Barber Authority Announces the Opening of Sim's Barber Lab

Boston, MA, October 22, 2020 --( The Barber Authority, trusted throughout the music, action sports, motor sports, and entertainment industries as the go-to personal services coordinator for premium on-site grooming services, today announced the opening of Sim’s Barber Lab, a CDC compliant barbershop engineered with physical controls and safety protocols to mitigate the risks associated with the delivery of close contact personal services.

The opening of Sim’s Barber Lab (@simsbarberlab) comes amidst a difficult period for the Barber Authority (@barberauthority) and businesses in the personal grooming industry. Steve Vilot, Master Barber and founder of the Barber Authority and partner in the Sim’s Barber Lab said, “In a typical year, from late winter through early fall, the Barber Authority is full-steam ahead on tour with major music acts such as the Dave Matthews Band, at music festivals such as Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Coachella, and Bonnaroo, at major sporting events such as the ESPN X-Games, and in support of corporate sponsors such as Jack Daniel’s and Harley Davidson. While on tour, we are constantly packing and unpacking our mobile shop from venue to venue serving performers, athletes, and the general public across this great country.”

Vilot continued, “So, when COVID-19 hit late last winter and as we started to see the news of cancelled tours and festivals, suspended seasons for professional leagues, postponed races and the like, the writing on the wall became obvious to us very quickly. The Barber Authority touring season also had to be cancelled.” Facing a complete collapse of the touring business, the challenge became more dire for personal services workers as the economic shut down forced barber shops and salons across the nation to close. Fast forward to late summer when these shops were permitted to re-open, and the bad news continued; business was off by as much as 75% compared to pre COVID-19 levels, which is clearly not a sustainable business model. “While everything was grinding to a halt, I knew that I had to look for an accelerant,” said Vilot.

Relying on deep rooted industry networks, Vilot gained access to recent surveys by Paul Mitchell, Redken, and other notable industry stalwarts and studied these to understand what it was that was keeping business down. “The conclusion from these reports is that people do not feel safe at barber shops,” says Vilot. The surveys indicated that there is a real lack of confidence by the public when it comes to close contact personal services. In fact, it is clear from the data that both clients and workers do not feel safe if the shop is not adequately outfitted with modern precautions. “But they should, and they can, and from this came the concept for the Sim’s Barber Lab platform,” continued Vilot.

“There is no higher priority for the Barber Authority than protecting the health and safety of everyday American people as they seek personal grooming treatments at barber shops and salons across this great country,” said Vilot. “The CDC is providing clear guidance and recommendations for this industry, and we are flowing that down to our facility strategy by implementing specific engineering controls that are designed to ensure our staff and our clients benefit from a clean, safe environment.”

While masks are mandatory for both the barbers and customers, that modern environment includes physical barriers between workstations, restricted common access areas, appointment-only service, and cashless payment systems. Stainless steel counters, tiled walls, and smooth work surfaces all contribute to the maintaining a clean, laboratory-like environment. A quick history lesson will tell you that this is not the first time that the barber industry has faced significant headwinds. Flash back to the Spanish Flu of 1918 and stories of that pandemic tell of shuttered barber shops, and images from that period clearly show barbers servicing customers outside on sidewalks, not unlike the situation facing today’s barbers and salon owners. Similar to the present-day situation, significant regulatory changes were imposed after the 1918 pandemic specifically to increase confidence in workplace environment, health and safety.

For barber shops, this meant more stringent cleaning and disinfecting protocols, improved equipment standards, and licensing and training requirements. As a result, the industry stabilized, and the practice of professional barbering was able to prosper under these new standards. Just over 100 years later, the CDC guidelines and protocols instituted at the Sim’s Barber Lab for COVID-19 are here to stay. With the goal of moving the industry towards a brighter and fairer financial future one barber at a time, the Barber Authority is encouraging all barbers to adopt the Sim’s Barber Lab model as a standard for their go-forward strategy. “We are one community, and each and every one of us has a role to play in getting through this,” says Vilot.

About the Barber Authority: Globally recognized by the music industry, at international sporting events, by the television and film industries, and featured for a decade in the Milady’s Standard Professional Barbering textbook, the Barber Authority is the go-to grooming coordinator for corporate events for Jack Daniel’s, Paul Mitchell, Harley-Davidson, and ESPN, and for tours by Eminem, Dave Matthews, Adele, and Rihanna, and music festivals including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and the Voodoo Festival.
Barber Authority
Greg Cybulski