Barber shops are experiencing a boom in business, driven by the demand of a younger clientele asking for slicked back undercuts, super tight skin fades and modern pompadours. If you’re following the men’s trend in hairdressing on social media – specifically Instagram, then you’re probably familiar with Mikey Henger, also know as @mikeyyyyyyy_.
Mikey is a 22 year old stylist and Men’s Hair Specialist that has made a name for himself through social media – so much so, that Mikey now travels to salons and barber shops all over the U.S. to deliver his educational message and signature haircuts. Mikey is on a mission to “blur the line” between barbers and stylists to unite the hair industry by combining old school style with a modern twist while influencing it with fashion.
Like everyone else, we were excited to hear Mikey’s story about how to got into hairdressing and how he was able to grow his business so quickly through social media, so we hooked up with Mikey and got the inside scoop. Discover how an avid soccer player turned his hairdressing hobby into a career – one that allows him to create art and inspire professionals in our industry.
SV: How long have you been in the hair industry? How did you decide you wanted to be a hair stylist?
M: I have been doing hair since high school, I always enjoyed it, but decided to do it professionally just two years ago. I just couldnt get away from it, so I decided to make a career out of it.
SV: What is your favorite moment in your career so far?
M: My favorite moment so far was being on stage educating over fifty people at a time. I organize and educate alone, so a successful class means a lot to me.
SV: What is your advice for someone starting Cosmetology school today?
M: My best advice would be to realize right away that school is not the industry. School is the foundation, something we all have to do in our career path, but the industry is where you find yourself, so don’t give up.
SV: If you could help a stylist not make a mistake you made early in your career what would it be?
M: A few of the most common mistakes to avoid would be not to burn bridges, don’t work for free, and the fact that not everyone who extends a hand is trying to help you.
SV: When did you realize you had artistic talent? How did you know?
M: Before my love for hair, I began with a love for soccer, and then a love for fashion. In both cases, I was always creative on and off the field. Both of these lead me to the hair industry.
SV: When you are thinking of new and interesting concepts…what is your creative process?
M: I study all different kinds of people from all over the world. If you just look in front of you, it limits your imagination.
SV: What inspires you?
M: People inspire me. Their ways of life, how they dress and how they present themselves. People from hundreds of years ago to people today, you can learn a little from everyone.
SV: Who do you look up to / learn from these days?
M: In a way, I look at it as we are all equal, so I don’t look up to many people. What I will say is I learn from myself. I pay attention to my mistakes and I compare my progress. I am my biggest critic.
SV: Finish this statement… As a hairstylist you must remember…
M: To never stop learning, the day you stop learning is the day you need to leave the industry.
SV: What did you do to create such a strong Instagram following in such a short amount of time?
M: From the beginning to where I am now, I never abandoned who I am. I never wanted to be average, so instead of just giving people hair cuts, I turned it into a lifestyle. My personal life is my business life, keeping them together as one helped create who I am.
SV: What is your process when creating images for your Instagram and social media sites?
M: I kind of have a theme when it comes to pictures I put on social networks. Having a theme develops a brand. Some people know from the style of cut and the black and white edit that it’s me without seeing my name and that was always my goal. My images are set up more editorial, I don’t just take the picture of my guest in the chair. A solid background is always preferred with good lighting. Not all clients want to look at the camera so I take side profiles, great for detail while keeping your client comfortable.
SV: How much time does it take to shoot a look for Instagram?
M: My days haven’t really changed because I upload pictures. I believe you should always take pictures of your work, even if you’re not uploading them. You can learn a lot from studying your work! I take a picture of almost every client, so I couldn’t really say how many I take a day. I will say that I take enough so I will always have a steady flow of content for inspiration.
SV: Why don’t you post all of the photos that you take? How important is it to edit your photos before posting?
M: I look at it like this, would you just wear any outfit out to dinner? No, you pick the best one for the event. The same goes for haircuts. I only use ones that I know will inspire people. Some hair isn’t as detailed as others so I always try to use the most eye pleasing styles. I never oversaturate my Instagram with haircuts, I also post some pictures of myself since I cut and style my own hair. I am a walking billboard for myself, it also helps draw people to you and your work.
SV: How has your Instagram helped your business?
M: I owe a lot to Instagram. I look at it like this, social networks didn’t give me the talent, but they helped spread my talent to massive amounts of people. When you make a name or brand for yourself, it does make everything a lot easier when marketing yourself. As word spread about myself and my work, people began to get curious. This has led to many demos & classes that I do alone for salons around the world. Being able to showcase your work helps build to a reputation, almost like a trust to other professionals and clients. This has allowed me to pass on my tips and tricks to other salon professionals through education.
SV: What can we expect to see in 2014 for trends?
M: When it comes to trends, I prefer to make them rather than follow them. As we know, history always repeats itself. I don’t believe the gentlemen’s look will leave us just yet, it is timeless. What I do see is it becoming more effortless and natural. I prefer to call it the “I don’t care but I really care” look. Top knots, beards, crazy facial hair, and disconnection won’t be leaving us either. Men are becoming more comfortable and versatile, which is great for a grown out disconnected pomp or side part. Disconnected haircuts lead to so many options. There is no such thing as normal anymore, as artists we need to push “different,” we don’t need a boring world.
SV: What are your professional goals for 2015?
M: My goal for 2015 is to be better than I was the day, the week, the month, and the year before. I want to help others who were self taught like myself or people who need to be inspired. If I’m winning, I want everyone else to win with me.
View the Men’s Americana Collection by Sam Villa Education Director, Andrew Carruthers.