Jeff’s Newsletter Oct 2011
How I got into the Business of Shear Sharpening
I would go to get my haircut every 6 weeks, you know how it is, the beautician asks all these questions about you and you get to taking about different aspects of your life. Back 2005, I was doing my regular 6 week appointment with my regular beautician and we got to talking about what I did for a living. I told her that I sharpen metal cutting tools. The next question does usually come up next which is, “Can you sharpen my shears?” My usually response is “No, I don’t have the property tools and I wouldn’t want to ruin your shears because I don’t know how, why do you ask?” The common responses I would get is that it’s hard to find anyone or someone who can sharpen their shears properly, as I found out this day their shears cost as little as $100.00, to $200, $300 to $500! I could believe it, these shears were expensive, I could understand that handing over these expensive tools to someone they didn’t know or trust, and sometimes when they were so desperate or they felt they trust the person only to have them totally ruin there shears. I would ask them is the person that caused the damage fixed their mistakes only to be told, “Why would I since they already ruined them? Good question.
Well this on this particular day I really started thinking about it, could I do this, how do I go about finding more? For about a year I did my research, look all over the Internet, in June 2005 I applied for my business license (I didn’t do anything with it at first but I wanted to lock in my company name) called a couple of places and I finally came across Bonika Shears. I loved what I found out about this company. Not only did they sell their own high quality Japanese steel shears but they sold a shear sharpening machine (the machine is a Flat Hon Machine, which is portable) and supplied the training. I could totally do this! I spoke with one of their representatives, more information on training. I found out that woman by the name of Debbie Flint lived in Portland, which is very close to me, she could train me. So in November 2006, I went down to Portland and did my training with Debbie. Now Debbie has been doing shear sharpening for years. She taught me the ins and outs of the business. She showed me how to sharpen with the machine I would be working with, how to make the proper adjustments after sharpening, and what the shear should look like and how they should properly work after being sharpening and much, much more. She was great! After my training, I knew I did not want to ruin a beautician’s shears because I didn’t want to have to pay for them!
After a couple of months of training, I got my business cards together and hit the pavement looking for beauticians that needed their shears sharpened. Let me tell you it was not easy. These beauticians didn’t want to just hand their shears to just any body. So I took it real slow and explain the process I took to sharpen their shear properly. I would show them with tissue paper how their shears cut before and how their shear but after. I showed them the machine (Flat Hon Machine that is portable) I used and how it worked. After making them feel comfortable with the quality of work I would give them, I got to work. I never leave a salon until the beautician tests their shears to make sure their shears meet their quality. I want to leave them happy and wanting to use me the next time they or a fellow beautician needs their shears sharpened.
I do have my challenges. The cold calling in the beginning was very rough. I knew I had to earn their trust but I had to figure out how to do this. With my shear sharpening services I offer a 100% guarantee. If for some reason after I leave, they find something wrong with my quality of work, I offer to come out for FREE to make it right. If for some reason I damage or ruin their shears I offer to replace them at my own expense. So far in my 5 years of Shear Sharpening I have not had to replace any one’s shears. 🙂