Unplanned Film School with Spike Lee

Nestled in the Upper East Side and the Lower East Side are staples of the community, Artisan Barber and Orchard & Ludlow, respectfully. It may seem like a stretch to call barbershops “staples of the community,” but when people enter Charlie McCoy’s establishments there is that sense of companionship, consideration, collaboration and most importantly creativity that makes a community whole.

Clients from all walks of life grace the barber shop floors for either a trim or two, light conversation with the talented stylists and most recently at Orchard & Ludlow, for creative collaborations. Orchard & Ludlow not only doubles as a luxury hair salon and art gallery, but now also serves as a studio for McCoy’s up and coming creative marketing agency, Artisan Luxury Brands.

Every now and then Orchard & Ludlow’s clients are presented with the opportunity to partake in the agency’s original projects, having the chance to work with McCoy’s team of creatives. However, this is an industry that McCoy is relatively new to, so any help is appreciated and he has been lucky enough to receive some from none other than film director and producer, Spike Lee.

For eight years now, Lee has been a loyal client of McCoy’s since the latter was a Master Barber at Kiehl’s Since 1851. Over the years he has become one of Lee’s go-to barbers, typically going to the director’s production company, 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, in Brooklyn to service him. “For several years Spike would come to Kiehl’s back and forth until I opened up the Artisan Barber location and he followed me,” McCoy shared. “Also over the years, I’ve been able to personally witness Spike work on several movies from Black KkKlansmen to Chiraq to Old Boy . He’s always busy, he always has two phones and he’s always being creative and thinking of something to drive work forward even when he’s in a barber chair, which is always something I’ve admired.” Considering Lee a “silent mentor” of his, McCoy knew that he was the guy to go to for advice on Artisan Luxury Brands.

A short few weeks ago Lee, followed by his assistant, visited Orchard & Ludlow for his classic cut. At this time McCoy and his creative team were working on a bevy of projects that just needed a little tidying up to be completed. However, McCoy saw the opportunity for what it was and after servicing Lee, had his Production Manager, Public Relations Assistant and videographer present the director with their pitch decks, video projects and more. Like the media genius he is, Lee gave his treasured thoughts. He advised the team to add more visuals to the pitch deck’s Microsoft PowerPoint slides, he rewatched the videos and offered some tips; just in a few minutes he offered McCoy’s team his vision and it was much appreciated. “Even though this wasn’t an epiphany moment for me,”McCoy says. “It was a reflection in time where my mentor in the media space has actually been able to give me valuable experience on a project where I don’t have as much experience as him.”

“Just having [Lee’s] small input for me was huge. That’s the day Spike Lee became my mentor in the media space. So, even though I may not have quite large access to him. It’s good to know that if there’s a video project or something creative in the industry that I can pass it by him before or after a haircut and at least get the comments of a legend.”