Far Too Connected

This entry is one I’ve been composing in my head for many months now. It is a collection of thoughts I have been pondering in private and in good company.

Today, we are talking about my decision to begin unplugging from Instagram. Social media is good for many things and it is not going away any time soon. With that, I feel as if my place in Instagram’s scope is no longer needed/relevant.

I operate an Instagram account for Good Rats Barbershop, one for my photography, one for my music, and my original mash account Mr_Phil_80, I have laid to hiatus.

Minimal use of the Good Rats Barbershop account these days is made up of checking stories, interacting with friends’ posts with a like or quick comment, and simply checking in on what Reuzel/Schorem is up to.

I hardly draw inspiration or motivation from the greater pool of anonymous posters, strangers, and creators that fill my feed.

Rarely do I post photos to the Good Rats Instagram. Yet, new people continue to find the barbershop and continue to join our ranks. The lack of interaction with my Instagram account shows to me, Good Rats Barbershop does not require Instagram to boost growth.

The Instagram for my photography is 100% hobby driven as I never want to be a paid or hired photographer ever again. I post 1 or 2 photo shoot images from time to time…my photoshoot schedule is sporadic toward when I feel interested/motivated enough to host photo taking sessions. I have watched sessions go from regular bookings to the now random schedule I keep.

So much of my photography interest has nothing to do with posting on, interacting with, or staying active with Instagram. I am overwhelmed by everything that Instagram is. These days, I take photos for simple reasons…and displaying them on social media seems to be the point of resistance for me. I actually feel as if editing/tagging/posting/sharing photos for Instagram is super laborious and contrived.

The mere act of keeping the photo account up and running drains what little patience and energy I have for it from my body. Completing a set of edits feels accomplished only to be defeated by the notion that in modern times, we as artists create simply to “hit that share button”.

Art is no longer lasting as it is scrollable and forgettable once our digital galleries of Instagram host creations. I take so little interest in the news feed fodder, aside from the occasional posts shared by people I know personally.

I am overwhelmed with all that saturates my news feed. It is never ceasing…and it seems to be increasingly bringing down my real world interactions as I wonder what, how, when, and how much to post/interact with.

It is tiring. I wonder often…..”what would happen if I totally deleted my photo Instagram?”….who would notice long term once its gone? And would anyone really care….most of all me?

What I really feel….is that Instagram hastens our insecurities, promotes fear of missing out and truly creates false facts that creators are not valid enough unless they’re pitting post schedules against their cultivated content aesthetic. You see, its all for show…its all for instant and ever passing replayable simplistic external validation. The joke…is on us.

The point is this, while we spend hours, days, weeks on planning and executing photo projects…Instagram has made it so hurried to display and forget imagery. The superficiality of likes/shares/tags has really bored me.

I once was accused of constantly sharing my distaste with Instagram via my own Instagram. Oh the irony….I was shamed for using my own Instagram how I please!

And that is one of the many reasons I am aiming to shutting down the photo page…I’m tired of the bored self righteous wiser-than-I Instagrammers who infect my postings with irrelevant and unsolicited drivel that criticizes my rights as an artist to create/share/cultivate what I please.

And just as quickly as a post is shared….this blog will soon fall into the oblivion to be replaced in your feeds by something else.

The irony….the digital age allows us to store infinite content for the world to see…..only for it to fall into forgotten archives quicker than ever.

So if you should see the lights go dark on my photo Instagram, may you remember fondly what it once was…or may you forget it as quickly as the next feed scrolls by. Either way, I bid you good night.

Here I Am



It is July 22, 2019.

I am beginning a new chapter of my life, one that begins again with an idea…and an idea to document that idea. The idea, is to use this site as means to share glimpses with you of my life. The blog here will features updates on the barbershop, my music, my photography, and my journey as a business owner/artist.

So here we are.

I have been witness to many changes in my life since the last blog update. Yet, it seemed fitting to simply allow the changes to happen without concern of writing here in the blog.

Some 2 years later…I finally have words for you all to read.

The barber shop is alive and well. It is located back in the very plaza where I spent countless hours as a customer getting my hair cut, as an inquiring hair student, and as a first year licensed barber.

Without a doubt, the moves and relocations over the years prepared me for this phase in my career.

In April of this year…I took possession of the very storefront I have wanted for 3 years. It is home. It is our community’s center. It is the complete place for us all to gather.

This iteration of Good Rats Barbershop is the final piece to the puzzle. As many people have discovered already, the Rat House is better than ever.

Inside the walls of 374 New Haven Ave sits a shop that I am proud to own. Full of barbering life, this shop mixes old world traditions with modern day supplies and methods. The appeal is not for everyone…but for those it appeals to the shop is home. I am honored to see so many Good Rats cross the threshold from the outside world into our world.

Haircuts and community shaping now booking.

This is Mr Phil signing off,



Here I Am

It is July 22, 2019.

I am beginning a new chapter of my life, one that begins again with an idea…and an idea to document that idea. The idea, is to use this site as means to share glimpses with you of my life. The blog here will features updates on the barbershop, my music, my photography, and my journey as a business owner/artist.

So here we are.

I have been witness to many changes in my life since the last blog update. Yet, it seemed fitting to simply allow the changes to happen without concern of writing here in the blog.

Some 2 years later…I finally have words for you all to read.

The barber shop is alive and well. It is located back in the very plaza where I spent countless hours as a customer getting my hair cut, as an inquiring hair student, and as a first year licensed barber.

Without a doubt, the moves and relocations over the years prepared me for this phase in my career.

In April of this year…I took possession of the very storefront I have wanted for 3 years. It is home. It is our community’s center. It is the complete place for us all to gather.

This iteration of Good Rats Barbershop is the final piece to the puzzle. As many people have discovered already, the Rat House is better than ever.

Inside the walls of 374 New Haven Ave sits a shop that I am proud to own. Full of barbering life, this shop mixes old world traditions with modern day supplies and methods. The appeal is not for everyone…but for those it appeals to the shop is home. I am honored to see so many Good Rats cross the threshold from the outside world into our world.

Haircuts and community shaping now booking.

This is Mr Phil signing off,

Back For Good

Ahoy all you Good Rats out there! What’s new here in the workshop ? SO.MUCH.

I’ve been working hard these past few days on bringing in a brand new point of sale setup….I opted to go with the full Square experience running on an iPad with card/chip/tap to pay options.
As of later this week, you can pay by chip, Android Pay, Apple Pay in addition to swipes, cash, and checks.
Some of you have already received messages from the new online database….that’s right, reminder and confirmation texts/emails are being sent in regards to your hair magic sessions…so you’ll never miss a session!
Now, onto specials….
I’m so inspired right now having come off a most successful balayage class in Massachusetts this week. I taught some of my tips and tricks on balayage to 12 eager students.
And YOU should benefit from the class, as I offer a new price special for a single color balayage service.
See the flyer below to book your new look!
Next week, I’ll give you some more details on future events that I’m looking to launch
Be well all….
This is Mr Phil signing off

The Number Thirteen

I don’t rest.

I don’t quit.

I DO create.

I DO succeed.

and,

I DO willingly.

13 consecutive days of doing hair in the workshop came to a close with striking results.

I issued myself a challenge this month to book 10 consecutive days to beat my previous record of 9.

As a salon owner, I choose my business hours less than many may assume. As a salon owner, I have the choice to open the shop when YOU want to come in.

You see, I enjoy being accessible. I enjoy being on demand….so I can make your hair goals come true.

I don’t ever mind the long days, or the shop-days that turn into nights….as long as I am creating new hair magic with you, I am at peace.

How do I feel now that I accomplished this new goal?

I’ve learned:

  1. Long days in the shop never tire me out
  2. Creating new hair magic with you always inspires me for more
  3. Spending time trading stories makes me more and more hungry for the next sessions
  4. My floors are becoming decorated in the most colorful ways
  5. 6am comes quickly…especially when we start hair coloring at 6pm!
  6. Barbering is something you all value and honor
  7. 13 days really didn’t feel hectic at all
  8. I want to aim for 15 in a row

So, I keep inviting you all to book your magic making sessions with me, I’ll never tire of seeing your faces!

 

This is Mr Phil signing off,

Never Too Busy

I recently got back into writing. And not the usual plans or proposals for running a business…but lyrics, songs, and other creative literary outlets.

And with that, comes my return to blog writing.

Today….I finally put down thoughts on how we’re never too busy to communicate.

In the world we live in now….no one is ever away from their phones or devices for long. Yet….texts go unaswered while people are seen posting things to Facebook, messages are seen as read with no reply, while photos appear on Instagram….all the while we wonder “are we being ignored?”..”are they ghosting me?”…”what did I say wrong?”…We pull away if we feel ignored or as if we are being rejected….only then to have the un-answering party reappear days later and say “Sorry, I didn’t reply…been too busy”.

Whether we are talking about business meetings, social engagements, appointment bookings, or online dating conversations….we are never too busy.

I often hear conversations unfold as follows:

“I really am mad I didn’t get the job/call back/meeting/date/appointment/interview”

“Did you call/email/text to take the next step?”

“no……..I was too busy”

It goes on and on…people blaming others for the shortcomings in their own lives….saying that the other party wasn’t interested, or wasn’t prompt enough.

The fact of the matter is this….if we choose not to reply in a timely fashion, no one else can be blamed for moving on while we’re “too busy”. We are not too busy…we are too lax..we are too self absorbed to give time back to those who contact us…yet we complain when things ‘fall through’.

We live in a time when phones are always on chargers, when texts are always able to be scheduled for future delivery, when Facebook messenger tells us who by and when messages were read….we no longer have to worry about $.10 text messages, or data blackouts, or weak phone reception….we are CONSTANTLY connected. ┬áSo it is hard for us to ever forego replying. We simply choose not to reply. We choose to falsely give off the impression of “being too busy to reply” .

I just now received a text and decided to see how long it takes to unlock my phone, open the message, type, and reply….the results: 6.14 seconds.

It takes no time at all to keep in touch and keep progress moving forward.

Read, Reply, Repeat……and let’s stop this communication warfare…let’s reconnect.

 

 

Style And Accessibility

Ahoy all you good rats out there…a long period of time has passed since my last entry here. And the good news is, the long period of time will end with today’s post.

I got thinking about the nature of my site lately…and no matter what I do, I can never separate the many things that make me who I am.

I cannot separate hair stylist from photographer from artist……I am a creator.

Plain and simple…or so it seems.

Today I was thinking about the two dominant traits that make a public creator successful

  1. Style
  2. Accessibility

Style is defined as: “ the manner in which something is expressed or performed, considered as separate from its intrinsic content” (www.dictionary.com)

Accessibility is defined as: “easy to approach, reach, enter, speak with, or use.” (www.dictionary.com)

It is easy for me to create within my vision for any given project….and not know what ‘style’ I am using. Whether hair, photo, or video…I craft with technical training and artistic abandon. Yet, as a public creator…someone who’s work is readily consumed by the public, I must be precise and mesh my vision in with the requests/hopes of the person I am creating with/for.

The example I’d like to give is as follows….a haircut must be performed to your liking but done with my interpretation of your ideas/themes/wishes/lifestyle choices. I cannot blindly cut and hope for the best……yet, I must be creative as you ask me to put my creative spin to your new style.

I must trust my technical training enough to supply you with a seamless process of planning to final product.

Having said that, I must take your requests for service and translate them into a plan that is complete, precise, and easy for you to follow.

Accessibility means that my service, my art, and my interpretation of your vision must be done free of confusion and jumble.

Often, I find too many creators use buzz words, jargon, and industry related words that have no relevance to the general public…thus, accessibility decreases. For instance, a new photo model may have 0 understanding of terms related to camera settings, camera focus controls and depth of field changes….so why bring up such terms in a modeling meeting?

Leave the technical to the technician.

After all, would someone hire me if they do not understand the way I present a possible service? No matter how good the end product?

When you come to me for service…hair or photo….I won’t bore you or confuse you with techy talk that only confuses and discourages you. It is my duty to convey your vision by way of the final product….but with ease and clarity that keeps you engaged in the process and excited for the final results.

 

This is Mr Phil signing off,

Find Your Place

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So after countless attempts to record an update video tonight…I just couldn’t get my words together.

With all that behind, tonight’s entry is pretty simple.

I have been enjoying a steady stream of awesome hair related projects. I have been pushing myself to create, learn, and grow.

There has been a burning desire within me to reach a new level in my career…further my product knowledge since today’s modern salon experience is rooted in skill both behind the chair and within the product know-how game.

The past few weeks have been full of testing and trying new products…but I am proud to report that I have found some really amazing solutions for hair care and color.

It is no secret that I have always been fond of TIGI branded products….but seeing how well the Bed Head line of care products works with my guests, I have been super excited to offer it as both service and retail options. The Re-Energize shampoo and conditioner is remarkable in how easily they cleanse and revitalize hair. Doing so without harsh additives.

The foundation set by hair health boosting shampoo/conditioner is a key component of my work. As many of you know, I prefer the simplest but safest route to treating your hair.

Color is ever so popular these days. And I have certainly heard the stories of hair color services gone wrong. I will say this….hair color reacts differently with everyone’s hair. It can be unpredictable and often mysterious in nature. But….there are factors that must always remain constant.

Coloring products that nourish and condition the hair are worth a few extra dollars on your ticket. Lightening hair is often an unavoidable scenario….but can be done safely without inducing bleach-burnt hair. So product choice within color services is critical.

And that is why I have chosen to switch my color products to a full line of Joico branded offerings. From color to lightener to developer…Joico has never failed me and has reliably created vibrant colors with deep shine….while maintaining your hair’s health.

I love the richness and depth of Joico colors….both fashion and natural tones. Their revitalizing and rebuilding treatments truly improve the hair’s strength following a color or lightening service.

The choices I’ve been making within my product selection have truly been exciting. And now, I can further grant your hair health a boost with every session you book with me.

 

This is Mr Phil signing off.

 

 

Book now: Monday-Friday appointments

Hair Forever

374 New Haven Ave

Milford CT 06460

 

 

Accept the challenge

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Long term clients

Ahoy all you good rats out there.

As I check my gear and new salon bag for duty, I got thinking about the long term nature of my job.

Haircuts can be great. And there is immense importance on cutting hair the way you want me to. Yet the real hair magic resides within my ability to deliver results on a continued basis.

So much of the job of stylists focuses on cuts, colors, and making quick rebooks for call back clients.

All those things are hugely important parts of my daily work. Yet I also want to think of the long term goals built between you and me.

I’ve always said that the best cut won’t look as striking as it can if the hair health cannot support it. The boldest color will run and fade if the hair health is not there to keep the color fresh.

So I spend much of my time researching ways to improve your hair hair health within each session you book with me.

You see, simply doing the bare minimum is just not ok with me. If there is chance to help you find improved hair health at the sacrifice of 20 extra minutes during your session…..I’m going to take those minutes to make sure I take care of you.

Scalp treatments, deep conditioning, regular trims, and other services in offer are for you to enjoy and to rely upon. My product choice is for your health not for me to upsell.

I love accepting challenges for good causes. Rebuilding and maintaining your hair health matters to me. It inspires me. No matter the time needed to make it happen.

I read an interesting point of view the other day as part of a positive review of my business.

We spend so much money on fancy products at the drugstores or super stores for our hair that merely destroy hair health instead of spending less money and visiting me for a treatment service guaranteed to last. I found that to be very telling.

So in closing…give yourself a chance to come down for a hair health session with me. In the long run, we’ll give you new hair.
Repair. Restore.

This is mr phil signing off

The closest goal

image

Bianca editorial hair stylist phil Hovey

Ahoy all you good rats out there.
Many that know me well, know that I don’t sleep very well.

Writing has always been a great way for me to settle down.

I am about to embark on a very exciting week. There are some really amazing things about to happen behind the chair and behind the camera.

So with that I wanted to write a little bit about something that Bianca and I are working on.

It is nov secret that I am obsessed with editorial beauty photography and styling.

The above image is a product of many years of hard work for me. It is also the start of a huge new chapter in my career.

I’ll explain.

When Bianca and I sat down together last week to shoot, we had no idea what we were about to stumble upon. Without giving away too much for my plan…I’ll say this.

In the coming weeks I’ll be launching a new special  styling package for the ladies. It’ll be titled Editorials & Events.

Based on the shoot from which this image came….. Editorials & Events will be a super versatile and affordable way for you to not only have me custom style a new look for you. ..but to do it while building up your hair health.

So it is really exciting for me to get to sleep tonight only to wake up and begin this huge week full of some huge opportunities and experiences.

The full update will be unveiled later in the week. Till then, I’ll close with this thought :

11 years ago I entered the beauty industry as a hobbiest photographer. I am now proud to have a team of dedicated creators by my side. And we are days away from rolling out a program that rivals many large scale teams in this industry.

So until then keep checking here for sneak peeks of what me and the crew will be up to!

This is mr phil signing off