Ivan Zoot isn’t just “The Clipper Guy” who currently holds the Guinness World Record for the Fastest Haircut, he is a industry veteran who has worked behind the chair, as a salon owner and platform artist to becoming the current Director of Education Sales for Marianna Industries. He believes in sharing his knowledge and passions with the young and established stylists to help them have the success he believes those who truly want it will find.

What was your motivation to become the fastest haircutter in the world?

I would cut about 45-50 haircuts in a day but in Chicago when the winter comes not too many care about their hair. So this leads to a salon full of stylists talking crap to each other and making bets like I can cut faster than you can” So I decided to go for it. I looked up the Guinness World record and decided it was going to mine. So honestly, all in fun but I am glad I did it. 

What advice do you have for stylists who are striving for a long term career in this industry? And what do you feel are the common mistakes young stylist tend to make?

This is a question that seems to always come up… I’ll tell you this. If you show me a successful stylist, I’ll show you a person who shows up on time, who is reliable, honest, hard working and respectful. He/She will spend his Sundays with his family at church or a local event giving back to his community instead of sleeping off last nights bottle.  It is really easy, hard work and a great work ethic is really all it takes. 

Many complain about the economy killing their business. What guidance would you give to these struggling stylists?

I would tell them there has never been a better time to build a business or a full book. When I opened my salon, it took me a lot of money to open the doors. These days landlords are willing to work with you and for about 1/3 what I spent you can move right into a salon and get started. Now, I don’t want to discount those who are struggling, I am just saying there is a opportunity to really stand out with some originality and create that experience and service your clients are looking for. Most clients come into a salon because they have to, not because they want a cutting edge haircut. They just need to get a job done. Just like a Hair Nerd has to go get their oil changed every now and then. Do we ask or even care about what our mechanic is using on our car so long as it is done quick and right. No, so the value you can add to the service experience is what they are more concerned with, not even so much the cut. So it is time to start being confident in raising your prices and delivering superior service and you will see the difference.

You have been an educator for a majority of your career. How do you feel this has added to your passion for the hair industry?

I’ve been in this industry for twenty-two years and educating for most of it. I was walking the show floor early in my career and heard someone say “In order to teach you have to truly know it” It made me stop in my tracks and think to myself how true that statement was. So for me, educating has driven me to constantly improve and never stop learning. I can confidently say due to my years of hard work (not to come off too cocky) that no one can teach a Flat Top like I can.  

We are excited to hear more about you judging the MLB Barber Battle in CT. Tell us about this event.

This is an exciting and competitive battle of the barbers. It’s being held on March 17th in Wallingford, CT. I am very excited to see the work these guys put out and experience all that creative energy this event is sure to feature.

What is song your theme these days?

If you found my ipod and listened to it you would have zero idea whose it was.  There is a lot of variety there.

How easy or hard was starting your product company? What was your first lesson?

Easy! When I had my salon I started Zoot Care and later Short Cuts.  I now have Zoot Hair. It is the best way to brand you and your business. There are companies out there that will make the process of starting your own product line easy. They do it all, from sampling to product design. This way I was not mixing my own products with a canoe paddle in my bathroom! Haha
But you have to remember what the true purpose creating a line is and what it will do for you. Usually, manufactures create lines and distribute them out to salons and salons distribute them out to clients. This is what marketers call “Push Marketing”, from the top down.  A personal product line builds a brand. Clients will always need product, but when you are the one offering it at your level, whether you are a salon owner or a booth renter, the client then demands the product, your product with your name on it.

You have been really involved in blogging on Hairbrained since the beginning. How do you feel Hairbrained has helped the hair community?

Stylists are gravitating to a space where the focus is on hair. We used to hangout at in general social media spaces and at hair shows.  Now we can have conversations and view others work and feel more involved in our industries community no matter where or who we are.

What 3 items would you die without?

Well, I have two sets.

Hair-world items:

1. Feather Razor

2. BW Boyd 573 Detail Comb in White

3. 44/20 Blending Scissors – These are King of the Hill!

My world:

1. Hostess Ho-Hos

2. Diet Coke

3. PB & J


Have you ever had an “OMG, what the hell am I doing here?!” moment? Share

I can’t think of a moment of “What am I doing here” but I do have a good story that comes to mind.

I can remember it like it was yesterday, I was sitting in my car wondering why I had screwed up my poor clients hair color formulation for the third time. I remember being in my car and the exact intersection I was sitting at when it all hit me at one time.

The why, the how turned on like a light switch. All of a sudden the color wheel, underlying pigment and proper formulation became crystal clear to me. Just like that I knew exactly what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. Keep in mind, this happened 2 years after passing State Board with a score of 100% and working as a fulltime stylist in a big, busy salon. I tell this story often to students, it takes time and effort to really earn a skill and once you really understand it, the knowledge is yours to keep!

On a perfect day I spend it….. And eating……

Disk Golf is my hobby…but anytime I can spend it with my wife and kids, makes for a perfect day. We love to enjoy BBQ but we would have to fit some HoHos in there somewhere!


What do people find most surprising about you?

Well thanks to social media…there really aren’t any surprises. If anything, they are surprised I really am the guy they see on youtube and my bloging channels without being fake. I really just have this much energy! Haha

We have had the pleasure of watching Ivan in energetic action while at education trainings and hair shows.  All that pure energy and know-how he brings on stage is even present while interviewing him after work on a week night at 12am…


What is your next BIG goal?

On March 1st all 7 of my books are being published! I’d like to create an audio version of them for the IPod and get book number 8 out of my head and onto some paper when I have some time.
But the goal I have been really planning for years is my retirement.  I plan on living out my last 50 years in a 5 chair barber shop, somewhere in the neighborhood, filled with talk of politics & religion, reading, girly magazines and watching the Cubs game on in the TV.

I knew I was a Hair Nerd when….

I had more clippers than shoes!



#NerdStalk Ivan Zoot on Hairbrained and The Clipper Guy