The future looks especially bright for those in the barbering industry. In fact, according to a Statista report, the men’s grooming industry is expected to hit 26 billion by 2020. David Raccuglia, founder of American Crew, predicts that this steady growth will shed light on how exciting and innovating the grooming space really is, while also offering men an industry that is focused on each of their grooming needs—hair, skin and beyond. “Men are starting to put their best face forward and the industry is finally listening,” Raccuglia says.
Michael Martin, Reuzel educator and owner of Hawkins Barbershop in Nashville, credits a number of factors for the sudden resurgence in the men’s grooming industry. “As this new era of grooming unfolds, barbering is becoming more accessible to men of every walk of life,” Martin says. “Everyone needs a haircut, and the barbershop is a place where guys can go to get away for a little bit, see some friends every few weeks and leave with a create cut.” Plus, women are no longer the only ones interested in investing in their appearance. “Now, more than ever before, the modern man realizes his appearance is part of his journey to confidence and success,” Raccuglia adds.
Though barbering was once dominated by men, Gabrielle Davis, Gibs Grooming platform artist, feels especially empowered as a female barber in today’s industry. “You just can’t refer to yourself as a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Davis says. “The second you start to separate yourself, it becomes even harder. If you stick to your purpose to educate, create and build the industry in a positive way, most people will respect you regardless of your gender.” And, Davis isn’t the only woman taking the barbering world by storm. “As more female barbers enter the industry, there’s a lot of versatility,” she says. “A fresh perspective is sometimes all you need to create a new movement.”
With a steady growth pattern, increased respect for the industry and a fresh perspective, it’s no surprise that modern-day barbering is much different than years past. “One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is the increase in products,” Martin says. “Long gone are the days of finishing a cut with some water and a comb. Well-groomed hair requires product.” To that point Raccuglia agrees, noting that American Crew debuted with just eight products in 1994. Today, the line offers more than 40 products, all tailored to specific needs and looks. “Men’s grooming is no longer a niche market. Men are looking for high-quality haircuts and grooming experiences, and barbershops are able to curate and create that for them,” he adds.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences in today’s industry versus its beginning stages is the role social media plays. “I truly think barbering is so popular now because of social media,” Davis says. “It allows hundreds of millions of people to see aspects of the industry that they never knew existed,” she adds. Social channels also offer a constant source of inspiration for barbers. “I personally look at other barbers’ work to learn new tricks and techniques,” Martin says. “Social media platforms are an excellent tool for our industry, so long as they’re used in a productive and positive manner.”
It’s easy to see the men’s grooming industry has a new-found momentum and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. “Over the past 20 years, it’s been amazing to see barbering hit the high that we’ve always predicted,” Raccuglia says. “The men’s industry has matured to a point where it’s ready for the next step."