WHAT MADE YOU WAKE UP AND NOTICE THIS CLIENT BASE?
Around 18 months ago, I had a realisation that I was neglecting a huge percentage of my client base, totally unintentionally of course! I found myself looking at my diary and handpicking who would give me the best photo for that day. I was so worried about putting out the best content on social media, which I thought was perfect hairlines, chiselled jawlines and great beards. By doing that, I was actually going against everything I believe in just to fit in with social media. Every day I’m now trying to create a more level playing field.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE INDUSTRY FALLS INTO A TRAP OF ONLY SHOWING A CERTAIN TYPE OF CLIENT?
We want to produce a showreel haircut, a cover shot, magazine features and stage work. This is great, I love and want that too, but I want to make people feel great about themselves regardless of how it looks on social media. That is why I’m trying to achieve the “unlocking” of a client base that avoid barbershops because they don’t feel they belong there.
WHERE DO YOU THINK THIS MINDSET COMES FROM?
I think the problem begins with qualifications, I mean, the standard is there, you get taught to cut hair and the basic techniques of how to style hair – but the education isn’t there to find a style to suit a certain client. Clients who start thinning, think they need to grow their hair as long as they can to cover up the balding areas. They need to put in a lot of work and product into these styles though, whereas a shorter crop with a blunter fringe can strengthen the hairline and enhance the hair they have, instead of creating a hairstyle they have to keep tweaking throughout the day. Barbers need to have more confidence to guide clients to hairstyles that will suit them.
HOW ARE YOU CHANGING THE NARRATIVE? WHAT SOLUTIONS ARE YOU OFFERING?
I’ve started to offer alternative ways to enhance the customer’s hair, after all, it’s better to be educated on how to work with the hair you have, than to fight a style that doesn’t work.
There is a whole spectrum of things you can do. It all boils down to how permanent, expensive and invasive you want these procedures to be. At one end, you have semi- permanent solutions for aesthetics, such as hair fibres and beard enhancements.
“IT’S BETTER TO BE EDUCATED ON HOW TO WORK WITH THE HAIR YOU HAVE, THAN TO FIGHT A STYLE THAT DOESN’T WORK”
The fibres colour match to a client’s hair and are applied to thinning areas. The fibres cling to client’s hair and build up to give the appearance of thicker hair. It’s then sealed with a fixing spray.
Beard enhancements are skin stains, where the outline of the beard is stained to make the beard line look stronger and thicker. You can use a compressor or paint directly on the skin. The problem this can cause, is that without education, you can create more anxiety for customers as they worry that they will lose their enhancements in different weather.
If the client wants a permanent option, you can offer SMP and tattoo the hair line on, or they can even get a hair transplant.
The reason I am trying to get clients to embrace other ideas as these can be both expensive and invasive.
WHY DO BARBERSHOPS NEED TO CHANGE THEIR MINDSET?
I think it’s important for a barbershop if someone is coming in, who isn’t that confident with their hair, to go above and beyond. Adding a skincare or facial service can give them a reason and a purpose to visit the barbershop.
WHAT DO YOU OFFER TO CLIENTS IN TERMS OF GROOMING AND SKINCARE SERVICES?
I try to keep things as simple but effective as possible. When you are dealing with a variety of clients in the shop, you’ve got no idea how different skin types are going to react to heat, products or the treatment itself. To avoid any mishaps or reactions, we keep it to limited products such as a moisturiser, an exfoliator and a toner. The service itself gets brought together by hot towels, a steamer and collagen face masks at the end to rehydrate and re-energise the skin and give a luxury feel.
HOW DOES YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AFFECT YOUR WORK?
I come from a long line of male pattern baldness myself. I knew it would affect me in some stage of my life, I’m already showing recession, so I knew I would have to tackle it head on.
The main thing our clients suffer with is confidence. They lack the confidence to talk about styles because there is a stigma that men don’t talk about thinning hair. I don’t think that the rise of influencers has helped. It’s so easy for a celebrity to fix their imperfections with surgery – what hope does that give the rest of us?