Modern Barber
Modern Barber




Well, it’s been 40 years since a spotty faced 16-year-old started as an apprentice barber at The Sportsman barbers in Wolverhampton. An era when barbering, as an industry, was at an all-time low. The ‘unisex salon’ was the place to be, shops with names like Snips, Tangles and Hair Raisers were the ‘go to’ places for many young men.

Here we are 40 years later and who could have predicted where barbering as an industry is now. So many changes for the good, but there have been some negative moves in my opinion, too.

We are in a world where social media is viewed by many as essential, but is it really the golden bullet to a successful barber business?

It’s a fantastic way to getting punters through the door, but the essence of running a long term profitable business is not just getting them through the door, but making sure they return for many, many years.

Over the past five years I’ve witnessed a torrent of barbershops open with massive hype and superstar barber display, but I’ve watched from afar as the staff have changed week by week and over the months the chairs become emptier and emptier. All the fanfares and free beers in the world won’t keep the lads coming back unless the service and the haircut is right.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I think it’s inevitable there’ll be a thinning down where the number of shops is concerned. You don’t have to be a mathematician to calculate that the amount of barbershops on each high street far outweighs demand. Most will chug along, but chugging along doesn’t pay mortgages and provide a realistic income.

I’d like to see a situation where three one-man band barbers in the same vicinity pool their resources and work from the same unit, sharing expenses and providing cover for each other. I fear that unless we re-address the way we operate, regardless of how much passion we have for the craft, many will have no choice to leave the industry for financial reasons.

Get the kids through the door, they’re hard work but they’re your future trade. Look after the older geezers, that gentle trim is so easy and its regular guaranteed footfall and as you become an older barber so does you client base.

Pop in and have a coffee with your local old barber like me, we might be greying and wrinkly but there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. If you want a successful 40 year career as a barber, and provide a good income for your family, cut out the bull and stick to the tried-and-tested principles; QUALITY SERVICE, SENSIBLE PRICING and a bloody fantastic personality.


This article appears in the April - June 2022 Issue of Modern Barber

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This article appears in the April - June 2022 Issue of Modern Barber