Mr. Pomade: How was your recent trip to the east cost?
Brian Burt: Cutting hair in NYC was incredible. The sights, the sounds and the vibes were electric. You can see how the city inspires everyone from its residents to its visitors alike…including myself. My good friend, Luke Wessman, was able to orchestrate an amazing opportunity for me to cut hair at the tattoo shop where he works, Wooster Street Social Club. The tattoo shop is located in a huge space within a historic building in SOHO and is a breeding ground for creativity. The shop already had 3 barber chairs in it so we moved one into Luke’s “west coast area” and we were able to work a few feet away from one another. I have to give a big thank you to social media for allowing me to share my passion with the world and for letting others share their lives with me as well…it is truly profound.
Mr. Pomade: Did you see any differences in the barbering industry on the east coast?
Brian Burt: I didn’t necessarily seek out any shops during my visit, but it was funny how they seemed to find me when I was in Brooklyn and Manhattan. First thing that I noticed was that they were all really busy, like us out here on the west coast. Another thing that caught my attention was that shop owners are investing a lot of passion and a lot of money into their build-outs. The detail orientated décor is obviously valued from its reclaimed tin ceiling tiles to the Carrera marble counter tops. Manhattan shops reminded me a lot of the timeless and traditional scene on the west coast. I also noticed that the “respect gap” between barbers and cosmetologists was shrinking in NYC. I gave a haircut to a barber who was licensed for 5 years and decided to go back to school in order to earn his cosmo license just so that he could keep progressing his abilities. Usually, people are cosmetologists first and then become barbers, not vice versa. I thought that was pretty cool.
Mr. Pomade: What was the defining moment that made you want to become a barber?
Brian Burt: I was 25 years old and was a regular at a cool little hip hop barbershop in Seattle when one day I asked the owner about how I could do what he did. I started to look into barber school, but I was not ready to make the commitment at that time. Five years later, I was living in San Diego and working at concerts as a stage hand. I didn’t come from money and I never went to a traditional university, but I knew that I had to do something that provided a steady income, but most importantly, I needed to do something that I enjoyed doing. I reflected on all the good times I had back in that Seattle barbershop so I enrolled in a local barber college in Downtown San Diego, started school 2 weeks later and the rest is history.
Mr. Pomade: Tools are essential. What is your favorite clipper and why?
Brian Burt: My favorite Clipper is the Oster 76… I love that thing as much as a human being could love an inanimate object. I love the uniform sound that it makes, I love the smell of the oil & the machine while it’s running and I love the power that you can feel when you hold it. It’s like having a 454 big block Chevy motor in my hand. It’s powerful enough to blast through any amount of hair and versatile enough for fades, clipper over comb, or anything else I need it to do.
Mr. Pomade: What are your 3 most used/most asked for pomades?
Brian Burt:Layrite, Reuzel Grease Pomade, and Grant's.
- Layrite: I’ve always loved the smell of it. It’s the perfect consistency and they make a wide range of quality products. In the last few years, they started to focus solely on their product rather than the inventor which is making a great product even better.
- Reuzel Grease Pomade: It breaks down incredibly well when you warm it up in the palm of your hand and it’s super easy to apply to the hair. The consistency is not too thick with a perfect amount of hold.
- Grant's: It’s a local Seattle company. It is very light weight which is easy to comb through the hair and has little fragrance to it.
Mr. Pomade: What grooming products do you use personally?
Brian Burt: I love Crown Shaving Products from Toronto Canada. Their shaving cream is something that you just have to experience for yourself to understand how good it is. It smells amazing and it’s super thick while being incredibly smooth. Their aftershave (bay rum) is the best out there combining the perfect balance of alcohol and fragrance. I can’t wait to get my hands on their new pomade which will be coming out very soon.
Mr. Pomade: You seem to be passionate about barbering, how long do you plan to cut hair?
Brian Burt: I’ve been licensed for almost 11 years and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I plan on cutting hair for the rest of my life. Like anyone, I’ve had my moments in the past when I questioned my future in this industry, but then I meet barbers and cosmos that have the same passion as I do and they inspire me. The evolving nature of our trade keeps me motivated and excited to keep pushing my abilities every day. When the time is right, I hope to get into the product side of the business and do some editorial work. I would love to be on movie sets or backstage of runway fashion shows styling hair.
Mr. Pomade: Do you plan to open more shops in California or anywhere else?
Brian Burt: I get asked this question a lot. I even ask myself this question a lot. After owning and operating 2 barbershops for several years in Southern California, I would definitely like to open another shop at some point in the future. I have an idea about how big I’d like my next shop to be and how many barbers I’d like to have; however, I just don’t know when or what part of the world yet. LOL.
Mr. Pomade: Do you admire or look to any other barbers or tattooist for inspiration?
Brian Burt: Man… I admire so many people for so many different reasons. I admire people from the rookies to the OG's, from this industry to the opposite trades, from all walks of life and from all parts of the world. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly talented people that have integrity, positivity, self-made motivation, respect & humility. I’ll just name a few off the top of my head and if you’re reading this you can Google them to find out more. Here it goes…
- Alyasha Owerka- Moore @stackaly
- Ben Grillo @bengrillo
- Mark- Jason Solofa @mjsolofamensgrooming
- Fabian Redondo @barber_fabian
- Omar Romero @omarthebarber
- AJ Henley @capitol3arber2hop
- Brent Ferris @old_harbor
- Luke Wessman @lukewessman
- Jon Hikade @jonhikade
- Carlos Landeros @eggzitone
- Morgwn Pennypacker @ftwskills
- Duane Sorenson
- Aaron Grenia @aarongreniahair
- Coulter Jacobs @coulterjacobs
Brian Burt: One thing that I can humbly admit is that I still have a lot to learn…and that’s ok because as soon as anyone says that “they’re the best” or “they know it all”, it means that they will cease to grow. I intend on progressing my skillset every day and hopefully help take this industry & myself to new heights.