“I always say that creativity is like happy accidents. It requires stepping out of your comfort zone, and unless you do that you won’t discover what you can do.”– Stacey Kutz
Now, normally I would introduce this interview by saying something on the lines of: “In a career field that is dominated by men, Stacey Morris, but known to the world as Stacey Kutz, is breaking down barriers, and proving that women can cut hair just as good, if not better than men.”
But, I don’t want to paint a picture that implies that her fame rests solely on her gender because it doesn’t. Stacey is one of the dopest barbers in the world because she is super talented, a visionary, a mentor, and she just so happens to be a female.
So, tell me how someone who started out cutting her brothers and their friends’ hair in her kitchen, as a young girl for a just a few dollars, whom might I add didn’t see barbering as a career choice for her, has now turned her immense skill into an empire?
I say that it was all a part of the divine plan!
And, after almost 30 years of being in the barbering industry, Stacey has cut some of everyone’s hair in Hollywood, and the list continues to grow. Her artistry can be seen on the likes of: Eddie Murphy, Anthony Anderson, Will Smith, Brandon T. Jackson, Columbus Short, and many more.
Stacey Kutz is #beyondabarbershopbarber. She is an artist that creates masterpieces on a daily basis.
So, warm up your food, get comfortable, and indulge in this truly enlightening conversation between Stacey and I, as we discuss her rise to success, how she has remained on top, and advice for everyone out there who is wanting to get into the industry.
UrbanSocial: I know you’ve said before that you didn’t really choose the barber life that it chose you, but I want to know after almost 30 years of cutting hair, what keeps you excited about doing it?
Stacey Kutz: I think what keeps me going is that it is always changing. So, it allows me to continue to grow professionally, and as a barber.
UrbanSocial: Back when you first got your hands on a pair of clippers, when you were cutting your siblings’ hair and their friends, did you ever imagine that your career would unfold the way it is? And, did you see it as a business?
Stacey Kutz: No I didn’t see it as a future for me. It was actually art for me. It was fun like “wow” I can pick up this tool and I can do these designs, and people are like “oh wow”, and I can help someone’s self-esteem.
I was working for an insurance company, and I lost my job. That gave me more time to cut the people that I was already cutting as a favor. When I realized that I was in control of how much money I could make in a day by how many people I scheduled, I was like this makes sense. It was almost like elementary, like who wouldn’t do this as opposed to a job where you could only do like a 8 hours a day, and that’s it. So, it kind of just happened, and I just went with what was happening.
UrbanSocial: What type of impact would you say that your first feature in Ebony magazine had on your career?
Stacey Kutz: Oh that was a pivotal point. I wasn’t really trying to cut hair, just my brother’s and his friends. And, someone’s parent worked at Ebony, and was doing an article on haircuts coast to coast and wanted to feature me because they had saw their son’s hair. I didn’t even think like “oh magazine!” I was just thinking they can ask me my history or whatever, but after that came out and they had mentioned that my father was like the Senior VP of Warner Bros. Records, he started getting phone calls at his office. I didn’t realize my skill. So, that was like a real pivotal point because my presence obviously became bigger than it was.
UrbanSocial: Do you think that growing up with a mom who was a model and your dad and step-dad being a part of the entertainment industry that, that had any influence on you becoming a celebrity barber?
Stacey Kutz: My parents had a big influence on my life. I wouldn’t say persay to work with celebrities because that was my environment so it was natural. But, they did inspire me because they were entrepreneurs. They made something out of nothing in their lives, and they believed in me. They definitely inspired me to be a confident person that was inquisitive, and looking for something to satisfy a need in me, whether I knew at the time what it was, or how to obtain it.
UrbanSocial: I know that mentors are important to have to kind of lay the foundation for us. What are some key things that you learned from your mentor Bruce Clark?
Stacey Kutz: Everyone has to have something or someone beyond them…to look up to, or to aspire to be like. Bruce Clark specifically taught me my professional protocol. He taught me the proper ways to do things. It was like he was my boss, and at the time I might’ve been like “why does it have to be this way,” but the things I learned became my foundation. You can’t build an empire with a rocky foundation. He was very important in my life, and I didn’t realize it until later on.
UrbanSocial: How have you been able to be such a cutting-edge artist/barber in an industry that seems to change everyday?
Stacey Kutz: This business especially Hollywood, hair whatever it is, you have to stay relevant. I have to stay with what’s current. It’s not like I just stay one way, and I do one type of haircut. You have to always be open to learn, and open to advice. This is one of the problems that I find with social media, everyone feels validated. Everyone has a voice now, and they’re like “Oh 1,000 people liked me so it is nothing for me to know.” I’m so humble that I feel like any situation from any person, there is always something for me to learn. And, as long as I keep building, then I’m going to be able to be in the running.
UrbanSocial: What has been the most fulfilling and draining part of your job?
Stacey Kutz: The most fulfilling part of the job is when people see your art and appreciate it , and recognize it. Another rewarding thing is to work hard on a project and you see it on the screen. That is like super rewarding, and it is forever. I can go back and look at my own haircutting history on film. And, the hardest part for me is the juggle. It’s tiring. I feel like I’m everywhere. I wish I could get a clone. I picked a career where I have to be there, and I can only do so much. And, so like when you provide a service, they like you, they want you, that’s the hardest part to make everyone feel equal, as important, to take care of everyone, as well as take care of myself. Take care of my home and my family. That’s the hardest part because the industry is so demanding. Celebrities are very demanding. The hardest part to put it in a nutshell is to find a balance.
UrbanSocial: I see on your Instagram that you’ve hashtagged #beyondabarbershopbarber , what does that mean to you?
Stacey Kutz: When I say beyond a barbershop barber, it occurred to me because a lot of people who are aspiring to be barbers or are barbers, come to me for advice, and the first question that I ask them is where do you want to go with this, where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years? And, no one really has an answer. And, not that I thought of where I was going to be ahead of time, but when I look back I didn’t try to be a barber. I aspired to just be something great. So, I took it further than just being a barber. When you think of a barber you get pigeon holed as “oh they cut hair”, and no that’s not me its more than that. I’ve blazed a bunch of trails in the industry as far as the union, and I have accolades of accomplishments like being Emmy award nominated. I don’t know a barber that has been Emmy award nominated. So, I’m beyond a barbershop barber, and I’m taking it to another level.
UrbanSocial: If you had the opportunity to rewind time, would you do it all over again?
Stacey Kutz: Yes of course! I would do a few things differently…not as far as how the path went, but just how I realized what I actually had and what I could do with it. Whether it be the resources that I had, how I invested my money, businesses and things of that nature. You know when you’re young you are kind of just going with the wind.
UrbanSocial: What is your best advice for a young person who is interested in getting into the celebrity barbering industry?
Stacey Kutz: To never be closed to gaining information. You can never not benefit from making yourself better. So, you just have to take what you got, and if it is a skill, and you have a passion about it, keep with it because persistence beats resistance. And, that goes to say whether you’re male or female, whether you’re struggling with something in your life. If you keep pushing ahead it is bound to happen.
UrbanSocial: Do you feel like this profession is location based?
Stacey Kutz: It is location based but it’s growing! A lot of industry stuff is happening in Canada, New Orleans, Atlanta, New York, and LA. Just because you’re not here doesn’t mean that you can’t get here. My friend Pierce Austin is from Lima, Ohio. But he had a dream, and he came out here, and he made his dream happen. He is really prominent in the industry, and he made state of the art make-up trailers that work big budget films. Like he made him a business out of something that no one even thought of. If you know that you want to be in this industry, do what you got to do there, to get here. Or, wherever you want to be. Because out of sight, out of mind. If I wasn’t here I might be thought about, but what am I going to do from Wichita, Kansas? And, someone wants a house call in LA.. It is location based so that could be the downfall of your dream.
UrbanSocial: Should up incoming barbers showcase their work on social media?
Stacey Kutz: Absolutely! I mean I have gained a bigger presence just from being on social media. Surprisingly before social media, I didn’t realize that so many people new me. Even out of the country people knew who I was and it trips me out.
UrbanSocial: What is next for you?
Stacey Kutz: I’m so buried in work that I can’t even come through the smoke clouds for air, but I mean I have things that I want to achieve. I’m working on having a show. I will be coming on “LA Hair” in January, I did 10 episodes. I’m currently writing a book that is about how barbering was the vehicle that took me through my life, and my experiences and things that I have learned that other people can relate to, and maybe find some counsel in their lives. And, a couple of a little other endeavors that I’m trying to find the time to do.
UrbanSocial: What is one thing that you know for sure?
Stacey Kutz: I’m going to steal something that I heard in a Beatles song. Something that I know for sure is,”the more I see, the less I know for sure.” You think you know everything, and then you see some stuff that you have never fathomed or thought could exist. And, then you’re like wow I really didn’t know anything.
Keep up with Stacey and check out her work @staceykutzlive on Instagram!