Craig “Skilz” McLaurin has seen a lot in the beauty and barbering industry over his 25 years but he reinvigorated his passion through events and education. In that, he discovered just how “big” the beauty industry is, outside of what he already knew. “When you do events… that’s when you can see like ‘I really do this for a living. This is what I really want to do,” he says.
In 2010, after connecting through mutual friends, Craig and Wanza Poole founded Iconic Barber. Knowing that constantly growing your skills is a crucial part of success in the industry, they set their sights on education. No matter the industry, Craig understands that education will always be something that people seek out and felt that was where their skills were best used.
Craig understands that education will always be something that people seek out
Craig has also built his successful career focusing on professionalism and it’s something he impresses upon his students. He wants his students to see him as professional in his craft – from his skill level to how he carries his tools and himself. “Presentation is always key. If you present yourself as a professional, you get professional money” he says.
It also means understanding that stylists and barbers themselves are their own product. That means preparing a business for longevity. “Don’t take the barber business for granted. Do the paperwork. I have a format that I tell students – make your paperwork as tight as your haircuts”, he says. “I always tell people about PBA – it has it all.”
Do the paperwork. I have a format that I tell students – make your paperwork as tight as your haircuts. I always tell people about PBA – it has it all.
One of the most memorable moments of Craig’s career was being invited to cut a group of children’s hair for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Upon arrival, his team realized that the children were homeless, “The kids couldn’t believe that we had come down from Philly and Delaware, just to cut their hair. They told us we were truly blessed. A kid says that my hands are truly blessed, but he’s outside on the street,” he says. “That was truly shocking.”