On The Edge Newsletter

112 Derby Downs

Spartanburg, SC 29301




Editor: Jim O'Donnell

Article from December 2019

00:00 / 04:52


AT THE 2019


by Bonnie Megowan

Owner & Founder of Bonika Shears

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I was very glad the IBSA asked me to speak at their convention and both my son-in-law Jay and I were able to attend. We both felt that this years’ IBSA was well worth the trip to Las Vegas. I particularly enjoyed the classes with “Scissor Educator” Thomas Columbia. Tom was a wealth of information on not just how to sell shears but how to educate the stylist. His website www.sellingscissors.com is a great source of information.



I highly recommend it to those selling shears. The website does not sell shears nor sharpening but gives information that is essential to both the sharpener and the stylist. I was so excited by what I learned from him I immediately asked if I could use and reference his information in our school presentation classes. He wholeheartedly agreed. I learned so much from Tom that I asked him to give me a private class for the information I missed when I was in Jean Paul Babins class. I was not able to clone myself and be in both classes.

These are just six of the tips I took away from talking to Tom.

 1) Stylists should learn how to use stress free upper hand control of their shears. In other words, the shear will function better if the shear is balanced in the fingers of the hand and the thumb tip is barely in the thumb hole. This is hard to explain but his videos show this.

2) Stylists should be taught career disciplines which include proper edge maintenance, correct tension and the upper hand control method. This will keep their shears cutting better longer.

3) A teachable moment is when a shear fails. If the stylist complains about a problem with the shears that is the time to teach them about the physics of the shear.

4) The scissor salesman relationship with the stylist should work through a relational pyramid moving them from a mere vendor or preferred supplier of shears to consultant then a contributor and partner

5) Calculate your scissors inventory by how much you want to make. If you want to make $100,000.00 in shear sales, you will sell 400 per year if the average price is $250.00. That is 33 per month or 8.25 per week or 1.6 per day. That would mean at 50% profit per shear you would need to purchase $4,150.00 of inventory per month.in their business. This can be achieved by educating the stylist.

6) Ring inserts should not be used as a substitute for proper scissors handling technique. They are only for those with small hands to assist in upper hand control. Tom and I agreed that scissor education, or “shear knowledge” as I like to coin it, can be key to the relationship between the shear salesman and the stylist.

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Scissors Educators do not teach hair cutting, the purpose is to coach when it is necessary to emphasize proper handling, routine care of scissors, the understanding of the features and benefits, as this only enhances the precise nature of the tool. These recommendations are what the manufacturer specifically had in mind during the engineering process to enable the scissors to function perfectly.  Scissors that are precise produce a more perfect haircut and all stylist will accept this as most important. No one is more qualified to provide this education than you.

My only reservation in what I learned is (Tom is not a sharpener, but a stylist) we have to be careful not to sound condescending, arrogant or patronizing. As a sharpener, I might not be identified as an expert on how to properly hold shears as an accomplished stylist might be. Stylists may feel like a sharpener is trying to tell them how to cut hair which in a sense that is exactly what I am doing.


I’ve heard of sharpeners in my area telling stylists who complained about their sharpening that the stylist is the problem and just don’t know how to properly hold their shears. The stylists rejected that information and felt it was an excuse. I have always tried to make a shear work in the way the stylist expects it to work even if that use is improper for the shear.


It is a fine line to walk to educate stylists, so their shears perform better and edges last longer while not appearing to insult them.

Tom says a teachable moment is when a shear fails to perform. While I agree with everything else Tom taught, this instruction can be a problem. I believe the teachable moment might be better before a shear fails. I also prefer formal classes in salons, schools and trades shows where stylists are there to learn and much more likely to accept our knowledge. The information taught in schools about shears is dismal in most cases and stylists are in true need of education. However, we must tactfully convince them of this need before we can begin the education process. I think like Tom that scissors or shear education should be improved among stylists and sharpeners so that all scissors can perform more effectively and give greater satisfaction to the stylists. Watching videos from his website and training and more sharpening seminars can help all of us be more knowledgeable and better educators for our customers.

Watch the video format of the reviewed Product Development Class

PowerPoint Video presentation for creating a scissors inventory for independent dealers & scissors sharpeners. Not narrated, view only, 7 second delay between slides, one narrated embedded 4 minute video by Barry Trailer/ Miller Heiman Sales Method.

Produced by Tom Columbia, Scissors Educator for SellingScissors.Com sales coaching workshop.

dba Integrity Beauty Supply. Copyright 2019