WHAT’S THE STORY OF OS BARBERS AND WHAT’S YOUR ETHOS?
Myself and George Oakley set up the first OS Barbers in 2014 in Brighton and we have since opened a second shop in Brighton and a third in West London. Our ethos is all about creating a great work culture and making our team feel valued. [OS Barbers were actually Best Team finalists in the 2020 Modern Barber Awards]. Sustainability wasn’t initially a priority for us to be honest. It was a year and a half before we started taking it seriously.
SO HOW DID SUSTAINABILITY BECOME A FOCUS FOR OS BARBERS?
Lockdown was a great opportunity for us to take a look at our business and see how we were (or weren’t) being sustainable. Seeing the amount of PPE being thrown away was a turning point. That feeling of not knowing what to do with it made me research sustainable options and then I applied them to the barbershop. Lockdown also made us think bigger – what can we do to give back to the planet?
”WE WANT TO EDUCATE PEOPLE TO TURN THEIR LIVES AROUND – AND YOU CAN ONLY DO THAT BY BEING RELATABLE”
HOW ARE YOU SPREADING THE MESSAGE OF SUSTAINABILITY?
We are being transparent with our clients. We want to educate people to turn their lives around – and you can only do that by being relatable. We’ve done social campaigns around social responsibility and the engagement has been really positive.
ANY CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY?
A lot of companies go down the sustainability route – but it’s easy to ‘greenwash’. Thankfully we’ve got honest friends who’ve pulled us up on certain things. In the nicest way possible they’ve said things like: ‘Have you thought about this and that?’ That’s been really helpful.
WHAT ARE THE EASIEST THINGS THAT BARBERSHOPS CAN CHANGE TO BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE?
It’s best to keep it basic at first. We’ve changed our energy supplier to a renewable energy company (Octopus), we’ve swapped our cleaning products to a sustainable brand and we’ve even got a bamboo broom. All simple stuff.
WHAT’S THE PLAN FOR 2021?
We’ve given ourselves a year to turn around our business. We’re not a sustainable company… yet. Excitingly, we’re making our own sustainable product range. Our first launch is a sustainable shampoo bar. It’s made in a West Yorkshire soap factory and contains sea salt and pine. We’re really pleased to say that 5% of profits will go to Plastic Oceans UK who aim to rid the UK’s seas of plastic within a generation. It’s made from recycled and biodegradable packaging too. We want to make sustainability easy and simple to understand. That’s the key to making a big change.