Over the last ten years I’ve seen the industry grow and develop. Recently I was involved in judging entrants for the Raw Talent Barbering Competition, sponsored by VTCT and brought to you by Mike Taylor Education. When I helped set up a student competition a decade ago, there wasn’t the quality and enthusiasm that I see in today’s students. It’s a testament to British barbering.
People used to think that the barbering boom would decline and the bubble would burst. But it’s amazing to see that it hasn’t –I believe the talent coming through is down to two main factors. The improvements in education and the fact that barbering continues to be a big hot topic on social media.
On social media barbers can now compare themselves to other barbers and shops. Although social media isn’t perfect, I do like the way it’s pulled everyone up to a great standard. Now you’re working with everyone in the world, not just the people in your shop. And the skills have elevated to that standard. From a training perspective, I show our staff and students what everyone else is doing on social media. It helps to remind us we’re not the only ones doing amazing education and it encourages our learners to elevate their skills.
Without a doubt the change in education standards has improved too – when I set up a student competition ten years ago no one had qualifications. Now, I’d say 80% have. People who are investing in training want to go to the best places to get their education. They’re more mature and they’ve thought through their career choices.
“PEOPLE WANT TO BECOME A BARBER BECAUSE IT’S NOT JUST A LIVING, IT’S A LIFESTYLE. AND I DON’T THINK THAT’S A BAD THING.”
The life of a barber has changed too. You used to become a barber because it was a useful trade. But now people want to become a barber because it’s not just a living, it’s a lifestyle. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Now barbers in training know where they want to work and how much they want to charge – but not necessarily how much they want to be paid. Now it’s for the lifestyle and the love of the craft, not to earn a quick buck. It’s become a lot like the tattooing industry. There’s a community feel in shops and you’re really part of a team.
Honestly the standard of student work I’ve seen recently has been outstanding. The young guns are coming through. Make way.”