We work with many awesome barbers within the industry so we thought we’d introduce a new blog series; Ask The Barber. We want to better understand what makes them tick, their lifestyle and what inspired them to get into their field. This month we have had the pleasure of talking with LA’s Renjie from Archive DTLA.
How did you get into cutting hair?
It all started when I got my first buzz cut when I was 7 years old. I got accustomed to the look so I started cutting my own hair to get the job done. My cousin became one of my guinea pig and that’s how I learned how to blend and make sharp lines. Messing around turned into a hobby then a passion and finally a career.
Growing up, how important was it for you to have a fresh cut?
Having a fresh haircut is like getting a new pair of shoes. It’s one of the greatest feelings ever. Since I cut my own hair growing up, I liked to stay fresh at least weekly. Our hair is our crown and it has a lot to do with our image & personality so it’s important to maintain that.
How long have you taken hair cutting seriously?
I’ve been a licensed barber for 4 years but I took hair seriously when I decided to enrol in barber college. So about 5 years that I’ve taken haircutting seriously.
Do you have a particular style that you are known for in the industry?
There is actually. It all started with the bitmoji on the i-phone. I designed my character to have a pair of horns on it. I started styling my hair into these “horns” in real life and eventually, I dyed the tips of these horns. My hairstyle at the time was pretty much a textured crop with exaggerated horns. When I got my haircut from Julius Caesar, he styled it pretty much the same way and from then on we dubbed it and named it “Horns Up”. I started styling some of my clients that had textured crops with the horns and the style went global it became a trend for about a year or so.
Have you seen a rise in demand since the men’s grooming boom?
I think there is more of a demand in the hair industry now more than ever. It’s growing more and more each year. About 5-10 years ago, it wasn’t “cool” to be a barber. People thought hair cutters didn’t make good money or they couldn’t make a living out of it. Now there are a lot of people out there wanting to become a barber or hairdresser. Also as far as clients that get their haircuts, people are more aware and conscious about their image which caused the hair industry to boom.
We have noticed that you do a lot of travelling, where are some of your favourite places?
Out of all the places I’ve travelled to, Italy & Amsterdam has to be my favorites so far. So many great memories and experiences there.
Have you had any celebrities roll through your shop?
Yes, I’ve cut a few celebrities in my career. It’s not my favorite thing to do but if the opportunity is there I would be up for it. Sometimes dealing with strong personalities can be challenging but I have a strong personality myself so I can understand. Most I’ve met are pretty cool people though.
What do you do in your spare time when you are not cutting hair? What are your interests?
I like to take photos. It’s one of my hobbies that I think goes well with haircutting. Not only portraits, but fashion & lifestyle photography is what I’m into. Other than photography, I enjoy designing. Whether it be for fashion & clothes or digitally. Photos, fashion, digital design, interior decor and architecture is pretty tight.
What do you think to the Bear Grooming brand?
I think Bear Grooming brand is pretty dope and the stuff works. I like the branding & packaging of the products as well. It’s something I would use myself and recommend to others. The signature black pepper & sandalwood scent is a hit!
What is your favourite Bear Grooming product?
I personally love the Bear Grooming Face Cream. It smells so good and works so well on my skin. It leaves my face feeling hydrated without feeling oily. I’m quickly running out of it and I need more!
What courses would you recommend for upcoming barbers?
I would recommend taking some of the classes that I personally offer. I’ve built a curriculum that breaks down haircutting in a simple way and easy to understand. It’s not only for upcoming barbers but even licensed professionals as well. No, but really aside from my education I would recommend taking courses from @Andrewdoeshair, @Juliuscaesar & @Joshlamonaca. These three are an absolute beast at their craft and have influenced me tremendously in such an effective, creative and positive way.
What are your future plans? Anything cool you’re up to that you want to tell us about?
I’m constantly working and creating for better tomorrows. I plan on building a full on curriculum for barbering/haircutting and eventually have an academy of my own. I am also working on a fashion brand that I’ve yet exposed to the public, so stay tuned on that!