Commentary by Tom Columbia

Chapter One - A Scissors Options
A Stylist’s Desire to create the perfect haircut is highly motivating.
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Consider this approach of presenting scissors that outlines features and their benefits that stylist have responded to in an optimistic way for decades.  It is representative of the identifying, exploring, and the selection steps of the natural buying process that focuses on a scissors purpose and value.  This open-ended conversation discusses the handle width, finger ring size, finger rest, tension system, blade length, and type of blade edge, as they are interwoven to orchestrate the scissors capabilities.  


Assuming that stylist fully recognize the impact of these options on a scissors ease of use is a misstep.  Each scissor has characteristics that can embrace distinctive cutting methods if they are explored and only then can decisions be made based on their significance.  This dialogue confirms a mutual mindset between the buyer and seller.


Stylists need to be aware that they can select a scissor designed exactly for them, right from their local dealer.  Is that you?  Are you a serious-minded dealer that offers one on one consultations, has the expertise, and carries a scissors inventory that can be evaluated with your guidance?  Custom scissors have always been available locally, become one of the dealers that takes the time to clarify the available options that are discussed in this article.  Scissors that are specific to the hand, with features that can enhance a preferred cutting technique, this is the epitome of a personalized product, and it ought to be obtainable from your existing stock.

Every stylist can randomly pick up a scissor and use it effectively, however that is not parallel with efficiency.  Do not mistake exploring as “over thinking” when customers evaluate a scissor, it is a methodology that is worth considering.  When selecting a scissor that reinforces upper hand control, with a tension system that is functional, a blade that has the proper edge, and is the right length, these attributes guarantee a higher likelihood of producing the cutting results that every stylist would anticipate and purchase.

What is your scissors size versus its length (reach)?  They are not the same thing.  Look at your opened hand’s flat palm, its width is relevant to the width of a scissors handle., then include the width of the pivot, and finally add the length (reach) of the blade, this equals the overall size of a scissor. The finger rests (tang) are usually not included in measuring the scissors size, yet the small finger does rely on this important option to balance the scissors weight.


What is my point? It is imperative to dispel a myth that has been misused forever; that it is conceivable that laying a scissor at the base of the thumb, on the flat of your hands palm, extending it to the tip of the middle finger as a guide is the industry’s only test for a stylist’s maximum scissor length.  This is not a legitimate method of measurement.  Is it logical or based on any science? No! It is misleading stylists into falsely trusting that they can only use a scissor size that is predetermined by the length of their hand. 

This is obsolete and an inaccuracy that has confused stylist into assuming they will cut themselves when going outside this mythical measurement and it is laughable at best.  By adhering to Basic Career Disciplines every stylist can efficiently use whatever scissor length (reach) that is needed for their cutting method. 


I recommend using a scissors handle that matches the width of the hand, and not limit its overall size to the length of the fingers. Does it not make sense that an appropriately sized scissors handle would be more comfortable if it fits, such as if you have a size 9 foot, that you would also need to wear an equivalent shoe size


Handles manage the blades, choose wisely.  The correct scissors handle encourages a relaxed hand that ultimately controls the effectiveness of the blade.  The goal is to permit the fingers to instinctively stabilize the scissor, freeing the thumb to efficiently deliver the preciseness of the blades edge, and eliminating any need of applying a tight hand grip.  This epitomizes that the purpose of the handle is for the stylist to comfortably direct all aspects of the scissor’s mobility.


The handle is the preponderance of a scissors control and it is with this logic that manufacturers already produce a variety of blade lengths (reach)as well as a selection of handles with different widths.  In other words, a variety of scissors sizes, with blades of assorted length, donning unique or similar edges, offering comfort and mobility because a choice of handles that correspond with the hand width, now, that is an inventory selection that will sell.

Your finger ring size is also a component for an appropriate scissor handle fitting.   The reason that the handle has directional and radial capabilities is because the fingers support and balance the scissors weight, then the ability to guide the blade is performed by the index finger. The thumb opens and closes the blade, but it also is the stable axis point for the index finger to steer the blades direction without excessive movement of the wrist.  If the ring finger and the thumb are shoved tight into the handle rings, these capabilities are greatly restricted, the ability to create a quality haircut is diminished.

If inserts are necessary, use them as they were intended, to assist the stylist with slender fingers in managing upper hand control. Persistently over inserting your finger and thumb when using ring inserts, is a net-zero gain, as it is at least the same pressure as before.  Nothing has changed, except the rings have smaller holes, possibly causing even a more intense horizontal thumb pressure.  Ring inserts used as a substitute, instead of the appropriate holding methods sets a low standard and it should not be accepted as normal. Choosing an *ergonomic handle with rings closest to your finger size will allow an *anatomical hand position for holding your scissors. 


*Ergonomic implies maximizing methods or tools for comfort, function, and to minimize muscular stress or fatigue. 


*Anatomical refers to how the natural stance of the body physically interlinks with each process or a tool’s ergonomic features.


Finger rests (tang) are not an incidental feature on the scissors handle for just depositing the small finger, this option allows the entire weight of the scissor to be evenly balance across the fingers, with simply a constant, ever slight, downward push.


Why is this critical? Having the weight of the scissors distributed and absorbed by the fingers is the definition of upper hand control. This frees the thumb to have maximum mobility and to freely open and close the blade without the restrictions from overly penetrating the thumb ring.  A relaxed hand while cutting is only achievable when the scissor is perfectly balanced. This epiphany, the intertwined functionality of the finger rest, ring hole size, handle width, is complicit to the successful use of scissors.  

Tension systems lock in every aspect of a scissors design to be functional.  If it is to loosen, the hand changes from holding a scissor to a stressful gripping reaction, the thumb instinctively inserts itself in the handle ring to compensate, the small finger lifts from the finger ring, everything is out of balance, and the blades no longer cut hair in a precise manner. When the tension is overtightened, there is a similar response, but with even more stress on the hand and the blade. 


The appropriate tension setting eliminates the majority of all scissor malfunctions, encourages all aspects of upper hand control, and allows the blade to glide effortlessly through the hair.  Not using a proper tension setting or providing instruction on it has to be ignorance or laziness.  Either way it is a major malfeasance.

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The irony of not addressing these details while presenting scissors, is that any malfunction, level of comfort, and the sense of a scissors edge, good or bad, can erroneously be directed to the product, the salesperson, and the service provider. In other words, you, and your product.  Everything that has been discussed contributes to the general impression that a stylist experiences when they feel the contact of the blade while cutting the hair.  


You can stop wondering why a perfectly good scissor fails an evaluation when it should not have.  Either the buyer or seller are unaware, or ignoring, these particulars. Discuss these details as the occasion arises, in abbreviated form or in their entirety, will reinforce your status as a preferred vendor contributing useful information.  As the stylist becomes better informed, the scissors performance improves, and they will then accept their obligation to its perfect function.

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In Chapter Two I will discuss five of the most common scissor handle designs and the manner that I discussed them during a sales presentation. 


I continue to endorse “The New Conceptual Selling”, by Robert Miller & Stephen Heiman.  Face to face selling is a conversation that follows the buyers natural buying process.  It will be your guide to successful selling.