WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES YOU LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING A BARBER?
The first thing we look for is a true passion for barbering and men’s style. A lot of people got into barbering back when it was a fashionable choice, but we want people who are looking for a long term career and want to hone their skills over time and really understand their clients’ brief. Obviously there are the things that are important in any service role; timeliness, cleanliness, friendliness. Overall though it’s all about quality and service, not looking cool on your Instagram page.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO ANY GRADUATES WHO ARE LOOKING FOR A JOB? HOW CAN THEY SET THEMSELVES APART FROM OTHER STUDENT BARBERS?
We’ve learnt from experience in the shops that it’s not the best barber that always gets repeat business or the biggest tips, it’s the person who really invests in their client and gives them a great experience. I’d say to anyone starting out to remember, it’s not about you, it’s about the person in the chair. Also, until you’ve done 18 services in one day on the Friday before Christmas… you’ve got a lot to learn!
INSTA FAMOUS VS A REAL-LIFE COLUMN – WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT? WHY?
Instagram and social media is obviously important and we love having that platform, but without a doubt real-life client satisfaction is more important to us as a business – it’s a no brainer. I’d rather have someone with no social media, but clients love them, because that’s what makes a successful shop, not the number of followers they have.
YOU TALKED ABOUT HOW EACH OF YOUR BARBERS HAS A DIFFERENT USP – CAN YOU GO INTO A BIT MORE DETAIL ABOUT WHY THAT SETS OFF – CUT APART FROM OTHER BARBERSHOPS?
We have barbers who specialise in long hair / cutthroat shaves / skin-fades… That said, all our barbers are well-rounded and often it’s their personality that brings clients back to them. If clients are into skateboarding, vegan cooking, metal music, football, basketball, surfing, travel, conspiracy theories… we have someone for you.
WHAT ABOUT PERSONALITIES AND CLASHING PERSONALITIES. HOW DO YOU KNOW IF SOMEONE WILL FIT? We have a really diverse set of personalities working for OFF – CUT and it’s something I’m really proud of. It’s certainly not a requirement to like a particular genre of music or sport. Instead we all contribute to the mix and offer something a bit different. Sometimes that means a fight for control of the Spotify or an interesting lunch time debate, but that’s part of life and also much better reflects and serves the communities we work in.
WHY HAS YOUR BOOKING APP BEEN USEFUL FOR FOSTERING TEAM SPIRIT?
Our booking app has been a turning point for us. From our point of view, not only does it mean we have been able to go cashless, we have been able to schedule a lunch break that we all take together – something not many shops have, and gives us all a chance to chill out and catch-up with each other. From the client’s point of view, it means they can book in with their favourite barbers instead of waiting on the bench and getting the first available one. They don’t have to feel awkward about asking for someone in particular. Moving to appointments has been one of the best things to come out of the pandemic.
ASIDE FROM A KILLER TEAM WHAT HAS BEEN VITAL TO THE SUCCESS OF OFF – CUT IN ITS FIRST THREE YEARS?
Location was so important when establishing the three OFF – CUT branches. We purposefully didn’t go for a central London location for our first store (Camberwell 2018) and then subsequent stores in Streatham and Crystal Palace continued the trend. We selected areas that were up and coming and had a high rate of first time buyers. It really paid off in the in pandemic as more people were WFH. I also think we offer something a bit different, which helps to differentiate OFF – CUT from other barbers. We are relaxed, we put the customer first, we encourage personalities to come through in both our barbers and our clients. As well as loving their cut, we want people to come to us and feel like they have been for a drink with a good friend. The free beer also helps.