Commentary by Tom Columbia

Chapter Three - A Scissors Blade
A Stylist’s Desire to create the perfect haircut is highly motivating. 
Frustrated cutter_clipped_rev_1.png

Do not assume that every stylist knows about the variety of diverse scissors available.

Countless stylists spend the entire day working harder than necessary when their choice of a scissor is not well-suited for their many cutting methods. This situation is generally unintentional, it is a matter of making the best of the scissors currently in their hand, then accepting its performance as sufficient. When this is recognized as a limitation to their cutting proficiency it can be logically addressed, it will be an immediate conversation starter.

An insightful salesperson can create an intrigued buyer when they candidly propose options that remove the constraints of using only one scissor, with one blade length.  In every sales conversation it is worth exploring the customers’ expectations of their scissors preferred length and why.  The goal is not to challenge, but to offer opportunities to excel, as every stylist has an underlying desire to create the perfect haircut.

What To Choose First, The Blade or The Edge.

Blade selection entails two essential features, its length (reach) and the edge (type of sharpness).  First, I will talk about blade length as an alternative by itself, separate from the edge that it bears.


The reach of the blade is simply the distance from the scissors tip back to the pivot (tension) area where the sharpness originates.  Typically, the blades reach encompasses no more than one-third of a scissor’s overall size. Each blade length is a resource advocating a specific purpose. Limiting all cutting methods to a single blade length excludes an array of technical and creative possibilities. There is an enormous advantage of using a more suitable scissor and the probability is the stylist will more efficiently achieve their anticipated result.

Blades 4_clipped_rev_1.png

2 ¼” Reach on 5 ½ Scissor

2 5/8” Reach on 6.0” Scissor

2 7/8” Reach on 6.3” Scissor

3.0” Reach on 6.5” Scissor

By portraying scissors specific qualities as distinctive opportunities, the stylist can choose to enrich multiple cutting techniques.  With this manner of decision making, there could be an awakening for the stylist to choose scissors for its operational qualities, as opposed to the ineffective pick and choose approach. Stylists will respond positively to a substantive conversation when they are discovering which scissor features are capable of achieving the best results, and more importantly, why.

right opportunity.jpg

Stylist Are Likely to Grow Their Scissor Collection

Most haircutters are more likely to expand their selection of scissors when someone proactively presents the options that are available and the benefits that these various blades offer. Without viable information about scissors, they typically limit themselves to the sanctuary of what they know, and perhaps depend on a coworker’s recommendation, look for the lowest price, or just ask for what is popular. None of those alternative fallback options are targeted to the many choices that are centered on individual needs.

These are passive overtures from the stylist to the sales representative that they need assistance in their decision making.  Recognizing this opportunity is what develops the image of a preferred vendor and separates you from the competitors that offer only a one size fits all scissors selection.


Having previously decided on the appropriate handle before selecting the blade has established a high standard to confidently control and direct the scissors mobility. Picking the suitable blade length determines the diversity of the scissors reach, inevitably this choice can alter the outcome of all cutting techniques. Once again, choosing scissors by considering each of its unique features will benefit cutting methods and promote a healthier body posture, as a blades length also establishes the body’s stance. 


Often stylist rebuff a different length of scissor because of its unfamiliarity and the fear of cutting themselves, this is not an unwarranted anxiety. Especially when you consider they were probably trained by someone with the identical uneasiness.  However, it is still a familiar objection and requires a logical response.

Why bother discussing blade length if the stylist is apprehensive?

It is time to break the mediocre cycle of settling for the ordinary when the stylist has an underlying desire to be extraordinary with every cutting method. When a customer asks for a specific feature on a scissor it is the opening to confirm their reasoning for that request, it takes only a couple of seconds to confirm if it matches its intended purpose.


This is the value of the back and forth chatting that is typical during a sales conversation, not only to acquire information, but to make sure that the request will actually resolve their need. This is an essential phase of the natural buying process, and it is guided by the customer. They know the results they are seeking but are not necessarily aware of all of the available solutions


Everyone that has an idea, it is either fully formed, partially formed, or it could possibly be formed on misinformation. Asking questions that can obtain and then confirm their ideas will determine if an alternative solution should be offered.  Every sales presentation has three sequential steps, Identify the Need, Exploring the Solution, and then the buyer Selecting the Solution. Being mindful of what step the customer is currently processing information is your guide to each follow-up question that is necessary to move the conversation forward. It is not necessary to follow a script, in fact scripts can eliminate alternative routes and lead to dead ends, while every conversation has its own meandering path that is led by the buyers need for information.

3 lengths (2)_clipped_rev_1.png

Holding three scissor of various lengths side by side is the visual aid that stylist positively responds.

Inquiries bring about solutions.

It was previously established that the scissors handle manages the effectiveness of the blades reach; now, the blade can easily be perceived as a distinct option. The blade’s length needs to be explored with inquiries regarding its intended use, deciding the suitable length is the solution. The majority of stylist that purchase a different length scissor, shorter or longer, did not directly request it, they discovered that the new length would solve their need and they selected it.

From my experience a majority of stylists will not only buy a different length scissor, but they chose to add or reduce its reach by about an inch. They even thanked me for taking the time to clarify the benefits of using various blade lengths. Haircutters routinely use a variety of scissors, sometimes during the same haircut, or for specific techniques. Stylists react positively to visual presentations with responses like, “I can really see what you mean”, or “I can see the difference that a change in the length of a scissor can have”. The variation of the blades ability to reach on a 5.5-inch scissor when compared to the 6 inch is only 1/2 inch, even this slight difference will have a noticeable effect.

The haircutter can naturally adjust their body stance with even a slight change in the scissors reach. They can easily and instinctively extend or retract their arms, comfortably taking a half step back or forward from their typical position from the haircut. When deducting or adding distance from their work, it allows more flexibility, alleviating unnecessary leaning or twisting of the body, to easily achieve the objective of maintaining a comfortable position to hold their hands in front of the chest while cutting.


Modifying the body posture offers a change in the visual prospective that can reveal undetected aspects of the haircut, and this enhances technical cutting decisions. Another circumstance is for the stylist that have a tall or large body frame can position themselves more comfortably without hovering over their customer’s personal space. The reverse situation is solved for the stylists with a short or smaller body frame that can now easily expand their reach and achieve hand positions that were previously challenging.


Beautiful example of a pristine bob haircut by Christina McRicthie, Firefly Salon, NH.

There Are Obvious Benefits.

Without over doing the details, cutting techniques such as scissors over comb, point cutting into sections of hair with various shallow and deep penetrations, establishing a guide on the neckline without overextending the wrist, or creating a pristine line on a bob haircut, these are obvious differences that stylist will consider to be beneficial when deciding on a blade’s capabilities.

The scissor is almost complete, the handle that was carefully chosen is comfortable, the reach of the blade is ideal, now, let us combine those choices with an edge that will consummate the haircutter’s expectation. Offering only the common and straightforward edge that claims to be suitable for every cutting technique may not necessarily satisfy the stylist with the desire to create the perfect haircut.  In Chapter Four I will make the distinction of why each blades edge has its own unique purpose, the significance of their choice is the precious link that will finalize the ultimate scissor.