to do that for the environment. But my we’ve been this year we’ve married 20 years, so I’ve been married longer. What was it? You’re trying to set me up with that? Congrats.
You know, I’ve been married to a hairdresser longer than I’ve been in the industry. But, you know, 12 years ago the hair industry adopted me graciously which is always a good thing but I’ll tell you a funny story that I haven’t told in a long time or before we did some of the fun stuff and now obviously a lot of people know who I am and what my connection to the businesses but most of you went to beauty school or were trained by someone whether it was Vidal down the line. I got the beauty the beauty industry because of a psychic. Oh really? I want to hear this story. Okay. So before we opened our salon probably about a year before we opened our salon, we were just about to have our third so we have three kids we have a
Chris Baran 1:13
Welcome James elbow my friend, just before I start to throw some of the silly questions that we’re going to talk about on here is I have to tell the people that are listening is that when we finally connected by phone, and and James said this to me says he says you’re gonna be my new best friend, whether you like it or not. And I tell you just right now that I don’t care what it is that you may not learn anything that’s really valuable about this conversation, but we will have some fun because he is one of my new best friends. James, it is a pleasure to have you here and on board and welcome.
James Alba 1:47
Listen, awesome to be here with you. I am so thankful to have you on and, and I know Chris had sort of started that out. But I started seeing these podcasts pop up in January, person after person every week. And then after the holidays from being in the salon business. January is sort of like mental you know, you need to mentally decompress. And it’s a weed that’s a friend of mine that he has on Hey, that’s a really good friend of mine. That’s a friend of mine. Why don’t
soon to be 16 year old a 14 year olds and a soon to be 13 year old and obviously you know that can be pretty hectic, especially the hairstyle, you know hairstylist and to household isn’t that nutty place. I went back to work for a corporate company. I always own my own company. And I went back to work corporate because obviously like everything else in the US, you Canadians have the health care wrapped down a little better than we do. So it’s It seemed more, it seemed more prudent to get back into corporate than it would be to stay on my own.
Chris Baran 5:05
We understand the gist on that. Exactly.
James Alba 5:09
And I went to work for a great place another family owned company, and everything was great with it. And it just couldn’t get anything to stick I was in the technology space. And it was just a tough time to try to get any the, the projects we were working on, it was just very, very difficult for me to go back into that when you’re so used to being your own boss. And my father in law is someone that’s a psychic aficionado. He’s the cup reader by by genetics, I guess. And he loves all that. And I am so the non believer and anything. So as a joke for our Christmas gift, he got me and my brother in law, a gift card to have a psychic reading with someone that he had met. And I just left it off. And I said, you could have given me the money, whatever. And it was just tough. We, you know, we were just about to have the baby. And I had a big project fall through that I worked on and worked on and worked on. And we were back in the wine and dining type days, right. So when you’re working on it, you’re not only working at work, you’re taking people out to dinner, and you’re trying to get things to close and fell through. And we always had lunch together at the office, it was just our thing. And I said I have an appointment, I have to leave and I pulled her on the block. And I used my my psychic friend network gift card. And I talked to the guy Hector, who’s a great guy, if anybody needs DM me if you need a great psychic, because he’s awesome. And funny enough, he came from the technology space to which I found out after and he said What do you want to talk about your love life? Your kids, your you know, like, typically they would do? And I said, all that stuff is the best? Talk about it. I just want to talk about work. And he said to me, you know, can I ask you a question? And I said, Well, I guess I’m paying for it. So I guess you can and he said, Are you losing your hair? And if anyone that knows me, if you know me through the beauty industry, you’re no man in regular life, home life? No way. Will I ever be bald, I will plant grass seeds. I will plant food and flower seeds. I don’t care what it is you will never catch me. I will wear a wig till the day I die. Okay, I had to. And I said no. And he said, Well, I said maybe it’s the stress you’re seeing is not I’m seeing you and a connection to hair. And I said, Well, you know, my wife is a hairdresser. I said, you know, she’s been in the business a long time. I think at that point. She was in the business like 18 years or 16 years? And he said no, no, no, no, no. When I see that kind of vision, it’s used specifically, it’s not anyone connected to you. And I just joked it off. And you know, of course I hang up the phone and I’m like, Man, the guy could have told me how to close the deal I’m working on it would have been better off. Yes. And sure enough, you know, about a year later, she comes back and you know, the hair industry is very different from Europe to the US and a male female. And you know, gender identity isn’t part of that. But the the actuality of it, as Europeans were more there are a lot of male hairdressers. In the US, it’s a lot of female hairdressers. And in a lot of respects, they look at it like oh, you’re the you’re the wife or the mom. So it’s the second job and household that it’s not the income or breadwinner. And when she had to get ready to go back to work after having the third, she said, you know, they’re just not being flexible for a month. And they just they want certain hours and things that were really hard to do with, you know, our household. And she said, What do you think if we open our own salon, and by the way, at that point I was laid off. So we opened the salon when I was we wouldn’t say fired, we just say I was let go I was downsized. Yeah. And then we decided to do that. But, you know, our household already was, you know, at the forefront eco wise not just in regular recycling, but it was always something important to us to be environmentally conscious. And you’re having three kids, right? You’re making baby food and you’re doing all these things. And then you look at the hair industry that’s just a pig in terms of waste and chemicals and things that we just thought we could do a different and you know, in a lot of respects we were sort of leading the way to what this looks like now it’s still not there but yeah, sort of our thing Yeah, I
Chris Baran 9:20
want to just jump you back a bit because I I want to definitely go there particularly with our day coming up and sustainability and being Canadian that’s we are like freaks are for the environment, at least most of us are the good ones are but I want to go back to like what where was your turning point that you started to think about sustainability? I mean, you had to go from you know, world kids running through and you’re throwing plastic out the window and you’re breaking beer bottle of Coke bottles and doing all of those things but and all of a sudden we all get this wake up call that listen Mother Earth is is sitting there and she’s she’s she’s gonna survive without us. It’s just that we won’t but she’ll always be there. But what can we do? And what was your turning point? What made you think I’ve got, I’ve got to be that way. Now even before I got into hair? Well,
James Alba 10:11
and it’s funny that it started out not even anything to do with being environmental, you know, was just me and my sister growing up with my parents, so anybody can take the garbage out, I try to impress that upon all of my children any day
Chris Baran 10:25
of the week, but how’s that working for you?
James Alba 10:28
The 80s kids, you know, there was a son, the son was the garbage man that took it to the curb. Yeah, that was a new thing in terms of your town taking recycling here in the States and separating and things like that. So that was sort of my job. And I didn’t even look at it. As anything environmental, I just looked at it, like, you know, if I want to try to earn my allowance, I’m going to have to do this. But after doing that forever, you start to get a little bit older, and you start to look at the impact that it has. You know, I think a lot of you know, a lot of kids, when you get into your later high school years, right, you start to get, you start to get some empowerment, I won’t call it political empowerment, but you start to, you know, it starts to sell your oats a bit and you’re like, Hey, I’m going to, you start to become an activist for whatever the cause may be for the youth of the time. And in those days, it was environmentalism. And it’s funny that I feel like environmentalism, like every 10 years takes a really hard punch to say like, Hey, we’re gonna bring this back. And then it’s sort of like, peters out a little bit less every year before people are like, Hey, did you watch the movie kiss the ground? It’s like, oh, yeah, it was great, Woody Harrelson narrated. It’s like, but did you hear that? He said, There’s only 60 harvests left. It’s like, oh, wow, yeah, I didn’t pay attention. And it’s like, well, you know what that movie was actually filmed in 2016, and was released in 2018. So we’re already behind five. Yeah. So you know, it was something important. And a lot of that started because as parents, once we became parents, it was because of our kids, we started to look at things differently, and how we can make a better impact. I mean, for us, personally, as a household, sustainability has a much broader spectrum meaning, and as someone that owns a business, whether it was in the salon space or not. The same thing, sustainability, if you can’t keep bodies in the chair, you can have the best charity in the world, you could spend all the time working on something, whether it’s kids in foster care, certain ailments, and do all this work. But if you don’t have bodies to support your business to have funding to donate, you can recycle everything you have in the whole place, and you’re just gonna go out of business
Chris Baran 12:42
it so the you know, here’s an I just here’s one thing I want to I’m remember when I was a smoker. And while I was never hardcore smoker, I did smoke and had the cravings for them. And so but I remember when I, the day, I quit, and all of a sudden, I became a hardcore. Anything that even smelled like smoke after it was I was anti smoking anti everything. How does that what does that like? How do you find that is what because there is let’s face it, for the people that are out there that are worried, you know, you’re thinking about sustainability. And and you know, you start to do a little research and you know what’s going on, you see what’s going on, and the mounds and mounds of, of plastic and everything that’s out there. What do you want to go into more about what that is later, but like, even for right now, right? While we’re on it, what do you say to those people that say that it’s just all? That’s all a bunch of poopoo stuff? And we’re gonna be fine. And what do you say to them?
James Alba 13:44
Well, I mean, you have to admit, it’s annoying, right? Yeah. Recycling. I mean, oh, I mean, like I said, I have a lot of friends in Canada, Canadians have been doing it great. And you guys have a lot of open space and things like that. When you get to a place like New Jersey, they’ll have a corner, right? That’s like eight by 10. And we’ll name it after an astronaut that lived in your town 100 years ago, and they’ll call it a park. Yeah, that you know, a park to me, you need to at least be able to play some sport there. There needs to be some, right. It doesn’t matter what sport it is. It doesn’t have to be humongous. You don’t have to have a major league baseball stadium there. But there should be something that you can do besides sit on that one little bench on the corner and oh, that astronaut lived here. He was a great guy. I went to the moon. It’s just it’s some point. It’s, you know, the bigger issue for me and I’ll tell you what’s coming out of the COVID space, right? We put we had automated garbage cans, no touch. We did so many things as as a leader in reopening not not just in the salon industry, but New Jersey specifically. We had New Jersey is licensed under the Division of Consumer Affairs, which is a whole separate podcast of how crazy that is. But we did a lot to help with the reopening. And the students that couldn’t take testing and things like that because facilities were closed. So we were not only on you know, by the way, I’m always the one that’s, I got a guy, right? I know it’s a jersey thing. So anybody in the salon industry, they’re like, oh, call James. He’s got a guy. And even sanitizer mask sourcing. At that point, I was driving. I was driving a couple of my really good friends, Christine Zelinsky, who you probably know, she’s Vidal alum, Patty Mead, who’s down in South Jersey, my friend, Steven stat, one who works with Hanzo, who was just that IDs. And I have a truckload of hand sanitizer and automated units and everything in my car, and had to meet them there in South Jersey. So we picked the central location and we’re in a parking garage, we actually wound up having drinks outside at that time, which was the best part of it. And it’s like, you got the goods. I like opening the trunk. And it’s like, yours, and people driving kind of drug deal. It’s like, Oh, we got a sanitizer deal, don’t worry. But it’s just it’s annoying. I mean, you know, blue recycling bins are what we use in the States, they have the big recycling emblem on them. And I can’t tell you how many times I go to bring our recycling to the curb at the salon, and somebody threw something in there. That was definitely a client that doesn’t belong in their shoe, like, whatever. And it’s just kind of like, are you? Do you not care? Yeah, isn’t that it? And I have a really good story for you if you’re open to it. I am. Okay. So we’ve been fortunate of Paris is one of my favorite cities anywhere in the world. And we had been fortunate enough to go a few times whether it was with Davines, or you know, different things we’ve done in the industry. And the last time we had gone, I guess it was 2018 pre COVID. We had gone to Italy with Davines. And if you guys don’t know, I’m a Davines aficionado. So with no plugs, I don’t care what line you use. My they’re my pals. They’re my my people. We were in Parma. And the way we structured the trip. If you guys have never been to Europe, you should all go in is not like travel here between North America, right? You can for 100 bucks, you can fly from Parma, to Paris and wherever you want. And it’s crazy, because the cost that it is here. So I had asked my girls and they are like, you know, Paris pictures on the wall. Obviously, I’ve never been. And I said, you know, we have four days at the end of the trip. You guys can pick where do you want to go? We go to Venice, we go to Paris. And they were like, Paris was it. So we’re there. And like other trips that we’ve taken in the past we have my in laws with us because we go to the hair show, they sort of get to take the trip and they get to watch the kids and then we get to spend some time together overseas. And we’re in a you know Brasserie in, in, in Paris, famous place, but I couldn’t tell you the name because they all look the same to that degree. And we’re there. And you know, Americans that travel once you’re in like day six or seven, you’re acclimated to Europe. So when you see other Americans are like, speak the language, we don’t want them to talk to us, you know, right at the last leg of the trip, and we’re having a great lunch, we just did a great tour of the Eiffel Tower. And you know, everybody was, you know, where everybody had a great time at that point. And we sit down to have lunch, and a table next to us comes in. And they were from Chicago, Chicago, as they would say. And it same same type of setup, right? Husband and wife and three kids. And we had already been to this restaurant before when we first got there because it was really close to where we stayed. And waiter remembered us. And we joked around and we’re you know, they don’t take tips, but we always tipped you know, the mafia thing. This slide. Yeah. So they were always they were very, very happy to see us put it that way. Yeah. And you know, we already had learned a few lingo language things that we needed to do. So they get a kick out of it when you actually try. And for anybody that hasn’t been to Paris, Paris gets a bad rap. I think New York City is way worse in terms of communications with the locals than Paris ever is. But if you try a little bit, everybody’s a lot cooler. And the people next to us that, you know, we were just about finished and we were joking the waiter and said we were going home the next day, and the waiter comes over waiters are professional, embarrassed, it’s a profession. And he comes over. And he says to the wife, and he goes on to say, you know, what would you like to drink? And she’s like, I’ll have a gin and tonic. And she says, Great. He goes, Do you have a preference on the gin? And she’s like, Oh, my gosh, what do you have? And he’s like, we have tan gray. We have Bombay, we have this Parisian gin, gave her all the options because, you know, I think I’ll have that Parisian one that you mentioned that sounds like it’s going to be great. And the dads in the menu and the menu was an English by the way. So it wasn’t like he needed a translator. And he does Herman and he does the kids and goes to the Father. And he goes, where would you like and he goes, all of the same thing that she has. You can sell you like a gin and tonic. And he goes, Yeah, yeah. And he says, Well, you know, what’s your preference on the gin? And he says, I don’t care. And he said, let me just stop you for a second, if you don’t mind. He goes, Are you saying waiters choice? Are you saying that you just don’t care? Because I never understand that about Americans? Like, do you just not care? Or is it like, hey, whatever you pick is great for me. And he looked up, and he was like, I apologize. That’s an interesting way to put it. And no, the waiter was ribbing him because he was a funny guy. But at the same time, it’s like, do you care? Do you have a preference? Or do you? Do you want someone to make you more environmentally friendly? Every single place everywhere you go has some type of recycling at the very least, like do, do I need to hold your hand I will, if you need me to just say I’m bad at it. Help me.
Chris Baran 21:00
You know, I, I really appreciate that story number one, because especially because knowing how you feel about that. And we we do that we have this gig like we just finished with the symposium. And we have a whole group of amazing artists that come out here. And I always have come out to the house. And we all we make all these among God pieces and wigs for the modelers, et cetera. And, and I’m a stickler for recycling. And so I have separate bins out in our work area downstairs, this is from recycling, and this is for waste and so on. And, and, and I’ll get to go into an every day, I’m just I finally have to stop everybody look at I’m not a fan of dumpster diving, but I don’t want to go in and I don’t want to have to pick out your coffee grounds out of the plastic etc. because it ruins it number one, and it makes my hands dirty. So please, can you just, you know, so I, I don’t want to say the name. But you know, on Seinfeld, we had the soup dude. And I became an want to say the words but we I became the the recycling dude. And everybody’s got hot Jesus, he’s not another frickin rant on me. So but I think that’s just so important that we’d really take territory to take a look after stuff. So let’s talk about just about it for a second. I want to talk about your salon. And then I’d like to go into more about sustainability. Because, you know, we think that sometimes it’s an overlooked topic. So salon, you have a salon out in New Jersey, that you’ve done it with your wife, and you have the salon together, and it’s called b-hive. So, I mean, I think for me, because I’m a 60s dude. And believe me, that was the one thing that I couldn’t do well, and I almost got fired from one job because I would back home the hair and it would sort of slide over to the side as he walked out the door and I think that’s when I became a Sassoon freak. Because I couldn’t do that then. But where did the name beehive come from?
James Alba 22:58
Well, and it’s funny. So I know that we’re officially seeing each other, we’ve talked a lot, I always have a story. Like I’m always, you know, I’m the worst one to get into the bar because you have to take me out in the stretcher. My wife was a 60s fan too. And that’s obviously be the beehive hairstyle and which was created in Long Island so close to home. You know, she had a list, I guess a lot of people when they graduate beauty school, if you go to beauty school, you have the dream of opening a salon. So I’m the paperwork guy, right? I’m the one that does the taxes that does all the stuff that structures all of that salon home, whatever it is. And I was going through a file and I keep all the certifications that you know, from staff to her to whatever it is I do all the licensing for the staff and make sure everybody’s on point. And I found a notepad with potential salon names on it that were like if I ever open the salon type of thing, right. So you’re talking, you know, a little while ago, I can’t say exactly when but it was a little bit of a well,
Chris Baran 23:57
we’ll leave it at a couple years.
James Alba 24:00
And on there was beehive. And when we were talking about opening, I said you know, I’m kind of liking that, because we already wanted to put the ego spin on it. And obviously bees are so important to the planet. And you know, and I already paid paying homage to the hairstyle of, you know, a very well known hairstyle from that those retro days. And she was on the fence. And she’s like, I don’t know, I don’t think people will drive by and know it’s actual hair salon, and that they wouldn’t get it. And we were at so crazy. We were at a peewee soccer thing. So anybody that has kids knows that if you have a younger child that’s in peewee soccer, there is no soccer going on. I’m sorry, your European football. There’s nothing going on structure. You know, they have cones on their head. They’re running around. There’s no, there’s a lot of whistleblowing, but not actually nobody. There’s probably not even a goal or a goal. And so she’s in the car. We just had our third heard. So she’s in the car with the baby,
Chris Baran 25:02
you just had your third in the car? Well,
James Alba 25:05
you know, it’s all over the place, we have 300, who cares. She’s with the car, I have my middle who’s in a diaper, like on my shoulder, and my son is doing the peewee cone on the head thing. We’re literally 100 yards from each other. Right? If that so the cars here I’m in the middle, a lot of my, you know, before we had the fancy wireless AirPods, we had the ones that plugged in, which are annoying. I’m telling her that, you know, the paperwork to file for the state to name recognition, LLC, the stuff we have to do, like we have to do this because we have to put it on the lease, what we’re down to like seven days, like you have to just bite the bullet on, you know what the name is going to be. And she’s still torn and I forget what the it’s funny. I wish I remembered the second name. There were two and beehive was one. And while she’s on the phone with me, and I’m like, you know, it’s a lot of paperwork. You never know what the state I’m doing the you know, the manager thing at that point. And all of a sudden they get a pinch in my arm. And I wind up getting stung by a bee under the baby’s diaper. Right like not even I’m not even not near a flower. I’m not near anything. Literally in the middle of a parking lot to get you know any of you that have been stung by a bee and just sidebar to this marina Marquese who’s the only American trained by the slow food per Cydia to be a honey expert. She’s in Western Connecticut. She’s awesome. She does a lot of rare and exotic honey. He’s when I told her how many times I’ve been stung but she keeps bees do when I told her how many times through my childhood till now I’ve been stung by a bee she’s like, You must not be really nice to bees. underneath baby’s diaper, I get stung by a bee and I said you know hanging up the phone now because I want to be clear
Chris Baran 26:56
when you say I want to go back because you said you’re holding the baby. So it’s underneath the baby’s diaper between your skin and you.
James Alba 27:05
So your elbow area the baby’s on me I’m holding the baby and all sudden I’m like what the hell just you know what Disney or what happened? What’s coming out of his baby’s diaper. And it was that stuff
Chris Baran 27:15
that was on there. Yeah, cuz I kept thinking when you said it was underneath the baby’s diaper. I kept thinking, Well, if he was in between with the baby and the diaper was and the other things that are in there, I think this must have been a different kind of, yeah, well, let’s not go there. Yeah. Okay, so you’ve got the salon beehive, which I love, by the way. And I think in my whole world of travel, I think there’s only two that I know of that I’ve heard of. Because I think that I haven’t heard of one other salon called the beehive. And I don’t know if it was just that it was be something or it was beehive. But I love it. So now you’ve gone to the sustainability. And that was there from the very beginning. Yeah,
James Alba 27:56
it was. So it we opened that way. So yeah,
Chris Baran 27:59
you know what, and what was the client’s reaction? What did what did they? What were they like?
James Alba 28:04
It was very different for us because we opened that way. So it was just the thing. So you know, obviously Listen, great coverage is bread and butter of the salon industry. At that point. If you want to make money, you can do all the fancy highlighting but reality of it is your four to six week gray coverage. Clients are what keep the lights on in most cases. Thank you. coverage was always the thing, hey, if it’s an actual product that you’re using, or has doesn’t have the same chemicals or ammonia free, so they were first concerned about coverage before environmentalism before personal health and body health was like, Hey, listen, I appreciate what you’re doing. But it’s going to cover my gray.
Chris Baran 28:44
Yeah, well, again, I’m gonna stop you for a second there just because you know, when you really realize that when they first started coloring hair, they would use bird manure and other ingredients to put on their hair. So I I think that we’ve come a long way from that, but it’s still well mind you, maybe that was organic. Well, I guess maybe that was that organic.
James Alba 29:10
And, you know, it’s funny that I’ve been challenged and so I’m your product and ingredient specialists, right? So I know if not just ordering hair color. I know enough to be dangerous. I mean, I I can’t tell the story on a live podcast, but I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you afterwards of a certification I almost achieved from someone that never even went to beauty school. But you know, the reality of it is you have to look at it. They want their coverage. You’re not going to ever drink hair color. Right? There’s no there’s not like it’s Gatorade now makes hair color that you can also drink to rehydrate. There’s just never going to happen. Organic Chemistry, we fought the war on organic or most things in chemistry are organic. Yeah, not in the same way that we look at organic now in terms of how it is. But then those things are not going to change. People are going to want to color their hair. So our mission now after. I mean, I guess we’re going into our 12th year now, it has sort of changed a bit to say, well, you know, we’re going to try to find products that have the best ingredients that are still performance, right? Listen, we want to charge the money we charge, you know, expert level status, you can’t say we’re using bird poop. And it’s gonna come here. But the reality of it is you want to be able to charge the money that you deserve, right, everybody should charge, which is a whole separate podcast that you should talk to, I have a friend that I can hook you up with on that one. But it’s they want it to work. But at the same time, you have them in your chair. So no matter what your activism is, tell me you’re not environmental, that’s fine. You know, breast cancer, you know, there’s so many things that salons have attached you, right? That you can you have a to one and a half or two, our captive person that trust you enough to let you wet them down and do something to them, if they’re gonna go home and have to have somebody see how good they look afterwards, you have a captive audience. So use that time to talk about your environmentalism. Talk about your rebooking strategy, whatever it is, it doesn’t give.
Chris Baran 31:27
Yeah, I think that particularly, you know, because I think our I was we were at an event this last weekend, and I was talking to somebody just about how they really wanted to help to change the mindset of the world on hairdressing. Because they, and it’s all based on money. They feel that hairdressing is a fall back on to profession job as they would put it, but they don’t realize that, that in our industry, applying yourself properly, you can write your own check, literally, by choosing your hours, you know, educating yourself, moving yourself up the ladder, and just say, look, if I if I want to make more money than I’m making right now, then what do I have to learn to improve myself and then just set a price? And I think that it’s, it’s, I’m putting it very simply, and I don’t mean to disparage our industry in that regard. But there is so many people in our industry that have such great earning potential, and they’re, and I’m gonna I don’t want to get our Canadian and US counterparts have W nines and 1049 64 Dash sevens. But, listen, I think that there’s so many hairdressers that earn as much and wait, and sometimes way more than a lot of what people are calling the professional as much as I hate that word. Well,
James Alba 33:02
so this falls, believe it or not, this actually falls into sustainability, right? Yeah, you want to be able to sustain your business no matter what. So I know it’s a double edged sword and in terms of bringing in the environmentalism on it, but I had done a class there’s I don’t know if you know that Danny Patil,
Chris Baran 33:22
New Zealand the name I don’t know, personally,
James Alba 33:25
Danny, or Danny, as you would say, if you’re from New Zealand, is has been reiland is a friend of mine. He’s the distributor for New Zealand that we had met back in 2014 in London, and they’re super grand. I mean, New Zealand is like should be the role model for everything that everyone does. And it just so happens that his husband is like, you know, I joke with him on like, how many times you’re going to be New Zealand and Australian hairdresser of the year I’m like, what do you need a bigger shelf, you’re gonna need bigger screws on the shelf. But we had talked about doing something for his staff, to talk to people that live in a place that’s really ego, okay, because of the industry. So we had developed a class called communicating your sustainable message. And it was sort of a concept to get them to understand why as an industry that’s a waste array. The salon industry wastes 100 And sorry, 877 pounds of waste every minute. Wow. Every month
Chris Baran 34:31
I want to go back to that so pause right there say that again.
James Alba 34:34
877 pounds of waste every minute. I don’t care what the waste is just in our industry and our industry exclude we’re
Chris Baran 34:44
not we’re not talking about all the world combined just as hairdressers hairdressers behind the chair. The crap that we throw out the color we throw out the stuff that we waste that just goes into the into the trash.
James Alba 34:57
Yeah. Wow. Every single minute And I mean, when you drill down that water waste and wash it, there’s so many other stats that go in, beyond that, that you can drill down into. But, you know, from my end, I think that’s the most impactful thing that you can say to your clients. And you can explain. And what’s funny is that when I talk to a lot of salon owners, I know, salons always have something going on, right? You just had an education event where you took an advanced cutting class for the whole team, you have a promotion on some shampoo you sell, you have an event that you’re sponsoring, whether it’s for the police or the local school are something that hairstylist always revert back to talking about your dog, your husband, your kids are something that, you know, from a consultative standpoint, just from the hair, and the look and the color and everything alone, the product usage what you’re doing. That’s a whole different problem. But you they’ve never commanded the space enough. And when you look at it now, and you’re saying, Well, why did we? Why did they think that hairdressers don’t make money, right? And I’m not getting any Department of Labor Statistics and hijacks everything. That’s not my business. I don’t work for the IRS. They should hire me, though, because they’ve heard they pay really well. They pay better than
Chris Baran 36:22
Yeah, I understand that they were supposedly hiring on about what 50 or 60,000 a year, you wouldn’t get fired from that one, buddy. I guarantee,
James Alba 36:31
I would warn you everybody for 2024 You better make sure your T’s are crossed twice. And you know, it’s sort of a lost space that they just thought that they were the you know, it was like water cooler talk became what happens. And I think one of my one of the things that makes me the saddest about COVID was, besides all the crazy deaths, that was it. I acknowledge all those people that passed from it in the New York City area. I mean, we had, we’re not a huge slum, we’re six years alone, we have five clients that we’re gonna pass, besides people that our clients that have people pass. So, you know, we looked at it really different. I mean, we watched the news every day where they were putting outdoor refrigerators, and it’s not a COVID talk. But I kind of hoped that after all of that stuff, hairdressers would have come back and said, Hey, halt. I’m an expert. I realized in these three years of the blip, right? Yeah, I’m really good at my job. How many years of experience do you need to be a master? Right? Yeah. 10,000 hours is the number. Yep, you’re playing guitar. He’s playing that drum set that I own that I never been played.
He said the quarter there. The Jordans I wear with the drum said just there for show.
You know, they just never embraced it. And I know a lot of it for hairdressers was the uncertainty of like, oh my god, you know, am I going to be able to go back and have a job? And what are people going to do? But, you know, I would have thought that the spin and what I hope maybe we can do as an industry is look at the health and wellness component. And say that sustainable to you. You can’t be somebody that does yoga every day, right? And then say, well, I throw all my bottles right in the river. For the fish, man, I’m going to yoga every day and I don’t drink or smoke but I’m throwing every piece of plastic have in the river. Is there a particular river I can send it to because
Chris Baran 38:38
cause mine’s full now? Thank you very much. Yeah.
Speaker 2 38:44
But that’s but that’s the whole thing is that, you know, I think as an industry, you started to have especially where we are in New Jersey, right? You see you had mobile units, you have suites, you have things that have changed the dynamic because they structured around almost like a right to work like everybody should be able to afford and own their own business. However that looks, but they didn’t unify anyone with that. And it was nothing that sort of circled the wagons for the industry and said, hey, you know, I always say this. I’m lucky enough to know a lot of really great famous hairdressers and I’m a ballbuster if I’m allowed to say that we can throw out if you want me to but Maurice Tidy. I got Maurice
Chris Baran 39:31
during this amazing, amazing gentleman.
Speaker 2 39:33
Oh, he’s like our unreal. Maurice created the graduated bob. Yeah. Okay. Which I would be hard pressed to find any beauty school in any country in any place of the world that does not teach the graduated bob.
Chris Baran 39:48
Speaker 2 39:50
Where does it say Maurice Tidy? Right. Check Maurice Tidy up because he was beat Al’s first assistant and you should totally like you Don’t pay that you don’t have to pay tribute to him. But it’s just sometimes gets lost.
Chris Baran 40:05
You know, but like, there’s so many people, let me back that up a step. There’s so many industries, so many people that river, they’re the people that that created and the people that started and the people that really innovated and, and yet I can only speak from my my era and because I’m an I’m can say part because it’s my show, but I’m the old fart. And, and, and I’m not gonna go old fart young people and therefore you gotta listen to me. But I think that what really helped. And I’m just going to speak about me me blossom in my industry helped me be who I am. Help was the people that came before me. And learning from them and watching what they did and knowing who they are, and knowing where something came from. And it because I can remember being at hair shows and people would say, Well, this is my thing, and I went up. First of all, that’s the line of L total caca because you didn’t create that so and so created and you just made me think less of you, because you’re trying to take credit for something somebody else did. Well, so that’s why I think it’s so important. Our industry young, old, wherever you’re at know, know your industry know where stuff came from.
Speaker 2 41:20
And I think that’s where I fall in, right? So I’m sort of the joke with intercoiffure, they call me the unicorn, my other friends with our beauty business research show that we do. I’m the mayor, because I have everybody’s cell phone number. I mean, I have if God forbid I lose my iPhone, because I have some hairdressers phone numbers in there. They probably shouldn’t have that way above my paygrade that I’m lucky enough to call my friends in someone that I know. But because I’m so interested in the business. Yeah. That’s why Steven Moody was Steven moody your last episode.
Chris Baran 41:56
He was well, because we record he was a fullback. Okay. But gracious man. And when I’m one of my dear friends,
James Alba 42:03
I love him. Okay. And what’s funny about someone like him that’s so well trained and done so many storied from in the industry overall, is that when we talk off camera, right? He’s like, he’s amazed. He’s like, wow, you just, you know, I really care. Yeah, I’m really interested. I love the lineage and the the history of where hair, how it started and what it turned into that. And I know a lot of stuff now. So I having friends like that. If I talked to someone else that I never met there, oh, how do you how do you know all this stuff, and you don’t do here. Matter of fact, I have more conversations sometimes at an event, where a month or so later with the follow up, right? Everybody circles back. Usually if you go so you guys know, if you go to a big hair show, there’s so much work that goes into going to it probably takes you three or four weeks before you circle back from people you met, where they come back. And their people have been mad at me and said, I didn’t know you didn’t do hair. And your I was like, Well, you didn’t ask me talked about all this stuff. And I didn’t know. I said, Well, I own you know, I own a hair salon with my wife. But they’re, they’re amazed that I don’t do hair. And I said, Well, you know, I’m the I’m the project. I’m starting at tiktok with my littlest one called dad and the projects, big projects in the house. And I said, look up a pair of Crayola crayons and some construction says construction paper scissors, I’m your man, I’m the one you want to Kharis or Hanzo is whatever you don’t want to give me. You’re gonna get hurt. You’re gonna get really, really hurt. And not in the mafia way, just in the
Chris Baran 43:50
way in the band aid. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit about I want to go back because I’m afraid I’m going to leave this. I want to talk to you just a bit. A little bit more about you personally, and just in a second. But I don’t want to leave this. We’ve got we’ve got this great opportunity with with Earth Day coming up. And so tell us about I mean, it’s funny. If you’re talking to most people, they probably only heard of Earth Day, in the last couple of years, unfortunately. But tell us tell us a little bit about Earth Day and why why ships Why should people’s ears pick up?
James Alba 44:33
Well, so and like I said, I speak to a lot of people in the hair industry and I know the creatives like to think differently. So I’m giving you the drill down. Not the environmental committee version of anything but yeah, Rachel Carson wrote a book in 1962 called Silent Spring. If you guys want follow me, I’m at Patron Saint James and Instagram find me on Facebook I answer messages because You know, I don’t have a team of people like Chris does. I posted a video, I guess now it was Three Years Ago because that was the 50th anniversary or birthday. And it started out very basic just being concerned from the for the environment. But Rachel Carson really was the one that started it, and got no credit for it. And part of the reason was, she was a scientist, but she was also a housewife and a mom. So in the 60s, they didn’t care about a housewife and Reader’s Digest wanted to publish her article about coming back from the war with using DDT as a pesticide, which is an all out by the way, I always have somebody else start my car, because I’m always expecting a car bomb. So if you want to need to me I’m gonna give you the I’m gonna give you the read between the lines, Dow Chemical, we already know what’s going on. But she went in and said, Hey, I think this is going to be an issue. And she had studies to back it up and things like that. And Reader’s Digest didn’t publish the article, because they basically said, Well, nobody wants to hear from a woman. Okay. And they didn’t publish it. And there’s a, there’s a documentary floating somewhere about her. And unfortunately, they made it really boring. Like they need I almost feel like hopefully, you have so many
Chris Baran 46:19
neck that we gotta get Lee, my son is a producer, Lee, and she’s on the B’s on the call. That is something you guys got to look at, you know, or get somebody that you go to in your industry to do a documentary on that.
James Alba 46:33
Yeah. And then believe it or not, the second one is Dr. Seuss. Lorax. Right. But if any of you that saw the original that read The Lorax. I mean, it was a book from I think 19, who was before I was born, which is a great, I love things before I was born because it makes me sound so young. But that was like in the early 70s. And then obviously, they did that fantastic movie, Danny DeVito was the Lorax voice and all that. And that was about environmentalism because by the time information exchange was so different than it is now that by the time that he heard about, hey, this environmentalism thing is a thing. He wrote the story based on industry, not cutting down trees, and all those things. And, you know, just those two things alone. It’s really sad. And he’s got a line. So if you see the, Do you guys ever watch The Lorax? Or read the book, there’s a headstone that says unless, right, and it’s sort of a Dr. Seuss was a very interesting cat. Right? We’ll all agree on that. But I think the statement was, unless someone cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to change. It’s not. And it’s exactly the way that it is. But you know, from a business perspective, when I work with salons, you can change tomorrow, have a meeting, bring your staff, if they were no longer going to do this, whatever it is, you can send your clients you can put a poll I mean printing, you know, it’s so easy, put a huge sign, hey, we’re no longer going to do free conditioning treatments, or whatever it is. You can have those conversations and broach them with your clients and your staff. Anytime you feel like listen owners out there, you’re the ones that pay the bills, you’re the ones that that have sleepless nights, if the environmental side is something that speaks to you, and bothers you, and 877 pounds of waste a minute and the industry should shake some people up. But change. And spring is interesting. And you know, April is spring, you have Easter, you have Passover, you have you know, the flowers and crocus’s are coming out and all that. It’s really about change overall, right? Like it’s a time of change. So just shut up and change. Yeah, what do you what do you wait for you don’t have to do everything. I mean, if someone wants to know how to make their salon as environmental as possible, I’m like, I shouldn’t be wearing a jacket. I should be wearing a jacket from the masters, the golf tournament. That’s so green. But we’re 4 time green certified. And to be completely honest with you, I could give a shit less about the certifications. I mean, I like my awards that we have. And you know, we’ve been happy to be a salon today. 200 Winner multiple times over the last 12 years. The reality of it is the certifications, I don’t care. I want to make sure that our clientele and our staff understand that this is why we’re doing it. Because we can we have a voice. Right we have you know we have that captive client and those clients that are in that you can talk about any of this anytime you want. And you can you want all the other ways to foil waste and color waste and all that. There’s ways to fix a lot of that. Yeah, a conversation. Instead of talking about their dog and their kids not doing their homework. Command the space again, you know, and listen, you don’t have to talk about environmentalism. Talk about the precision hair. What you’re going to do or what you’re going to change in their formula and be the boss? Yeah, I think that’s where I’m afraid for the younger stylists coming up, is that because technology is so forward now that you have someone that can graduate beauty school, have an awesome Tiktok get some followers and turn around and say, Hey, charge $450 For a full highlight and haircut, and maybe, maybe the lingo, I don’t know what the translation is why the client leaves and says, Well, this was great. But they’re not troubleshooting. Right? Right. You know, you take a woman that comes in, that’s in her late 50s and 60s, it’s on different medications and are grays not that covering and her hair isn’t laying the right way that she wants to do because the way she styles it, and you navigate her through that whole thing. She’ll listen anything you want to tell her after that. Right? When she walks
Chris Baran 50:52
in and hurts her trust. That’s where trust is built in.
James Alba 50:55
Well, but now she trusts you. And now if you say hey, listen, we sponsor the local school for their garden program or their book back, you know, bookbag program, or we’re doing this environmentally, you trust me in this, this is what our company is founded on? Do you think they’re not going to listen?
Chris Baran 51:12
Yeah, that’s true. It’s true. You know, the, you know, and I just want to, I guess, because maybe my era, but I also listened to so many people as I mean, I traveled, I’m traveled, I’m always on the road, listen to people. And the, the biggest thing that I hear is, people are so afraid to raise their prices. And what’s what’s peeking this with me is when you said I’m going to start charging for my or I’m going to stop giving away my, my, my treatments for free, is that there’s so many people that if we run a business, and so everything, just like if you’ve been to a lawyer or a doctor or anything, you could charge for everything. And yet people want to either number one, not charge for it, number two, slathered on the head, and it’s just not and then it goes down the drain. And they’re not charging for it. And it’s just, it’s just a waste, and people aren’t making the money that they deserve. And I’m wondering how much of it is, is if we can, I’m gonna mix this with a little bit of what you said earlier, which I loved. And you said about helping our industry to find out. There wasn’t your word wasn’t your the word to use, but it’s the word I’m going to use their words. And I think that’s is, is it that we don’t feel that we’re worthy of charging? Is it that we don’t have the confidence? What is it?
James Alba 52:38
Well, so I can tell you, and like you, I have, I am so grateful and fortunate to have so many great friends in this industry. And I mean, you so anybody that hopefully you have younger people that are watching this too, because I feel like the people that I call my friends like you, like we can have a whole class for the new Graduating Class A beauty school and say, Okay, we’re not going to record this. We’re just going to give you hints and tips and things to do. But they’re just the problems and things that happen. They’re just always rotating and similar to how they roll through. No one charges they’re worth because 50% of everyone that went to Beauty School was somebody tried to talk them out of going to beauty school. Yeah, yeah. It was never viewed as a viable profession. Right. I said, we talked about the waiter in Paris, you could say, Hey, Mom, I’m going to become a waiter. And I’m gonna have the white napkin and I’m gonna go work at this Brasserie that’s up the corner that’s right from the Eiffel Tower. And I was like, Oh, my God, Johnny got a job. This is a great job for him. People go to Beauty School, and they’re like, Are you sure? Yeah. Really? What you want to do? Yeah. And you know, a lot of that is because the haircuts never been just a haircut. Right. And I think what happened was, it got downgraded, and I’m not going to throw Supercuts and those type of places under the bus, but to be honest with you, I don’t give a shit. Let them put the car bomb in, is that they didn’t look at themselves as a vehicle that I could say that right? There was a there was a, they didn’t look at themselves as a vehicle to say, hey, we’re gonna take kids out of Beauty School, put them into an hourly position, give them some live tackling dummies that aren’t mannequin or doll heads, and then release them into the wild to go to salons. Because eventually they’re going to know they can make more money working in a salon. They sort of tried to contain it and turn that crew into people that didn’t advance beyond that, where it became an hourly job and they would say, well, minimum wage in our state is x plus you make tips. Okay? That’s not what this job has ever been about. No, no job has never been about a haircut. Right? It’s always been about two Rust, it’s always a good amount, looking at troubleshooting that they have at home, their lifestyle. You know, there’s so many facets to what they look like. They when we first opened the salon, we were at a training event, probably my very first one. And it was however the saying goes about, you know, your hair is the crown you wear all day, or every day or whatever, I don’t want to whoever wrote it, it’s great, but I don’t want to paraphrase it in the wrong way. But it’s true. Like that’s what everyone sees where they work where they are. And with I know, this is your this is why you’re gonna hate having me as a guest, because I am like, the wild west over here. But when you look at things like mental health being so prevalent, right, and a lot of different respects, not in this stuff. Listen, not in the crazy underwear guy with a gun in the subway shit you hear about in New York, but in everyday life of kids and people that have struggled through the last night even COVID. Like I said, this was going on before COVID COVID. Just the boil came to the top that, you know, the way you look is the way you’re perceived. Right? Weird kids that can pull it off, get Mohawks, that’s always been what Mohawks are back, by the way, for funky kids that can pull it off. Great. That doesn’t always apply to the regular kids that are struggling at home and whatever. So by being able to teach somebody had a how often to cut their hair, not even the coloring for the people that need to do that by being able to teach them that the how tall you are, how wide you are. None of that makes a difference. But hair is so important to that component, that we’ve lost the whole thing of it that you looked at it like oh, it’s just the haircut. Great. Okay, well, your favorite pair of scissors, how much do they cost you? I’m sorry, shears. Sorry. Yeah.
Chris Baran 56:59
We come from Canada, the shears are for sheep. Scissors are for hair. But that’s, that’s about it. I mean, you hit on such a strong topic right there about mental health right now. And it’s running prevalent. I mean, in you look at the kids, they saw this thing the other day or heard it on TV that I think they said like 35 or 40% of the kids that are going to school right now we’re having some kind of mental, that they’re depressed, or they’re in some Cournot form of, of anxiety just based on what’s going on. And I don’t want to go down that path. But I think that there’s so much of that going on. And I just wish that if I had a wish for industry and or for our you know, the totality of mankind right now is if you could just show some people some kindness. I’ll give you an example. We were just doing a show in Orlando. And we had this one kid, good looking kid, first show they ever did modeled for us. And he was putting into some really kind of interesting situations of Agra model and choreography and so on. And, and I had people coming up to me and saying, Oh, look at what look at how they look and how he looks like he doesn’t really, you know, he looks like he doesn’t want to be there. And, and so I started thinking about it for a second because I don’t know what you’re right. He does look like he doesn’t want to be there. But because nobody told him that we value them being there. And he’s looking at these other people around them. They’re doing this fantastic job, which makes you go introverted, tomorrow, even more so. So I went up to that kid after and I said, Look, I just want to say how proud I am of you. I know how hard that was for you out there. And I just want to tell you, that, that you are great out there. I know. He says, and I just said, I just want to tell you one thing. And this is going to make him be better. Go out there and own that frickin stage. Just be there like you should be there and you own it, and nobody can take that away from you. And you should have seen that kid on the next time that he went on stage. Because he had about I don’t know what one or two or three more segments he had to be in. And by the end of the two days, this kid was just, you know, I’m not gonna say he was he certainly wasn’t, you know, the top contender that was out there. But the confidence he had and the way that that kid walked on stage, and I walked up to him the entire stage. And I just said, I can’t tell you. And there was a bunch of other people that did a way better job than they than he did at that. But I just walked up to him and I said, I just want you to know how proud that I am of you for how you improved from show to show the show.
James Alba 59:38
But that’s the thing is that industry. Why listen. So I’m going to segue I’m going to wrap that whole thing with a nice bow. Not charging your worth means that people that have experienced that own salons are overworking. Right? So we’re talking about trying to bring the younger people into this into You know, employee based salons and whatever it is, they the work life balance component is a big thing for them. So you have owners that went through all the crazy over the last four years, three, four, whatever, that are overworking to compensate, that don’t have any work life balance trying to hire people that want work life balance. So because the owners aren’t charging their worth, yeah. You know, the way the machine works, I just don’t understand why. No one in the industry I love avant garde good Michael POLSINELLI. Yeah, my boy, Michael does. I mean, Michael, like defies the laws of everything, right? I love hair shows, I love crazy stuff that you’ll never do on a client. Like, that’s probably my favorite. Because I don’t do hair. Right. So great coverage, I could care less about your gray coverage. But you have those components to everything. And then you have a whole nother sector where it’s like, do we need to have counseling between owners and staff? Are we still need to talk about toxic break rooms? Like, how many how many months have to go by for you as an owner? And listen salon owners? I know man, you know, payroll and stuff and ordering and stuff and staffing and scheduling and stuff and clients. There’s so much you know, the layers are there. But how many months do you have to go by before you walk into the toxic break room and say like, yeah, he asked you a question. Does anybody give a shit that I was going to, you know what I was going to use? The care that I’m working, you know, we’re open 40 hours a week on the door. And I’m spending another 20 hours a week doing administrative and another 20 Not sleeping because I’m worried about you guys. And all you want to talk about is the fact that, you know, blah, blah, blah, like, what is the conversation start? And that’s where sustainability comes in? Yeah. Or station? How do you feel on it? I don’t think we should I’ve tried to look it up before the call. Global warming was a misnomer. Right? That was not supposed to be what it was called. It was like climate change was what it was supposed to be called. And was really the global warming because of the oceans getting warmer, which is a bigger problem than anybody. You know, everybody. Oh, global warming. It’s so in the New Jersey. I know. I get to the whole statement. That’s not a political issue. You know, and when you watch something, like I said, like kiss the ground, and they say 60 harvest, these are the farmers. You know, I laugh because there’s probably only a few movies that will make the like, lose my, my shit. Okay, and in a good way. And I always jokingly say Interstellar is one of those movies, if anybody’s ever seen that. Matthew McConaughey, he’s in it. And it’s about space and the farming and everything else. Nothing to do about sustainability, per se. It’s more about outer space. But the daughter reminds me of my middle and the end of the movie, even now I could be like, alright, let’s shut the camera off. But a lot of it is about the dustbowl stuff that’s happening with farming. And there’s just the over tilling, and there’s no rain, and all these things happen. Like it gets out of control really fast. So just like you and I, as people of age, some of us that die, and some of us that don’t die. When you look at how technology has advanced so quickly, and like I said, from Rachel Carson to Dr. Seuss, that it took nine years for that to turn into something that you know, down the hole, and people started to realize that we something, technology now is instant, man. Somebody’s happens. It’s like, man, it’s all over the internet. It takes minutes. It’s a lot faster when it comes down to environmentalism now, Tzu. So you can think what you want about recycling and you can think what you want about just traditional waist and I hate the fact that couldn’t find I have a great shirt that national geographic north face did that was made out of plastic water bottles. And of course, my son decided to wear it yesterday because it’s a cool shirt. So I have that my fast fashion on for the episode. But, you know, when you start to look at things overall, especially Americans, we overspend on stupidity. Yeah, right. Pretend you’re broke for a week and don’t spend anything and see how much you save. Pretend that the Earth only has 55 harvests left because it does and see how much you safe. Yeah. You know, it’s a scary, scary thing that you see everybody’s watching The Walking Dead and all these zombie shows and The Last of Us and all this stuff that happens. It’s like, listen, according to actual sciences that know what they’re talking about. That’s like 50 years away. Now hopefully, I will not be here. I love to spend my 100 and first birthday, Barry Just quietly but, you know, my kids and if they get married and have kids will definitely, like that should scare the shit out of you not the haircolor waste per se or the biodegradability of what you’re doing or recycling but you know I think that’s worth a conversation and it’s not politicized I don’t care what side of the fence you’re on, be on top of it be left to the right of it doesn’t matter. But you know, at some point I’m I don’t know disturbs
Chris Baran 1:05:29
I’m with you brother. It’s it’s something that especially now and especially with it having Earth Month Earth Day, maybe we just need to change that into maybe if it was Earth year, then nobody would would care about it. But they we’ve got to do something to shift the needle. So listen, I want to talk. Where did did you have mentors or people that came before you that helped to get you into this? Oh,
James Alba 1:05:55
my gosh, man I had so I’ve been so lucky. And mind you for people that are catching into this late. I am not a hairstylist. I’m just someone that was super interested in the industry because that’s how we fed our kids right so I needed to make sure I was super interested because we did get the lights on and whatever. I had a couple of great my okay to plug a few people.
Chris Baran 1:06:19
James Alba 1:06:23
Neal Dubois from strategies with some people do the strategy salon. He was my very first seminar we didn’t even open yet. But we you know, I’m the data guy right I had a business plan that was 75 pages long and I got invited to a seminar that he was teaching it for a line that we weren’t going to carry which is fun air and I met Neil then Robert Reed for you guys that don’t know I love Robert. Robert is like Robert is just my my guy man. Robert has been super gracious to me taught me so much. You know always on speed dial if I need them. Darren call. So Derek hold on salon ninja that I do the beauty business reset with. I’ve known Derek for way more years than we’ve done. By the way third set our 30 year anniversary for beauty business reset. But Derek is I’ve known Derek a lot longer than he’s the he’s another techie and data guy that owns salons. Man, I mean, there’s so many that I mean, anybody that you know, Vidal wise, I was just pa teaching two classes. I do a lot of retail and nuts and bolts classes, because I can’t do the tech stuff. But I just saw Gerard from hairbrained there. And Steve, Sally, Roger said, and I mean, like, I almost feel bad. Like, I can’t just list them all down. But I’ll tell you something funny. I guess it was last year, we wanted to do something. I always say the only person I’ve never met that I would have definitely met and
Chris Baran 1:07:54
hold on. Hold that one. That one. I’ve got that one coming later, I want to find that out. Take out. So listen, I want to add this is a part I want to throw out. This is called a rapid fire section. And I do this with everybody. Same questions. The whole point behind this just I’m going to just throw it out and give me your answer first thing that comes to your head. There’s no I want to preface this first question by because usually people think in our industry that creativity is just based on hair. But to me that there is creativity happens in everything. So when you’re what turns you on in the creative process.
James Alba 1:08:35
I think for me, it’s the it’s the start of it because because I don’t do hair but like I said that in the projects with the kids. It’s the when you structure it and get it set to go. I can see the end result before I get there. And that really that you know it gives you something to kind of look I look forward to at the end that I have a good vision for what it’s going to look like I can’t promise it always looks like what I think but
Chris Baran 1:09:03
what what stifles it
James Alba 1:09:07
I’m an overthinker the Taurus mentality man, I think it’s just that weird thing that we do and we just, you know, pace up pace a lot and drink a lot and then overthinking too much too many terms. Yeah, that’s the ball.
Chris Baran 1:09:23
Okay, good. So things in life that you dislike the most.
James Alba 1:09:29
You know, think that we had talked a lot about environmentalism from the sustainable not from the sustainable side, but from the hardcore, like, just putting the right recycling in the right place. I think for me, personally, the shift happened after the last few years to people just not being gracious or nice, right. So, you know, I know for my kids the gender identity and all the things that are going to happen for them. They have no problem with any of that. Right? It’s, that’s what’s so funny. It’s the adults that are like, what are your aim? But it’s the I don’t think you should hold the door for a woman. I think you should hold the door for anybody behind you. Never about a gender thing for me. And I think a lot of that is lost where I just hope it doesn’t go too far that it just never comes back then it’s like, oh, we just don’t hold doors anymore. Yeah. It’s kind of nice. held the door for you. And you said, Oh, hey, thanks. So you’re like, Well, you’re welcome. Like that interaction with the stranger that wasn’t anything super intimate was just kind of like, Oh, she said, thanks. I said, welcome. Like, you just had a little blip of something. I don’t know.
Chris Baran 1:10:37
Love it. What do you love most about things in life?
James Alba 1:10:42
I think now seeing my kids growing up. Now that I’m getting to my youngest one will be a teenager at the grace of the new year. Just the differences. I never thought I first of all, I think I’m a fantastic dad. And if they tell you any different if they come up there afterwards. They’re all liars. Yeah. I just think it’s interesting that now I’m finally in a position where as my older two are going to be 15 and 16. That different, it’s like almost living on a different planet. Like things are different from when I was 15, and 16. But being able to give them some advice. Not even super hardcore advice, just normal advice. And now they’re more receptive, where when they were young, it’s like, Hey, don’t ride your bike in the street. Now. It’s sort of like, Hey, do this this way. And it’s kind of nice that they’re like, I don’t know, if dads, and moms are always role models, because they have to be because like the baby bird, you’re, you know, you’re chewing their food and spin in their mouth. Now when they’re becoming teenagers. And they actually are like, hey, what would you do in this situation? And how does this work? It’s a little more a little more interesting for me and a little, and I like a lot more than doing the baby food.
Chris Baran 1:11:58
That was a whole that was a whole visual that I had in my brain their most difficult time in your life.
James Alba 1:12:07
You know, I think we’re going through some of it right now. I mean, we’re, you know, my wife had spinal surgery, who’s our man? I would say anybody that’s out there that’s in the industry, she has been in the industry, 30 years, she just had major spinal surgery, a lot of the genetic but some of it also, job related. The planning of that, it just makes it really hard, because we’re still sort of no matter what anything like COVID recovery is not completely there yet. So it’s just been a lot. And you know, being parents with three kids and things like that. It’s been a rough go. But what’s nice is the positive of that negative is that we’re unified. Right? So we’re, you know, household wise, everybody is, you know, all hands on deck. Everybody’s, I wish they would swap the deck, but all hands are on deck.
Chris Baran 1:13:00
Yeah. Well, she’s been she’s been in our thoughts. So I’m glad that she’s on the other side of it. The things that you hate most about our industry,
James Alba 1:13:12
you know, consultation,
Chris Baran 1:13:15
I’ll replace that with dislike, because hates a strong word. No, I’m, hey,
James Alba 1:13:19
I’m going with hate man. consultations, like I don’t understand. And like, everybody knows, if you’ve listened to this whole thing, I am not a hairdresser. I am so big into the consultation side of it. I don’t understand. Maybe it’s my sales background. And I just look at it differently than then people do behind the chair. But you know, the start of the service, right? The beginning of getting the anticipation of what’s going to happen next. There’s so much lost in that consultation, that there’s just not it’s hard to recover after that, and I can’t stand it. So I think everybody should go back and say, Maybe I shouldn’t say hey, how’s your color? Yeah, but we talked about do you want to make a change? Like, I think the expertise is so lost right at the beginning, that there’s no way to recover it and the
Chris Baran 1:14:09
right person you admire the most?
James Alba 1:14:14
There’s a lot I have to be honest with you Geno’s stamporo is my boy. Gino has been great. I mean, like I said, I’m not outing anybody else. I mentioned a lot of people that were mentors to me but Gino has really helped me navigate through I always jokingly say like, I know you’re really sort of semi retired so you’re trying to groom me to be the replacement closer for the New York Max like, if that’s the way it is. It’s fine. Like I know what he does. I’m like I’m cool with it. But But Gina has been been really good because he’s listened jersey, Italian. He’s like an uncle that you know.
Chris Baran 1:14:58
Love it. Love it and I I love that man to a person. Here’s why I was holding you back person that you wish you could meet.
James Alba 1:15:07
Well, it’s it’s definitely the Dow, you know, we opened in 2012, same year the Vidal passed. I, to be honest with you. I didn’t know, I know my wife had taken a lot of classes at Vidal whether it was the city or wherever it was, it Vidal didn’t speak to me at that point. What’s funnier, though, is that as the years have passed, it’s Sheila Herman’s Aquafina so if you guys aren’t into coffee, remember, Sheila’s awesome. Sheila does great work. She’s a rock star. She took the reins from Frank Camus and she’s running and trying to do all different things. She knows that I’m so interested in the history of hair. And she said, you know, we should talk I’m not going to do her accent because they do a bad job. But that, you know that that that accent that she has from the south, they we did a show. So for you guys don’t follow us beauty business reset on Facebook, we just sent our 150th Episode three years in, started during COVID, 30 days of straight education that turned into a monster that we don’t really know what we’re doing with it at this point, but a lot of time with a lot of famous people, a lot of friends that Chris and I both have. But Sheila had said, you know, I’d love to do something to pay homage to Vidal and what he does, and little did she know I already had it in the works. So I had, Elon says soon I’d eat insects. Soon I had worries tidy and Fernando Romero on because they all sort of were I mean, besides the kids being key ingredients. And that was the best that I could do to pay tribute to Vidal who’s somebody who I would have loved to met to have met. And what’s really funny is that same thing in my mayor Rolodex like Elon and Eden, we text. You know, we’re not like every day, but Well, hey, I saw you here. Hey, what’s going on here? And, you know, I’ve been able to retain a lot of those friendships, which I think that’s my problem. I have to start being mean at beauty shows because if I get any more friends that text me, like sometimes I’m like, why and the timezone thing and European I’m like, Alright, this is just Yeah.
Chris Baran 1:17:09
Love it. Something that people don’t know about you.
James Alba 1:17:14
You know, I was someone that should have went to art school. So I think that, you know, I wanted to go to Parsons School of Design. When I was younger. I was good enough, but not ambitious enough, because you know, boy hormones at 16. Like I said before with my kids, I look at my son, and he’s way smarter intelligence wise than I am. But I was more cystic. And I think that’s sort of what’s helped me with the industry here now is that I’ve always had that little bit of me that’s like, Man, I could have done something with that. So it’s sort of given me a newfound love for my artistic side in a different way.
Chris Baran 1:17:56
Love it. Love it. Okay, I’m gonna snap my fingers. I’m gonna give you a month off. Where would you go and what would you do?
James Alba 1:18:06
somewhere warm man, you know, Jersey, listen, every week talking about sustainability and global warming. I don’t know what that was going on in the northeast, but we don’t have any seasons anymore. It’s like winter, summer, winter, summer. But I’d like to go somewhere warm. Like I said to someone that had an affinity for art. I always like some place that has. I feel like we’ve traveled enough that everywhere has culture, right? That is interesting. I just liked the art component of it. And I think I’m old enough now to appreciate it in a different way. Where I don’t necessarily have to walk through the whole museum with the headphones on and listen to it. I can I can just look and appreciate.
Chris Baran 1:18:45
Yeah. Something or terrified of sharks. And that’s it. Favorite curse word? favorite, favorite curse? We’re
James Alba 1:18:56
supposed to say it or at least Yeah. Listen, same thing Jersey hit the it’s like what’s for dinner? Fuck you
Chris Baran 1:19:10
Okay, your favorite comfort food
James Alba 1:19:14
you know I’m a steak guy.
Chris Baran 1:19:17
You and me Yeah, it’s my
James Alba 1:19:19
steak and potatoes man i i Don’t take any good Irish in there.
Chris Baran 1:19:25
Oh no, no, I’ve been as your New Jersey dude. I don’t know if I can say Pittsburgh style you a Pittsburgh Steelers.
James Alba 1:19:31
I’m a fan of all types of steak. And you know everybody would think pasta wouldn’t be the first thing from Jersey but I got so fat during COVID That I’m like I don’t know. I’m a I’m a pasta lover from afar.
Chris Baran 1:19:44
Okay here one or two more quick ones here. I’m not sure if you know in in Canada we call it a do over Do you know what to do over us? Okay, one do over what would it be? What would it have been?
James Alba 1:19:56
I wouldn’t be I wouldn’t be there district You know what’s funny? To be honest with you, I went to a school that had a vote tech. I knew a lot of girls that were in my, you know, friends of mine that all went to vote tech. And there was no money exchange, it was basically subbing out another class, I went to went to beauty school, I went to got my license, even though even though in those days I had no affinity or no connection to it, I wish I would have done it, because I’d be the only person that graduated with it. I’ll be 50 Next year, I’ll go to beauty school now I’ll be the first person to charge $250 a haircut, they wanted a beauty school,
Chris Baran 1:20:32
they can go, I’m looking forward to that. Okay, good. So I wouldn’t run this by here. And this is just a couple of quick things on here is that if you had if you can have one wish for our industry? What would it be?
James Alba 1:20:48
I think communicate better. And that’s not just for salon owners, the staff or staff, the salon owners or staff to clients is just be you know, when I talk to salons from a business standpoint, everybody wants to stretch out meetings, right? How often do you have meetings out we have them every six months, or maybe once a year? Do them more often, like when you look at, you know, the stats here in the state always say they don’t do them now, because we have so much other nonsense going on here in the US. But they used to say that, you know, one of the biggest deterrents to have your kids get on drugs was to have dinner together, right? Yep, five o’clock, dinner, whatever, have the same concept in your salon. It doesn’t have to be a long meeting, a five minute morning, hey, there might be something, hey, there’s a new client, hey, this is here, hey, we’re out of this. But encouraged that little bit of hey, it’s just us before the doors open, and everybody’s here, but to encourage that sort of camaraderie in that team. And if you do it small and often, nobody cares, right? It doesn’t seem like oh, we’re gonna come in on a Monday for a three hour long thing. They’re just everybody’s so much more responsive and respectful.
Chris Baran 1:21:59
Yeah. And if you if there was one thing that for the people that are watching and listening right now, if they could just let go of or stop doing, what would that be?
James Alba 1:22:12
A whole nother podcast? Yeah. Like we had talked about the consultative aspect of what you do in the salon. And as the person that runs the front desk. I am the voyeur to a really busy salon, and I hear everything besides, it’s just you’re there all day long. You know, make sure that you stop saying, how’s your color or type of thing? That’s a thing. Start to convert it to what would you like to change? What did you like about it last time as there’s something we can do different? There’s so many things like that. And I love my new thing now is how do you listen, no matter what brands you carry, they all have like nine finishing products, right? Hairspray, that would be great for the 80s in New Jersey that you could stick yourself to the wall if anybody old enough. Remember the old Krazy Glue wrestles with the guy with the helmet, a start to the IBM down to you know shine sprays and things like that. It’ll give them the option. People like to have an option. Like I said with Paris. How would you like your finish? Yeah, right. Do you want dessert? No. Yeah, you have great, like, give them an offering, like stop going so abrupt. If you’re overbooked, and you’re double booked and you’re running behind, raise your prices to stop doing that. You’re doing a disservice to the clients. Like there’s so many facets with that. I guess maybe if I had to say time management, like be better at the time management because nobody’s ever talked to hairdressers about time management. Right? They’ve it’s never been that’s a business thing. That’s that’s just and you guys have to realize that regardless of whether you’re a booth renter or a chair renter, please based salon, your you steal your business within the business, like run it like a business, be a boss, like go in doesn’t mean you have to be nasty, but claim your space and be the expert that you are, I mean, after 10 years of experience, it’s like man, you should be able to like drop and say, Hey, I’m not going to be in next Friday because I have a wedding to go to for my favorite cousin. Well, we mean, you can’t just come in in the morning for me, absolutely not either come the week before come the week after come during the week. Like the balance doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to wait for the work life balance to come after you. Sometimes you need to go in and say hey, listen, I need a little bit of a restructure. And remember, April is a month to change. Change anytime that you want wake up tomorrow and say I’m going to do yoga. I am not going to say that tomorrow, but you can wake up learn and change what you do and and be excited about it. It’s how your your staff or your clients or whoever it is that hey, this is gonna be exciting. I always hated the way we did this. We’re gonna do it now. Spring is from
Chris Baran 1:24:56
it just before we wrap it up here what We’ve talked a lot about sustainability, etc. But what if somebody, if we sparked an interest to someone and they haven’t started on this yet? What can they do? Where should they go? Who should they contact? Well, how would they get started?
James Alba 1:25:13
So the two biggest ways to even get in it whatsoever? First of all, make sure your brand is somewhat sustainable. I know it sounds odd. It’s, it doesn’t have to be. But that’s always a good precursor. I mean, I can message me out. I said, we’re a dive in a salon. I know, I know all the best sustainable brands that are there that the companies themselves have some type of eco conscious consciousness to them. But monitor yet, you can’t change anything dynamically. And here’s what I love to do with salons that want to be more sustainable. Look at what your usage is, what’s your energy usage? What’s your water usage, not to make yourself more sustainable, but to save you money and be more sustainable. And that’s the benefit sometimes, too, is the saving money aspect that if I can have you save the planet and make you feel whole when you go home and have a story to tell your clients would actually save you money at the same time. Like Vish and hopefully I’m allowed to plug.
Chris Baran 1:26:11
Yeah, no, please. Sustained beauty
James Alba 1:26:13
quo, which does. They do? Biodegradable disposable towels and capes they do the Eco heads. This does the color management scale that has everybody in the salon industry wants really good software with online booking Vish does really good software that tells you how much waste not from the environmental from the dollar standpoint, down to the client. So the Jade. So when you look at the fact that those things are there and accessible, you could run a stronger business and be more environmental by default. So if you came to me and said, I don’t know salon, I need to save money, I would say great. Here’s all the things you can do. And if I snuck it in later, it’s like sneaking broccoli into like macaroni and cheese for your kids. If I if you asked me how to save money, I would show you all these things. And you’re like, Oh my God, to save me $500 or $1,000 a month or whatever it is. And I’m like, Oh, by the way, you just ate broccoli. And you’re more sustainable.
Chris Baran 1:27:09
Yeah, yeah. Listen, James, my new best friend. I just want to say thank you. You know, and I just think that what I’m hoping is come to light here is that, whether you’re into it all the way or you’re just getting started on it that what I love that you brought to light was that we all have to do something. If we’ve only got 455 harvests left what what the hell can we do? And how can we just get started on this. So James, for everything that you bring to us for everything that you do right from your team members, to your salon to the people that you helped us on the road new teach. And for just being a part of our podcast, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart to you, a friend a dear friend now. Thank you.
James Alba 1:27:53
Thank you so much for having me. I’m glad that we got to spend the time after all the phone calls but anybody that needs that any influence or any advice, I’m always open to it. It’s it’s it’s really not that difficult, but I’m always passionate about helping other salon owners. Thank you