David Humphries Talks the Future of Detroit’s Hair Wars

David HumphriesHair stylists can work wonders with hair and David Humphries decided to give Detroit stylists an opportunity to show off their work. He started a showcase called Hair Wars.

A disc jockey, David Humphries (a.k.a. “Hump The Grinder”) he actually launched the concept in Detroit nightclubs in 1985 as a gimmick concept to pull customers into the clubs.? He had no idea how large it would grow. Once it started to involve local hair stylists, it spun off into a separate division, named the “Hair Wars Beauty School Showdown,” a grooming center for Hair Wars.

In 1991 Hair Wars moved from the clubs into larger venues and by 1994 it hit the road, going to Los Angeles, it attracted stylists from all over the county. Then Hair Wars went on to tour other cities, such Columbus (OH); Oakland; San Diego; Chicago; Raleigh; Dallas; Atlanta; New York; Las Vegas; Miami; and even the Caribbean.

Humphries expanded the brand to include hair instructional seminars
through which top hair educators have been teaching new techniques and
creating new trends in over 25 cities since the educational tours began in 1992.? And recently, Hair Wars developed a new division called The Hair Wars Ad Agency, where the company promotes hair stylists, salons and hair companies to the hair industry and general public.

David Humphries tells TNJ.com about the future of Hair Wars.

TNJ.com: What prompted you to start the event?
David Humphries: I recognized the need for a platform for all the talented Detroit area hair stylists to show off their work.? After introducing the stylists to the party people in the nightclubs, it was time to make ?hair entertainment? (along with hair education) a full-time focus.? The demand was there.? Another reason why I started Hair Wars was because Detroit needed something new and exciting, and this was not happening anywhere else in America.

TNJ.com: Where were some startup challenges and how did you overcome them?
DH: It was tough to get going financially, due to the fact that sponsors were very hard to come by.? Overhead was killing me because it was difficult to cut corners in order to deliver a polished product.? A couple of things that happened forced me to move from my high-rise apartment in the sky and sell my luxury car to keep the show rolling.

TNJ.com: What have been some challenges in dealing with Detroit?s financial crisis?
DH: Detroit?s financial crisis definitely has had its impact on Hair Wars.? The revenue in hair salons has decreased, which results in stylists having less to spend on promotions (photo shoots, traveling with Hair Wars, stage shows, etc.).? But overall, Hair Wars is surviving ? and this IS Detroit.? We have a lot of strength in this industry.? We just have to be very careful about how we budget our money.

TNJ.com: Are you operating any different because of the crisis?
DH:? We?re cutting our costs where possible, which includes less travel.? We?ve had the opportunity to brand Hair Wars in several U.S. cities prior to the crisis, so it?s not bad for us to downsize the touring and concentrate on the current phase of marketing and promotions, which is through the Internet.

TNJ.com: What are your goals for this year?
DH: One of our goals for 2014 was to establish a larger presence overseas.? During the past few years, we?ve been receiving lots of media coverage throughout Europe and other parts of the world, and it?s time to start thinking more globally.? Our weekly Internet show, ?Hair Wars Around The World,? has also given us an opportunity to be directly connected with other cultures.? Hair is universal, and incorporating hair with entertainment, you can add excitement anywhere in the world.

Another goal has been to attract more corporate sponsors.? As long as we?ve been in business, and as much media attention as we?ve received, we?re still considered an underground movement.? I used to work for an advertising agency once I graduated from college, and nothing has seemed to change.? The ad agencies on Madison Avenue in New York don?t have a clue as to what to do with this multi-billion dollar Black hair industry.? Our goal has been to help them tap into it.

TNJ.com: What have been some expansion challenges?

D.H.: I never experience expansion challenges.? Hair Wars has developed at its own pace.? Even when we were touring 10 cities a year for 14 consecutive years, we proceed aggressively, but cautiously at the same time.? I?ve witnessed the collapse of several companies that tried to grow too fast, and that resulted in my passing up on many
several so-called ?great opportunities.?? I chose to handle my business without being overwhelmed and overloaded.? Maybe that?s why we haven?t made our millions yet, but I do believe the best is yet to come.

TNJ.com: What are your thoughts on Detroit?s future?
DH: I love Detroit?s future.? The world has their eyes on Detroit right now, and many people are trying to position themselves to reap the benefits that are about to happen in this city.? The passion is here, the energy is here, and the people behind Detroit?s comeback are going full-steam ahead ? and Hair Wars will be right there cheering everyone involved.