This really was “Sharp Wars” in Atlanta, GA on May 5, 2019. Great ideas were shared in the competition and nearly as many were shared over breakfast, dinner, break times in small groups as the sharpening business was discusses. For the first time all three of the best ideas were related to sharpening clipper blades. This 2019 had the largest number of sharpeners who sharpen blades as well as shears. In all, there were about 60 sharpeners in attendance but never all in the same place at one time!
Pictured left to right: Cheri Roop 2nd place, Mary Parsons 1st place and Steve Pailet 3rd. Sandra Rose - Honorable Mention.
The sharpener who traveled the farthest also was the one with the best idea. Mary Parsons of Australia had an innovative template she used to great speed up her time of reassembling clipper blades. Using DASS ( an air-dry molding clay available in any craft store) she made a mold of a correctly set detachable clipper blade. With a little adjustment it can be made to be universal for most blades. After air drying, this mold serves as a template to quickly reassemble blades. If this is a good idea, Mary thought it was even better to triple it. She created 3 molds and reassembles her blades in record time!
Second place idea was from Cheri Roop of Knoxville, TN. Cheri solved the problem of the test string for clipper blades always unraveling, getting dirty, falling and spinning across the floor. Leaving a Chinese takeout restaurant, Cheri repurposed her soup container for her test string. A simple slit in the top lid makes for an easy pull to grab some string to test blades. This idea proves the simpler and cheaper the idea, the more the votes.
Steve Pailet of Dayton, OH shared several ideas, but his winning idea was using the 7LW Vise-Grip to adjust the spring tension on blades. The shape of the jaw is ideal for tension set. He also showed how he uses a small regular screw drive at the back of the spring with a twist to adjust the alignment of the blade.
A “Better Luck Next Time” was awarded to Sandra Rose of Ontario, Canada. She sewed little colorful felt Shear Sashays and Blade Cozies. While colorful and just too cute, few of the guys felt that they would sew these for their customers and Sandra received very few votes. She was, however, a good sport about the teasing.
Additional ideas that received votes was Ron DeWitt of Wake Forest, NC who makes “Site Sheets” for his customers. On these he lists all the details of each stop and each customer. He keeps these in a 3 ring notebook for each geographic area. Below is an example of one of his sheets. Ron also utilizes paper with his “Magic Paper.” This is an advertising sheet he creates that gives him a reason to walk into the salon to leave the flyer. It will have specials, new items, etc. It must work because Ron sells more Bonika Shears than any sharpener in the USA. I thought the idea he shared privately at dinner was the best of all his ideas. When Kroger has the special on triple points on gift card purchases, he stocks up on gift cards for the restaurants he and his wife most likely will eat. He then uses these extra points for cheaper gas at the Kroger pumps when he fills up for his work week.
Harry Megowan of Jacksonville expressed his appreciation for the well wishes, Facebook comments and prayers from the sharpeners during his illness last year and Bill Pierce of Spartanburg, SC encouraged sharpeners to support the vendors who supply tools and parts for their business and not to be cheap because their patronage pays for the service and telephone help they get when they need it.
Judy Brenner of Minneapolis, MN told the sharpeners how their business will increase if the utilize social media using #sharpeningservice and other such hashtags in their posting. Plus another source of advertising was encouraged by Brenda Woodcock of North Dighton, MA to put your name on items like back scratchers that are never thrown away.
Two sharpeners spoke of taking payments. Joe Coladarci takes payments using Square with 1/3rd payment on the stylist pay period. Bruce Woodcock suggested going back to pick up the payments as a way of getting back into the salon so the stylists can see you face and perhaps buy more.
Jim Turner of Startex, SC did not win a prize but as usual, he had the most numerous ideas. He made a device to sharpen convex edge shears if you have no electricity. He also created a stand for shears using wingnuts and a long screw. This gives you a nice rest for when you need to prop the blade at an angle to apply serrations or corrugations. The idea he placed in the competition was using vet wrap tape to create finger inserts on shears. The elastic tape sticks to itself and is easy to wrap around the finger hole. The grippie feel works well for many stylists. This tape comes in colors and can be purchased at the Dollar Tree, pharmacies and other places.
Video footage coming soon from the presentations through the week-end. Next year the dates will be April 25-27 in Atlanta, GA.