Abel Escoto started cutting hair at a young age. He would pass the time playing video games and giving mohawks to his friends. It's a combo that has followed him into his career as a stylist and business owner in central Phoenix.
Escoto owns Shampoo Ink Salon, a Windsor Square district hair salon and tattoo parlor housed in a little gray building at the northwest corner of Seventh and Colter streets. Previously housed in a historic structure, Escoto and his wife and partner, Veronica, moved the business into a former automotive repair shop in July 2016, but they left none of the original ideology behind.
Graduating from the West Valley’s Westview High School in 1998, Escoto went to college with the intention of majoring in business. “Talk about going to school for something you’re totally not passionate for,” he says from his office at Shampoo Ink. Needless to say, it wasn't a good fit. And Escoto made the switch from banking to beauty school in 2004.
Today, Escoto runs and works at the hybrid business – home to nine stylists and one tattoo artist – thanks to these five essentials.
Hyperkin RetroN 3 Gaming Console
“I have to have a game console,” Escoto says, motioning toward a Laser Red Hyperkin RetroN 3 gaming system hooked up to a flat-screen TV in the corner of his office.
The device accepts game cartridges for Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis. Currently, Mortal Kombat 3 for SNES is inserted and ready to go. Escoto says he has a “crapload” of games for it. He sees it as a stress reducer for employees. If a stylist is frustrated with a client, Escoto will gently order, “Dude, go play video games, please.”
“It’s a way to decompress and at the same time stay creative,” he says, “And it’s hella fun.”
“Shoes are very important,” Escoto says, who admits he used to wear dress shoes to work. "I’m on my feet anywhere from eight to 12 hours a day,” he says, “so being nice to your feet is essential.” Escoto highly recommends Air Jordans.
And socks? Gold Toe socks. "They're a little pricey, but totally worth it," he says. They're moisture-wicking, blister-preventing, and just “amazing socks.”
Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper
Escoto holds up a maroon-colored object wrapped in a cord. “I can’t work without this,” he says. “I need this.”
Escoto explains the Oster Fast Feed clippers are extremely universal, and something a stylist could also use on women’s hair. “The industry is crossing over a lot of tools from barbering to the cosmetology world,” he says. “I can’t function without this – it’s basically like a pair of scissors.”
Escoto has been using this tool for roughly 15 years, and says he also always had a pair of clippers at home.
Food and Water
In this industry (an ever-changing salon environment where stylists are usually on their feet), Escoto stresses how staying hydrated and well-fed is key. A giant water cup is usually at the ready, and his desk keeps fresh fruit and Power Bars close at hand. There’s also a blender and tub of protein powder in the corner of his office.
The Booker App
“As a hairdresser, I manage my business basically on the fly, so I use the Booker app,” Escoto says. “When I’m out and about, I’m able to connect to our database here, and what it does is it synchronizes my schedule."
Booker is a salon- and spa-focused appointment app used to schedule appointments online, take payments, and keep records. “The app has changed everything in the industry,” he says.
It’s also tethered to a number of social media accounts, which is ideal for Shampoo Ink, as salons and shops often post photos of a client’s new cut, color, and artwork, and often with before-and-after shots. "We take pictures as much as we can because that’s kind of what keeps us relevant to what people want.”
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