Issue 4 of BarberEvo North America is out now! Our very own Pedro Zermeno and Scott Serrata are featured in this issue's Behind The Brand segment where they go in-depth with the past, present, and future of Imperial Barber Products.
Click the image below or continue reading below for the full article.
BEHIND THE BRAND - IMPERIAL BARBER PRODUCTS
FOUNDED IN 2009 BY SCOTT SERRATA AND PEDRO ZERMENO, IMPERIAL BARBER PRODUCTS PRIDES ITSELF ON ITS NO-FRILLS, SIMPLE MARKETING AND ITS ALL-NATURAL, PREMIUM PRODUCTS. CO-FOUNDER PEDRO TALKS TO US ABOUT HOW THEY CAME TO BE.
“Scott and I met while working at a barbershop called the Parlor near Long Beach, and we ended up developing a single product together called the Parlor Classic Pomade. It became clear over time that we needed to be running our own place, somewhere we had control, so we decided to open our own shop, Razorbacks,” explains Pedro. Moving away from the Parlor meant the product they had created needed a new name, and for some reason, Pedro was inspired by the Japanese Imperial army, a powerful, dominant force; hence Imperial Barber Products.
The decision to create their own product came from a place of frustration, with Scott struggling to find anything that could properly hold his thick hair. “At the time, it was either a gel that flaked or a pomade that didn’t hold, so we figured out how it would smell, how it worked, how it felt, everything. That’s why our tagline is ‘Made by Barbers. Made to Work. Made in the USA.’”
Between the two barbers, they have over 30 years of experience in the industry. Pedro started out in 1988 as an assistant to a barber who also did women’s hairdressing. He spent four years watching and learning, not just to cut and style, but how to color hair, place weaves, braids and more. He spent time in London with Vidal Sassoon Academy, Toni & Guy and gave a huge amount of his time to continuing his own education, enhancing and developing his skills.
For Pedro though, being a good barber isn’t just about educating yourself, but also your customer. “I think it’s important to teach your customer to learn how to use the product, to learn how to style their hair. You can give a customer one haircut, but a product allows you to create two or three different styles and the customers want to know how to achieve them. Giving customers that knowledge of the product also allows you to earn a little more money because they want to recreate those styles at home.”
Pedro’s co-founder and partner in crime, Scott Serrata, has always enjoyed cutting hair, from shaving heads to giving the classic ‘mushroom’ haircut of the early 90s, his passion led him to barber college and, eventually, to Pedro. As well as their barbershop, Razorbacks, the pair also co-own a part of Barberia Capital Barber School and Barberia Capital barbershops in Mexico City, so it’s safe to say they keep themselves busy! When it came to Imperial, it was Scott’s desire to find a product that could truly perform was what led to their first creation as a duo.
The original Classic Pomade is the perfect blend of hold, strength and smell, a universal product for everyone. With the Classic already providing strong hold, the Fiber Pomade was created to provide medium hold, but did something different to its predecessor by offering a high sheen finish.
Imperial’s Blacktop Pomade is also one of the first water-based pomades which can cover up to 60% of gray hairs, temporarily dying your hair for a dramatic look that can be easily washed out.
Each of Imperial’s products takes anywhere between one and three years to develop. The Classic Pomade alone was tested for two-and-a-half years, not just in research labs but also in barbershops on real customers. Luckily for Pedro and Scott, before Scott was a barber he built cars for a living and the shop next door was a soap factory, which was able to hook them up with a chemist who helped them develop the line.
“We wanted to make products that did exactly what they were supposed to. We didn’t want any fancy or over the top packaging, just simple and straightforward. Let the product speak for itself.”
Having worked in and owned barbershops in California themselves, the pair have had people from all walks of life in their chairs, from celebrities to doctors, lawyers and students.
“Working behind the chair on so many different people has given us a better understanding of what people want, and it’s allowed us to create a brand that appeals to everyone and excludes no one.”
This point of view has led the pair to ensure every product is meticulously tested to ensure it meets their exacting standards. Being self-funded, Pedro and Scott are heavily involved in each and every stage of the process and believe in letting their business grow organically. In fact, when our team spoke to them, they were in their warehouse tirelessly packing orders – now that is dedication!
“We’ve always tried to remain true to what we are, never trying to be something that we’re not, and we’ve tried to show that through our products and our brand. Our customers are the best marketing we could have.”
For now, the duo are continuing to work on their product line, particularly cocktailing, combining products to create a specific look, which is something they are keen to educate their customers on.
“You could mix the Classic with, say, the Matte Pomade. One has a low-sheen and one has a matte finish, and combining them means you can still have the matte finish but with the strong hold, giving you a totally different product.
“Instead of going out and finding four or five different products for different styles, you just cocktail them and there you go! Educating the customer as well as the barber is the key to success!”
Keep an eye out on future BarberEvo issues for more articles featuring Imperial Barber Products!
For more information on BarberEvo Magazine, please visit: www.barberevo.co.uk
Click here to check out the Imperial feature in BarberEvo NA Issue #1 with Imperial Brand Ambassador & Educator Michael Santillanes
Click here to check out the Imperial feature in BarberEvo NA Issue #3 with Razorbacks Barbershop's Billy McIntyre