ep35 – Jamie DiGrazia

This week’s guest is a personal friend, a successful salon owner, a powerful advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, a NAHA winner as Men’s Hairstylist of the Year, and a key contributor to the Hair Has No Gender movement. She is someone I admire very much: Jamie DiGrazia.

  • Jamie discusses the importance of gender-free pricing and breaks down the method used at their salon to price their hair cuts.
  • Logan Parlor’s consultation is different. It’s a premium service in itself.
  • Jamie shares how to start a dialogue about hair with questions about each element of the haircut.

See the great work she is doing at Hair Has No Gender

Complete Transcript

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.

Today’s guest is a friend, but I want you to know a little bit of her street cred here is she’s a business owner, stylist educator, and an advocate for the LGBTQ plus community. She is a multi year NAHA winner and finalist in the men’s hairstylist Of The Year category. She’s a red con artist and a key member of the red can bruise team. She’s had a vision 10 years ago of creating a gentle gender neutral salon with gender neutral pricing, and hence the opening of Logan parlor in Chicago Chinatown. She’s a key contributor to the hair and has no gender movement. So let’s get into this week’s had case. Jaime di Grazia. Jaime di Grazia. I mean I don’t know it seems like forever since since I’ve seen you even though I’m sure it’s been in the dark alone. So on but my friend, we’ve spent many a time together shoots we’ve spent many times together, hanging out at shows together and and being just being compadres. So welcome to head cases. It’s great to have you here.

Jamie DiGrazia 1:40
Thank you so much. I’m honored to be here.

Chris Baran 1:44
Well, it’s it’s just you know, it’s funny, you know, when in doing these sometimes i You get to meet people that you’re meeting for the first time and you’re just becoming friends with them. And then there’s people like you that I know really well we’ve we’ve had our, you know, our laughs and our cries together and all of that stuff. So it’s it’s it’s really a pleasure to hear to have you and I’m really excited and I hope you’re noticing you noticing anything like that and if you’re listening in you’re probably wondering what they’re talking about right now. But you notice anything interesting about my look today?

Jamie DiGrazia 2:18
Like how great that logon parlor hat looks on Yeah,

Chris Baran 2:21
check out that logon parlor hat going on there I still still one of my faves. And you notice anything else?

Jamie DiGrazia 2:29
Oh, you’re bad to the bone with your hair has no gender.

Chris Baran 2:33
I got my hair has no gender badge on and everything. So I want to talk a little bit about that late.

Jamie DiGrazia 2:38
What’s that? Inclusive barber pole,

Chris Baran 2:41
my inclusive barber pole for those of you who don’t who are listening. My hat that I have on is a present that Jamie gave me quite a while ago and I wear it all the time and it’s a logon parlor hat that’s got the scissors on it and her name on it so it’s always nice to have something and wear something that’s that you know is a friend’s name it was a gift so the bit in the button that I’m wearing well by the way I don’t know if you notice but I had to wear my favorite pub bone house because it matches the matches the hat so I had to be color coordinated with that and the pin that I’m wearing is Jamie is the founder of hair has no hair has no gender in the US and she has the rights to it here and the the badge is a barber pole with the with gay pride stripes in it and and it says hair has no gender Which to me that’s always been a key tagline of mine that always bugged me for years that I opened this when we had the salon was we we always just charged by the minute and it had nothing to do with whether you were man woman or whatever and because oftentimes I don’t know about you but I find that sometimes men’s hair took longer to do because it was so much into more intricate with the with the fades and so on. But that’s a whole nother story and I want to leave that for down the pike but it’s great to have you on girl and I miss are hanging out time together. I want to go I want to I want to take you back to so but first of all that for the people that don’t know you I always ask I want I always want people to know why the hell you got into hair. I mean it’s people that’s the first thing that I people always say to me is like why hair what got you into it? So what’s your story in that?

Jamie DiGrazia 4:28
That’s that’s interesting. Well, it was the only thing I remember everything I wanted to do. When I was little my favorite aunt will come over and he had this green Camaro it was a drop PAP and she just looked like she did the best job ever see pull up in her Camaro with our kit. Come and do everyone’s hair at the kitchen table hanging out with their family eat dinner and then leave and go to another family’s house and like do the same thing. So she did like hair called it “your place or mine hair designs”. And I was like That is so cool. And she married her husband they owned, they opened a restaurant. And I started working for them when I was young, and at the restaurant. My first job I did from dishwasher to when we opened a second location downtown, I ended up running it for a while, but I did every job is kind of the place. And one day I was like, I can’t do this for one more day.

Chris Baran 5:32
I want to pause you there for a second before you move on. Because that’s

Jamie DiGrazia 5:36
I can’t I can’t serve another drink to anyone.

Chris Baran 5:41
Now, was it the drink? Or was the rowdy drunk that you had to serve?

Jamie DiGrazia 5:45
It was just all of it. I was like, I can’t do this. Yeah, you just think oh, I’m gonna open a restaurant. And then it was like that lifestyle? And those hours? And oh, yeah, I was like, I really just want to get really good at hair and say that, mostly because of the lifestyle and the, you know, the artistic component of it. I wanted to create not just, you know, order pay, right?

Chris Baran 6:11
I understand. So When Nanda what was that? How many years were you? How many we how many years? Were you in the restaurant business? And then was it still the dreams of your aunt that you know your place or mine that that pulley in Italy a really funny thing that your place or mine was my one of my former business partners, we we broke up our relationship as salon owners and he went on his own I went on my own. And his place was called your place or mine. So I find that really interesting. Even though it was always just his place. It was no other your place in there. But what how long was that stretch before? You said, Okay, it’s here?

Jamie DiGrazia 6:51
Yeah, 10 years, so 18 to 28. And I went to beauty school when I was 20. And my eyes and my hands like Mark masking, you know, so I was I was getting really frustrated that I would do these things. I tried to create them and all it just didn’t have that. That’s how I fell in love with redkin. And know why and you in principle based design. Because it it allowed me to, you know, have a plan for where I wanted to be to how to get there. So during I was like, Well, I’m making more money at the restaurant, and then I’m not frustrated, you know, because I’m not creating what, you know, I can’t create how I want to. So it was just easier to hang out in the restaurant. And I was like, you know, I gotta get good at this. Yeah. And that’s what

Chris Baran 7:38
the party told me about the path. Oh, sorry, I didn’t jumped on you there apologize. Tell me about the path from like, when you were in the salon. And tell me about the path that that took you through to the point where you went? Okay, good. I now I know what I want to do. Now I’m going to teach.

Jamie DiGrazia 7:58
Oh, yeah. So Well, I think it mostly started with just wanting to learn first, like I had a hard time learning, I did some apprenticeship with salons and educators locally. And I just didn’t feel like I was I wasn’t, maybe it was my learning style and their teaching style. It just was a disconnect between still being able to like understand how to get the end result that I was looking for. Right. So that’s how I fell in love with redkin. And their education. And my first time at the exchange was Lea Freeman and Patrick and Brian Washburn teaching color, no, why. And then I realized how much I took from that program. I was like, wow, like, I could actually give a professional opinion. Like I can make the choices now. You know, it was really something so then I was like, you know, coloring her health paper that a lot easier than I can put my way back out of something. So then I was like, I really want to make sure I’m grounded in cutting hair. Because that’s really where my passion is to design you know. So that’s what I just like, became obsessed with information and gotten away with it, like so many times. And then eventually, I think going to the exchange so much. They were like, you know, you should think about becoming an artist. And then I did yeah, which is awesome. But I really was like in love with the information because of the creative freedom that I’ve gotten from it. So I was like, I really I really want to be able to explain this to the apprentices in our shop. So once this path was open, I was like I really want to be able to give this information back. So that’s why I kept taking it so many times so I can learn it myself. be grounded and then share it with others. So yeah, that’s kind of where we’re at now. But

Chris Baran 10:02
it’s interesting that you know, when you bring up that an unknown, I’m sure there’s many academies that are out there in the world. But you and I have frequent, the one that read can exchange. And I think that’s the most beautiful thing about being an educator is just being able to, everybody always says, when I see the light go on in their eyes, that that’s all I need, you don’t have to pay me and I’d say, well, not looking, I always want to be paid. Number one, first thing I learned is that we want to be able to retire someday you have to get paid. But as that aside, I think that it’s more than, than just the seeing a light bulb go on, because sometimes the the light bulb goes on, but then they don’t do anything with it. And I think what you experienced is what I think that, as educators you always want is helping people to understand. And if they can understand them, they can rationalize it into any equation. In other words, if I learned how to do a bob on properly on X links, that I can shift the lengths, I can shift the angles, I can do that if I understand all the foundations and principles behind it. And I know that’s what you do. And I know that’s why you do that so well. So, yeah,

Jamie DiGrazia 11:20
I’ve learned from, from my time with facilitating hair cutting, and knowing, you know how sometimes people really don’t know what you don’t know, until someone shares with you. That’s where I’m at now with with hair has no gender I see. Like someone struggling, like honoring or understanding, you know, gender and hair and things that we’re up against. I just want to share that so people can, you know, feel compassionate for people who might be you know, experiencing, like discrimination not on purpose, but like, what are what are we doing instead, our businesses, and going and teaching hair cutting, I get to see a lot of things. And through that is where, and through my own business and through my clients is where I’ve come up with some things and practices to create more inclusive spaces. So, so free. So

Chris Baran 12:20
when you when you started your business, was it? Because I remember talking to you that was, you know, a long time ago, and I remember chatting with you about that. And And excuse me. I know that you said that that time. I don’t think that that was fully rooted at when you started the salon. I mean, I think we had a foundational element about it at that price. Yes. But would you say that you had it all together then? Or did it evolve as you went along? And I’m talking about the business side? And all of that that went along?

Jamie DiGrazia 12:54
Well, yeah. Big evolution, the only thing that we implemented was gender free pricing from the beginning, because I had, you know, a lot of queer friends that didn’t, you know, that might have been female, and then I’m shaking their heads. And at the other salons, I worked, it was like, we just charge them for men’s but but then that’s also you know, like, I go into the store, and they’re like, ma’am, do you know you’re in the men’s department? I’m like, Yeah, where I’d like to buy these cartons. You know, like, I’m, so are paying for a man’s manicure, because I don’t want to paint my nails, you know, because yeah, it come off with doing hair. So just, we opened like that from the beginning. But by having more, more queer people visiting the salon, the more we’re learning about what we can, how we can do better, that better serve everyone. Like we only have one bathroom, right? For a long time. I’m like, well, gender free, because we only had one. We didn’t have to make that change to be like, let’s have a bathroom for everyone. You know? Yeah. There’s some of the things.

Chris Baran 14:08
I want to jump back here for just for a second, because I know for all the people listening and watching right now, you know, they’re, even though that that whole gender free pricing has started. You know, once it’s established in a salon, it’s not gonna be hard to change, but it’s the fear of the change, and how complicated they think that it could be. So that whenever you’re talking about it could just explain it and there might even be some people out there, they’re going well, I don’t understand the difference of what I’m doing right now. Do what I’m doing right now and and gender free pricing the way they are defining it. So how do you what are some ways that you can define gender free pricing?

Jamie DiGrazia 14:57
Well, you can basically you can do anything asides charged based on someone’s gender, and in multiple states, Massachusetts, California, New York, it’s illegal. So there’s the gender discrimination loss of barbershops, salons, tailors, cleaners, they all have an Illinois, I’m gonna advocate that we have to, there’s a bill that needs to be lost. So I’m already working on talking to our state reps and try to get that passed. But really, it’s just hard to any other way on time, on your talent on the length of the hair. So that’s what we do we correlate a time and a length and have starting at prices. Because what’s happened is, you know, it’s discrimination for, you know, queer people who might not identify, you know, like non binary folks. But also, like, the pink tax, like women are paying more usually for things. And even though it might take more time than the less parts of our time, let’s just not charge, because you’re a woman, it costs more like any other reason other than, you know, someone’s gender identity, really. So our technique, you know, like my razor cuts, or my clipper cuts might cost more, because it takes longer to use those tools, I would stay away from charging based on texture or gender, because I think both of those things tie back to people’s like intersectionality that, then define how they pay for something, in my opinion, you know, more so like, hourly pricing, length of hair, also, just kind of comes back to correlating to like density code as well. Versus texture, you know, like, my hair is abundant, doesn’t matter if it’s straight, wavy, curly Coily. So, but what I see happening in the industry is hourly pricing, sometimes it’s under an hour, and we have 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes, and then an hour 15 to 75 minutes for like a transformational tests. So when someone’s putting all their hair off, and making a huge change, so that takes into account just like you know, parts and labor consulting and styling education before and after photos, you know, those it’s not a rushed experience, we really want to meet people where they’re at. And we can’t do that unless the sense of time, like understanding their desires, right, what they want for their hair, and we want to express themselves through it. So being able to not do 30 minute haircut, you know, we I can’t I can’t I can’t get there. I can’t get anyone there in that amount of time. I can’t even consult and wash someone’s hair, and feel good about what I’m about to create in 30 minutes.

Chris Baran 18:12
You know, yeah. Yeah. And I think that’s that’s what I’ve I’ve always loved about this is that you know, it’s, I think the not the first but I chapels salon, I know chapel out of the UK, they they have that parts and labor kind of pricing. It’s they charge you when you come in it that you’re charged from the time you walk in the door till the time you leave. And I’m sure it’s not firm. If you can run it using the loo or anything, even though later I want to I want to I want to talk to you about the claim that you have for your bathrooms, because I think it’s really clever. But it’s it’s about that the time that it takes you to get to the finished look. And and I can always find it, I find it interesting when even on stage when you would ask a group or in a classroom, you would ask people, you know, what determines how much you how much you charge. And inevitably, the last thing to come up was the time you know, so if it if something takes longer, that’s what we charge for his time. That’s where that’s where we get paid for what we do is everybody that’s in our kind of business, it’s how much can you do in an hour,

Jamie DiGrazia 19:25
like Uber drivers or taxi cab it’s like how far you’re going if there’s traffic like there’s, there’s it’s not just a flat fee, it’s a starting at flat fee, but then from there it goes on it’s like well, if there’s traffic, it’s going to take longer so then it’s now it’s a time thing. And if you have you know, more bad like you have an abundance of hair like I didn’t realize I was massive. Carry 10 bags and you were gonna go from the standard 18 foil to 128 you know yeah, get this look though. Yeah. Yeah. makes sense. I think a lot of what I’m learning now is that we’ve just done things the way we’ve always done them. And like, that’s what my aunt did when she pulled up in a Camaro. So now that’s what I’m gonna do. So I’m like, well, that doesn’t serve like my aunt served our family, right? That serve the queer community, which is what I’m tackling dude didn’t have a brick and mortar than just looking at like the way that we do business. Just because that’s the way it’s always been doesn’t mean that the way that we go forward, right? So that’s kind of what I’m looking at now, like, in what ways? Are some of these practices not serving? Or which one do you serve? Like, and let’s celebrate those. So kind of taking our look at our industry as a whole, and seeing where we can make the best, you know, you haven’t been really separated by race and gender, all

Chris Baran 20:50
forever. Yeah. And I think it’s great that all of a sudden, I mean, I don’t think we’re gonna get there overnight. But what I find is that I think everybody’s being much is being very sensitive right now. You know, whether it’s whether it’s motivated by whatever reason, but it’s good. And and I have to say that, because I’ve heard you say, the use of the word queer, like, three or four times already here. And and because you know, I’m of that age that I’m a baby boomer. So it was just the habits that Baby Boomers and Gen X’s are going to have are different than the kids that are having right now. So I think you have to do a little research and researching this, that what I loved, I thought was so great. Is that one time queer was a slur. And I loved how the LGBTQ community embraced it. And you said, Well, that’s going to be our slogan for us. Yeah. Yeah, I thought that was really clever.

Jamie DiGrazia 21:52
I mean, it’s always different. Like, when I’ve heard people like in my family, a queer, what they’re trying to say is like, they don’t have a word for like, ooh, that’s different. You know, whether it’s interesting or weird, or they they’re not sure how they feel about it. It’s always that was what queer meant, like, us growing up, like, oh, that’s queer. Like, that’s not not that it’s not right. But it’s just like, different, so I never really hated the word, but I do know that it’s kind of like derogatory, but I love that our communities like taking it back and making it a more of a celebrate Tory term. Really similar to the terrible N word, you know, like, um, groups of people aren’t allowed to use that word and others take it and you know, own it. Yeah. I really have a great love for it. So, you know, our communities, and it all depends on what is behind it. Is it love? Is it hate? You know?

Chris Baran 22:53
Yeah, I think that’s a key word right there. You know? Darn it. I mean, if just if I could get along a

Jamie DiGrazia 23:02
little bit better, you know? Yeah.

Chris Baran 23:05
Yeah, I think that’s

Jamie DiGrazia 23:08
a lot of things happening, you know, lack of fit for quality and human rights right now. It’s not just right now, it’s been this way forever. You know, like somebody said something to me recently, like, Well, it hasn’t been that long since women have had the right to vote unlike. Yes, it has. But also like, where does that come from? You know, like, we’ve always been fighting for something like trans rights. People have been fighting for that to Stonewall. Like, when when was that? So it’s not not new. It’s still ongoing. And it’s ongoing, because they’re no, we’re still getting backwards. Like all these anti gay laws that are happening. Like, we got to keep going until everyone has no equal human rights. Oh, yeah. You did a lot of folks think less. More for someone else means less for them, you know. So I think if we can cultivate more oneness for everyone, that would be

Chris Baran 24:18
you know, I think that’s what’s so beautiful about our industry, too, is our industry. And it may not be for everybody, and everybody’s always into Yeah, but I know one person that but what I love about our industry is beauty and wellness industry is that it’s so inclusive and so welcoming. To the most part, you know, I’m sure we’ve got some people out there or not and campaign.

Jamie DiGrazia 24:44
Promotion, you know, it’s not just marketing, you know, it’s not like, actually, it’s just no everyone, just like the queer people want things. Men want things specifically for that. I’m like, It’s stereotypical, but like, things are gendered for, you know, marketing purposes. And also people want things that resonate with them, whatever that means. Like, if that means gender, or is it sexuality, whatever it is. In our industry, I feel like we do, we’re lucky enough to have so many, like celebrities, so many different intersectionalities of people know, like, our industry as a whole, like most people have hair, right. Most people have the nails. People want to room and feel good, and, you know, express themselves through these things. I think we have the opportunity to really opportunity, all different kinds of lifestyles. People you know. So I’ve been doing a little research, I haven’t like micro aggression, like accidentally

Chris Baran 26:08
on what

Jamie DiGrazia 26:11
micro aggression microaggressions the simple act of like, unconsciously, accidentally, like offending someone based on their one part of or multiple parts of their intersectionality whether it’s like race, gender, to be better to have, like, someone singing in the salon, like before, you should really want to cut off your hair, it’s so pretty. Like that is like, it’d be really harmful to someone who really wants to cut their hair off. And now their hair just there’s like, their hair, the one that is on sugar, right? Like, things like that, that I’ve been noticing that we we need to talk about. So we can, you know, maybe, usually we do or give our professional opinion. It doesn’t matter that I would never take my head. But if that’s what you want, I can give you the sickest thing ever. Right? Yeah, I put my own fears kind of in the way of the hair that someone else made.

Chris Baran 27:13
It was interesting what you said there. And because I mean, know how to turn this correctly. So I’m just gonna say it. The, I’m sure that most people that would say that, you’d like you said it’s because of their fear, not what you want. Number one, but number two is, and the most important part is to understand they didn’t intentionally go out to try to offend, but you’re not thinking about what they do still can. You know, and that can build up a barrier between the relationship that you have between you and your client, and all of a sudden, they don’t trust you and want to go back to you anymore. And I think that’s

Jamie DiGrazia 27:58
to do with my own fear. A lot of times, people will be like, Well, I’m here to teach a barbering class, right, right. You know, send me in, I’m here to do certain class on website and they’re like, I don’t do men’s. I’m like, just a clipper you’re afraid of or like men in general. Like, what’s the core of the situation? Because that’s kind of fun to see. Like, where some of this stuff actually comes from?

Chris Baran 28:25
Yeah. What’s what’s the response? When you ask that question?

Jamie DiGrazia 28:29
And they say, Yeah, I don’t know. I’m scared of the clippers. It’s never like, really agenda.

Chris Baran 28:35
Yeah, cuz I find, you know, and miss because I’m in I’m also in the business of beauty schools. And I travel all over teaching hair cutting as you do. And I think we’re in an era for about the last X number of years, don’t you pick the number where everything has been long and curled and, and we have people coming into our industry, that that’s what they’ve been brought in, in the middle of that era, where they’re making money from it. And we know where it’s all going to shift. You know, what, you know, if we’re just growing your hair to cut it, and we’re cutting it to grow it. So how do you know it’s that whole fear of short hair in general? And I think that when you compound that with and what was microaggressions that saying things unknowingly with with maybe intent with not not with bad intention? It could, it could help to ruin a relationship. This episode is sponsored by the salon associate accelerator from trainers. playbook.com. Are you struggling with the time and cost of associate training? Do you feel like your salon is running you will get your associates on the floor. All with 90% Less time from you. So you can get back to building your business. Get them world class design, finishing color, and client care skills they’ll use every day for the rest of their career. While you focus on realizing your vision, go to trainers playbook.com and get the salon associate accelerator. And now back to the show. So Jamie, the, in teaching the classes on hair has no gender. And if they have a you know, they don’t know what to expect, what what can they expect when, when you come in to teach.

Jamie DiGrazia 30:43
So it will be a blend of technical skill, you know, sword hair sculpting is super. Like, I’m super passionate about technical skill, and helping people use their tools in different ways, right, are getting really comfortable shorthair sculpting, and then the whole business aspect, like how to make your environment more inclusive. So how to be an allied space, like safer space advocate. And to me, what that means is just making sure that everyone and anyone that walks into your spaces, feeling, you know, safe and emotionally and physically but like also safe to have creative freedom with new is or artists and leaving with the outcome of the air that they want. So what does that look like? You know, and just giving ideas about looking at your business where it’s at now? What are things that no longer serve? Or what are some things we can implement? And kind of doing like a little audit? How, you know, inclusive? Are we and are we you know, accidentally? You know, could be could we be accidentally, you know, discriminating by doing a gendered menu or having a gendered bathroom? Or, you know, charging certain ways or not having like an ADA compliant business? Or like, what are the things that we could do better, basically, and just having a conversation around that, you know?

Chris Baran 32:22
So it’s part of I’m sure, is there a, I mean, in our business is always about consultation. So, like, do you deal differently with the consultation in this regard? In the classes that you teach? What give us a little insight into that?

Jamie DiGrazia 32:36
Yeah, so in the, well in the salon, we always, you know, sit I level on a stool and have like a moment with each death. Like I want to understand they’re like, they’re just like the some of their you know, a lot of people have hair cut trauma or like what they’re afraid of, or what they really want. Just, you know, there’s like a lot to unpack, you know, so I try to do it as fast.

Chris Baran 33:02
I just I just if you haven’t been if you’re not watching, I was giving her the timeout, because I didn’t want to step on her. But I want you to go back and say that word again, because you talked about what was it hair cut trauma is the word you use. Yeah. Give us a little more about that.

Jamie DiGrazia 33:21
Well, the last person that caught my hair does this. And you know, I never gotten a good haircut. I’m like, Well, this is this is gonna that’s a great opener, right? Like someone’s down. And that’s what they say like my stylist. I had to coach them on last week. They’re like, well, you know, he said, No one makes her happy. How was I supposed to make her happy? I’m like, well, it’s to me. That’s like, challenge accepted. You know, I’m like, No one makes me happy. I’m gonna be the one that does. That’ll freak you back and freak a new stylist right out, you know?

Chris Baran 33:50
Yeah. So yeah, and go ahead.

Jamie DiGrazia 33:55
Yeah. How do you vote someone to say that just means that this person needs to be heard, right? That person just needs to be listened to. And you can be that person. You know, let’s ask them a series of questions that we can get to the answer can deliver them what they really want. So that to me, when someone says something like that, I’m like, Oh, great, now I have the opportunity to serve them better. Right. So

Chris Baran 34:21
and I think I hear you saying that, when they’re saying that it’s not directed at you. And it’s just your story that is going to say, Oh, I don’t want it to be me. And that’s what compounds that and then your brain can’t think and you can’t be creative. So all you have to do is just say this is that was then and this is now and I’ve got this amazing opportunity to ask questions to gain the trust of that person. So they do trust me, you know, and I can go to more in depth training and that’s why I love what you’re saying about how in depth you go with the consultation and you’re charging for that as well because that’s time in and and That’s what really knocks out all of the things that that they don’t want. And all the things that they do like, and you can add that in and you accomplish that with safety by feeling good. They’re you’re, you’re golden,

Jamie DiGrazia 35:14
you got it. Yeah. And really like the consultation, like having a gender affirming consultation, to me just means like honoring someone, where however, they, you know, whatever their pronouns are, and honoring that and not letting like preconceived notions create the safe. So whatever that looks like, I always just break down. And I always start with, you know, ask for consent. Can I ask you a couple questions? You know, I’m going to ask you quite a bit, because I really want to make sure that I give you the look, you know, that you want. So I have a bunch of questions. Is that okay? And people will be like, yes. But if you just start asking, they’re like, just, do they not understand what I want? Like, what I’m like, setting them up, right? It’s all set up. So but breaking down even like, on the short, you know, the perimeter all the way around, you know, sometimes perimeter, or people just think it’s the length, but on the shorter side, it’s like it’s the friend. Okay, well, what about the friends? Is it? Is it symmetrical as it asymmetrical is a blunt? Is it TEC? Is it you know, with a cut around the ear? Is it over the ear? Or is the hair over the ear? Or is it cut out around the ear, there’s just like so many elements of just the perimeter to discuss, so I just, like dive deep into it, and really tailor and customize, you know, the end result to whoever’s in the chair, which is so fun, because it’s like, you know, new creation every time.

Chris Baran 36:41
And so, for the people that are listening and watching here is because that, I think what you said is so great. And that does apply, um, because as sure, I’m sure you have straight people and people from the gay community that are coming into your salon as well. And when you say it’s a gender neutral conversation, is there. Do you teach specific things on? On what does make it a gender? Besides the hair part is like, a conversation. How does that go? Do you?

Jamie DiGrazia 37:13
Yeah, sometimes folks, you can either have like a gender affirming Council, which could be for someone that’s in transition, or like non binary, and they want to express that and they want to know, because people think men’s lives like that short hair only and women’s customers on here only. So sometimes you just have to like take those ideas and throw them out the window. So you can get to wherever you need to go for the person in your care. And other times, you really have to consider that like someone may be transitioning a trans man might really want a sort tight fade, and they to look traditionally what they would consider to be like a men’s haircut, you know, so you really have to handle whatever it is that your guests is wanting. So you have to be open enough for them to share that with you. So you know, you know, the right questions to ask and how to ask them in a way that might not be offensive, or, you know,

Chris Baran 38:17
give us some example like how, because they find I find this super interesting. Because I know that fear factor of people don’t want upset and they don’t want to say the wrong thing. And then but can they just say nothing? And then it goes south? Because you’re not saying anything?

Jamie DiGrazia 38:32
Yeah. Like sometimes I’ll say, Well, you know, well, how short is too short? And they’re like, Well, I don’t want to buzz. So then I’ll say okay, and then I’ll show some pictures. And I’ll say Do you mind if we look at you know, male models? Or you know, do you mind if we look at this? And they might be like, No, yeah, like, if someone will tell me, I want it to look like a men’s pet. Like, in my mind. I’m like, Well, I know what that traditionally looks like, tonight, I could start looking at pictures like that. Or they’ll be like, I don’t want it to look like a boy’s cut, like people have these ideas. And they’re like, Well, what does that look like to you? Does it look like this? You know, is it softer than that? You know, like, what? What part of this? Don’t you like and sometimes they can’t put it into words. You know? So really, the different elements like do you want it to be, you know, tight, or like I just try to use descriptive words and just not gendered because anyone can have short hair and anyone can have long, you know, but like, how do you want it to move? You know, how comfortable are you saying when you’re like, trying to catch, catch the vibe. So images are really helpful. So sometimes I’m shocked by the images that people will bring in and I’m like, Oh, cool. That’s not what I had in mind. But this is great. Yeah, you know, yeah, I

Chris Baran 39:48
always find it interesting when people would bring in the look, that was I’m a short haired guy. So I mean, you show me a picture of short hair, and I’m in there like swimwear? You know? I just think it’s amazing. And I and I I always think that I am shocked when somebody brings in something that I find really super cool. But I would be shocked that that person brought in this picture of that hair. And I’m, I’m just cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over it and can’t wait to get into it. Yeah.

Jamie DiGrazia 40:18
Sometimes we just have to check though because it could be like they liked the color, right? And not the shape or something, you know, that happened to? So it’s all about the elements and barometer silhouette and texture, like what do you like, and then asking the right questions around each, each element. And that’s how you think, can consult in a way that has nothing to do with gender. And it’s completely tailored and, you know, there’s things people will want for, like affirming their gender like, no, there’s things we might have to do for people, like trans men might be growing in facial hair for the first time. Can I teach you how to groom your beard? You know, has anyone taught you? Have you ever seen the barber? Like, would you like a straight razor? You know, or there’s some, some trans women that will come in that don’t know how to like handle the curling iron? I’m like, don’t sweat it, neither do I let me call in the NG because he’s the one that has all the iron experience, you know, so sometimes we don’t have to have all the answers, we just have to be a good ally and have a resource. Like, the person for you, if you want to do extensions, you know, but received it. So let me introduce you to see, well, yeah,

Chris Baran 41:36
it’s a partnership than right. It’s not that I’m worried about losing my client, because Christina has taken it over. It’s a partnership within the salon.

Jamie DiGrazia 41:45
Yes, it’s a collaboration. That’s the

Chris Baran 41:49
one love about what you’re saying. And that what you’re teaching is it’s just really about questioning isn’t it? It’s it’s about the more questions you can ask that the more information you’re going to glean from the client, and that it can take that fuzzy picture that you’re forming in your in your head down to more of a at least, is becoming clearer, it might not be an eight by 10, glossy, but it’s going to be clear of the image that you have to create, right?

Jamie DiGrazia 42:20
Yeah, it’s really quite nice for me and for the gap, you know, so yeah, I like clarity. I like clear agreements. I like, like that. So then I know that I’m doing the best that I can. Yeah, real clarity.

Chris Baran 42:37
I want to ask a question that I think that people that might not be or don’t are really afraid of, how do I get into gender neutral salon? And I don’t know if this is a fair question. You can tell me whether it is or not. But do you ever discuss their where they’re at in their life of their transitioning or anything? Do you ever have that conversation?

Jamie DiGrazia 43:06
Yeah, great question. Great question. Yeah, only if someone wants to share, like, I would never ask anybody about their, you know, sex play for their gender identity for you know, like, that’s really has nothing to do with it. But mostly, like, it comes around, like, sometimes you can see someone might be growing in facial hair, and they didn’t have it before. Right. So you can ask questions around? Is there anything else you’d like for you know, me to do today? Is there anything else you want to talk about? Just like opening it up and creating space for someone to share, but I would never poke around in personal questions like that. Like, is there anything else you’d like to learn about your hair scan, or, you know, like, really, and then it could be tell all Tuesday, and then you’re talking about, you know, all kinds of stuff with that. But really, really, that doesn’t really have a factor that sort of thing. Like, the more I can understand about, like, what they want shape wise, and how they want to express themselves. That’s up to them, like, you know, a gender affirming haircut could be, you know, long hair for a guy, you know, like, it just depends on who you are. And what you like it. Yeah.

Chris Baran 44:23
Yeah, it’s what I love what you say it. I love what you said with anything else that you want to talk about. And I’m not saying that we’re everybody always says, Well, we’re part time psychologists. No, we’re not. We don’t we’re not. We’re not. We know how to help people. But we were not qualified to do that. So that’s not certainly not what I’m talking about what but what I liked about what you’re saying here, is it can open up a dialog. And that can just even if it’s just the first time they say no, and you ask it again the second time, it might, it leads to the trust and Yeah, and, and I think that’s when people will open up to you, you know. And sometimes, while I don’t think that we don’t get up in the morning and say, Hey, let’s have tell all Tuesday today, because I’m right at the point of when you’re doing this, I’m running about three minutes behind, and I’ve got another client waiting. However, it could open up a whole dialog of where you could help that person.

Jamie DiGrazia 45:23
And it could be hair related, you know, gone through all kinds of steps you can give me resources for, for today’s workforce that we see and people we, you know, you never know, when you could serve, I mean, obviously, through hair is what we’re doing. But someone is like, I’m having a hard time, you might be like, Hey, I have this resource, or have you thought about this, or? No, that’s perfect. And people are sharing a lot with us. I think the more they share, the more open they’re there, they’ll have ever considered going blah, they might be like that. And I’m like, Well, I think it would look great on you. If I didn’t, if I open with that. Date, they’d be like, You’re crazy.

Chris Baran 46:17
Would you bring up another good point, you bring up another good point, whether it’s, and this has nothing to do with with gender? Because that’s what we’re talking about. But it’s opening a dialogue for something that they don’t see. The cuz it’s just have you ever thought about going short? Have you ever thought about asymmetry? Have you ever thought about a short fringe? Or I could see you with a short fringe that would be either A, B or C and give people choices? And then say, Look, I don’t have even when you say, Look, I don’t have time for this today. But this popped into my brain and I was just thinking about you with your fringe. And and I think it’d be amazing on you. And I’ve got like, three options that I could run by and I want to tell you, I don’t have time to do it today. But I just want to throw it out there. And just I want you to go out there. Think about it. And if you think it’s an absolutely stupid idea, we’ll let it go. If you think it’s a wonderful idea, start to capture some some pictures and images. And let’s talk about the next time and let’s book a little consultation before time. And I think get getting people to in be intrigued, you know, so that, I think if I talk about cutting a fringe a bang, depending on your terminology, and if I do an eyebrow eyelash skimming brow, it could be what did you call it? Hair trauma, it could be hair trauma. But if I talk to you about six weeks ago, or two months ago, and and we it’s this whole drama is this whole thing about like if you ever think about buying a car and you say I want to buy a Corvette, and you put it in your brain, and I want to buy a Corvette, suddenly you see Corvettes everywhere where they weren’t there yesterday. And if you talk about a bang or fringe, or you talk about red hair, or you talk about barley, I’m sure you talk about blondes, and you plant that in their brain, they see that everywhere. And then all of a sudden it’s not trauma, all of a sudden it’s fit in. I think that’s so great.

Jamie DiGrazia 48:24
Interesting. I think a lot of folks, when we do these short hair programs, they just don’t aren’t used to seeing the opportunity that sort of hair has you know, normally it’s like jammed into processing time but I lost people I do blur I do something treatments like I treat your hair just like most people treat long hair. If anything, I think I have more opportunity because growing so fast, and I can do things faster and more intensely to it, you know, because the rest of it. Yes. Is there faster, the Bigger Bolder impact. There’s just like, so much more that I think sometimes people are we just have to cut this short. when really it’s like the beginning you know?

Chris Baran 49:13
Yeah, you couldn’t give me a bigger better segue right there. Because we kind of work together what are some of the no ha things and so on it I’ve got some of your pictures that we’re going to bring up here in just a second. And because you were talking about short hair and how you love that and I’m a short hair geek too. So I want to bring that up and I just want to talk about the images because there’s this is the ones you were finalist and one you won for for nah ha and I want you to just like to talk about how you what was the feeling like when you transition because I know you had done photo shoots before and there’s no you didn’t go in there cold. But what was it like for you having the experiences because we did those shoots at the exchange? What was So what was the experience like and what was, you know, this talk about the experience first of creating those looks

Jamie DiGrazia 50:11
really like data for them like having, I mean, the canvas that was completely open like there was nothing off the table like limitless possibility. So cool. And then to be able to, like, know that I wanted to tie them together, so they reach and they’re like, What? What Amen. Can I utilize the make them together but also changed that I have like, three different skin tones, different hair types, like really honoring different people, you know, characteristics and how to, like, live together as well, you know, really just having the most exciting, most exciting. Hair was just the, you know, medium to which the story was told. So I think that was the right my personal experience is like the artist.

Chris Baran 51:16
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, Jamie, I just want what for the people listening. What I want to just, I’m just going to do a quick description here of kind of what that if you can imagine that’s going on, there’s two collections here three images, each one. And on the first collection, and this, the top collection is the one that you you were the men’s the winner, you won nah ha men’s hairstyle is to the year. And the the images are, one is on very, very coily hair. And one is on coyly to curly and but the it’s the shapes that you put in, and the other one is straight. And what I want the audience to get is how the the one look is almost if you could just imagine an arrow so it’s pointed and that Viet at the crown. And then this dead stick straight lines that are out of that. And I think that’s what helped you win on this was how clean even though two of them are on texture, one was on straight. But there was this juxtaposition that happened. Where the the the coily hair is, is straight perimeters with this incredible texture on the inside. And the straight hair is you have to imagine kind of a a mohawk that standing up with a fade that’s on the side and carvings in it. And it was done so beautifully how you can have straight lines that end up looking like curves etc. And on the bottom three, that you are with finalists within the Hereafter. And there’s again two that are on two that are on coily hair. But the the the gentleman that it has almost like a point brought out asymmetrically over his left eye and then roundness behind it. So it almost looks like in the back, you’ve got the top of the derby on. And then you have this triangle in the front of it. And it’s so it was so amazing. And then on the middle shot is about is all curved, but the lines are so clean. So it’s like that mohawk again. But it’s a curved rounded thing with a little point on the front. And then I know on and that if I’m not mistaken. The one on the bottom right, that is Kenan right that was he was he’s not only great photographer, a great dancer, but he was a great model. And that was those are some pieces that pieces that you put in curled and then added length to his hair to create the elongation in the front. So it’s kind of a big question the front. And then some. I always call them in the past tattooing, that hair tattoos that you put in with the clippers, etc. And the looks are just phenomenal on their girl. So what was your what was the experience like when you’re I want to take everybody if you have not had the opportunity to be an AHA or be excuse me or be nominated. And you’re anticipating the wind. you’re anticipating and hoping and praying and there’s all this great look that it’s up there. What was that like when they called your name?

Jamie DiGrazia 54:43
I had a little things, you know, like a little compared you know, it was a big deal. The first year that we won, it was it was really important to be on this level of you know, winning men Paracels OF THE YEAR felt good Not wait, because of my background of wanting to create inclusion and men, I’m like, I don’t even do a lot of men I do hair, you know, like, just Yeah. So in our excepted, she was able to talk about that. And then next year, they changed the category to Barber of the year, which also not a barber either, but it was a step in the right direction. And, you know, that was really cool. Like, I felt like there was a lot of opportunity to like speak about those kinds of things, you know, like, because when you are nominated, or you win, there’s a lot of related and there’s a big deal, it’s a celebration, and I was able to use it, I think, you know, in my opinion to talk about some of those things. The Pro beauty Association, and then during the acceptance speech, which was really cool. But yeah, it’s a treat Fred that came with, it was crazy, but the most, I loved just collaborating like having you as my mentor on it. And then working with the back with the angles in the way that he positioned their body then had everything to do with how I wanted the hair to look like coming into collaborations with the wardrobe and makeup on photography and lighting. And like, all the elements of the photo, like, here, obviously, is what it’s about. But all those other elements really made the hairless good, right?

Chris Baran 56:32
You know, because it’s interesting on there as well. I don’t know if you notice, but there was tattoos on even though that on the first one you one with there really wasn’t any, per se wardrobe on. They just didn’t have any clothes on the top. But there was tattoos. And that was the that was Jeremy and Pascal, from PJ concepts that said, look, it’s going to add to it if you keep it clean, but you have you add tattoos, and that and so that was the wardrobe that pulled that all together with and then Marie Laura’s makeup was phenomenal. So I just want to say, Jamie, that it’s been great to have you and I have one more quick question that I want to ask you here. And that is is in you know, there’s so much going on in our industry, but if you could have one wish for our industry and you could just snap your fingers and it would happen tomorrow. What would that be?

Jamie DiGrazia 57:34
would be that people will ready? More prepared more preparedness again. All take both Yeah. I’ve been having so much fear around certain hair types or gender or main your you know, like having more oneness where our industry in general those that have been experienced over the years to be able to also to be very like like one this would be my word.

Chris Baran 58:25
Yeah. Good. Good. Well, I’m inclusive on that wish. So Jamie, I just want to say thank you, I know that with the salon and everything you do and and you’ve given up some of your time to be out here and help the people that are out there. And I always say I just hope that for the young kids and us old young kids that are out there watching and listening that you really did. You really did have a great influence on there. But can I beg one one thing from you? I always do one quick thing at the end of every program where it’s just quick fire stuff. One word answers one quick sentence answers is Can I can I run that by you in here? I’m just gonna do it so let’s go for it. Okay, what turns you on in the creative process

Jamie DiGrazia 59:23
early on in the creative process

Chris Baran 59:25

Jamie DiGrazia 59:32
being able to observe and like really like getting

Chris Baran 59:39
and what stifles the creative process for you.

Jamie DiGrazia 59:43
Yeah, not being able to go with it.

Chris Baran 59:46
Got it. An event or a show that you love that you’ve done I’m sure there’s many but what’s one that a standout one

Jamie DiGrazia 59:56
I think it was our shoot together. Wow. Siri

Chris Baran 1:00:01
that was that was a fun time

Jamie DiGrazia 1:00:03
collaboration and yeah it was just beautiful

Unknown Speaker 1:00:08

Chris Baran 1:00:08
okay thing a thing and life in general that you dislike the most time and what do you love most about life

proudest moment of your life

Jamie DiGrazia 1:00:37
your life

I’ve had a couple I don’t know the proudest I mean just recently we’ve hit our 10 year mark which is a big deal I’m able to save enough money to buy my first home was a big deal. Getting the NA word was a big deal. Um, but I think the proudest was leaving like a you know I cannot do this career anymore and I need to learn something new and get really good at it and stuff like that for you enjoy you know pick into a career change

Chris Baran 1:01:22
things you hate most about our industry.

Jamie DiGrazia 1:01:26
Segregation and the separation

Chris Baran 1:01:30
a person you admire the most is the person you wish you could meet Madonna something people don’t know about you

Jamie DiGrazia 1:01:49
I’m pretty spiritual.

Chris Baran 1:01:52
Oh, very cool. a month off. Where would you go? What

Jamie DiGrazia 1:01:57
would you do with a month off?

Chris Baran 1:02:00
Yeah, where would you go and what would you do?

Jamie DiGrazia 1:02:03
Oh, I go to Sicily and eat and look up my ancestors in a lot of wine.

Chris Baran 1:02:12
Eat with a did ROTC family monitor something that you’re terrified of

so I missed that. What was it

your favorite comfort food. Spaghetti something in the industry you haven’t done but you want to

Jamie DiGrazia 1:02:43
making wigs from rat

Chris Baran 1:02:48
a one.

Jamie DiGrazia 1:02:50
Lawler and Ruth rose and a general life to teach them everything that they know.

Chris Baran 1:02:56
Love it something in industry that you haven’t done but you want to

Jamie DiGrazia 1:03:11
shoot for like men’s Vogue or something like that.

Chris Baran 1:03:16
Okay, good. One do over. If you had do one thing over in your life what would it be

okay, good. Tomorrow you couldn’t do hair couldn’t do hair couldn’t have anything to do with the industry? What would you do?

Jamie DiGrazia 1:03:40
Oh, I couldn’t have anything to do the industry at all.

Chris Baran 1:03:43
Nothing to do with the industry. What would you do?

Jamie DiGrazia 1:03:50
I’m probably open like the clear wine bars and things.

Chris Baran 1:03:56
Oh, nice. Oh, back to service back to service and drinks

Jamie DiGrazia 1:04:01
I’m gonna hang out with Yeah, I have to go hang out with the people. Yeah.

Chris Baran 1:04:09
Well, Jamie, thank you so much for being with us for sharing giving your address and for what everything you’re doing for the community to help to enclose include the inclusivity I just want to say thank you and it was a pleasure having you on here and can’t wait two weeks and get together and have that glass of wine together.

Jamie DiGrazia 1:04:27
No, thank you and I’m gonna go look at place now.

Chris Baran 1:04:32
There you go. Let me know when you get to be in Italy will read and I’ll join you.

Jamie DiGrazia 1:04:38
Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure to collaborate again.

Chris Baran 1:04:43

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