“Rewind back to the beginning of lockdown and the industry had never felt so united. It felt like this could be the moment when we could finally get regulated. It felt like this was a time when clients and the government would recognize the value of barbershops. It was a massive chance for everyone to stand together and get the rules that we’ve been fighting for so long in place.
“WE WERE ALL IN IT TOGETHER AT THE BEGINNING – BUT NOW THE INDUSTRY FEELS MORE DIVIDED THAN EVER.”
We all shouted that we wanted guidance for reopening and along came the 42 page government guidelines. In those first few weeks after 4 July we were packed solid. On the first day I had to refuse about 20 people. I said I’d try my hardest to squeeze them in later that week. But then I spotted the barbershop near me accepting walk-ins and they had all the people I couldn’t see in their queue. There was no social distancing going on at all.
Meanwhile I did everything by the book. I’d spent time and money getting everything ready for reopening – full PPE, a bookings app, storing details for track and trace, and offering fresh gowns and towels for every client. How can these two establishments co-exist in the same industry?
Then prominent people in the industry started doing Facebook Lives saying ‘they’re just guidelines, you have to make it work for your business.’ What?! The barbers with big profiles were originally behind getting the industry regulated. Don’t preach that we should have rules and then go on social and say ‘I do what I want’.
Sadly people are now thinking: ‘If you can’t beat them join them’, but I can’t – I take pride in what I do, from education to running a chain of barbershops. But it makes me sick that those who aren’t following the rules are the ones profiting. It felt like we were all in it together at the beginning – but now the industry feels more divided than ever.”