I saw the below video doing the rounds online and I thought it would be good idea to write an article on the subject. It is Ex Premier league footballer (now football pundit) Micah Richards breaking down how much he pays for his haircut. There was a lot of discussion online if this was worth the money, but I was looking more at how does a barber get themselves to the level where they are getting flown around the world and paid a few hundred pounds per haircut for one client.
As a kid up until now I understand the importance of getting a fresh haircut and the feeling you get when you walk out of that barbershop. You always see running jokes about a persons undying loyalty for their barber; my barber has known me for 20+ years (although I may have strayed off here and there), the quality and precision has made me a regular customer barber.
Now as a barber, building your brand is essential to your success of you want to expand your customer base. It's how you differentiate yourself from your competitors and establish your reputation in the industry. In many inner city areas a barbershop/hairdresser is a stone throw away with many in competition for footfall, growing up & up until now word of mouth played a huge role when customers were looking for a good barber.
Before we dive into the specific steps you can take to build your brand, let's take a look at some examples of famous barbers who have done just that. These barbers have built successful businesses and brands that are recognised around the world. This is just to show the levels you can aspire to in the beginning stages of being a barber and the career opportunities available.
Curtis Smith: Curtis Smith is a celebrity barber who has cut the hair of some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Diddy, Usher, and Will Smith. He's also the owner of Xotics Products, a line of grooming products designed for men.
Rob Ferrel: Rob Ferrel, also known as Rob the Original, is a barber who has gained fame for his intricate hair designs. He's created portraits of famous people, including LeBron James, Tupac Shakur, and Albert Einstein, using only hair clippers and hair dye. If you click on the image below you can see more of Rob's haircut designs.
Pacinos: Pacinos is a barber who has built a successful brand around his grooming products, which include hair pomades, shampoos, and conditioners. He's also a celebrity barber who has worked with actors, musicians, and athletes. It's clear to see that treating barbering like a work of art can help you expand your client base, build your brand to launch your own product lines and increase your earnings.
I had friend that treated barbering as a side hustle by simply cutting his friends hair on the weekends, as word of mouth started to spread so did his clientele (with a couple well known faces). It practically became a second job and as a result I saw him heavily investing into his equipment to provide a more tailored & professional service. To become a successful barber, you'll need to invest in some equipment. Here are the basics:
Clippers: Clippers are essential for cutting hair. Invest in a high-quality pair that will last you for years.
Shears: Shears are used for trimming and shaping hair. Again, invest in a high-quality pair that will last.
Comb: A comb is used for parting and styling hair. Look for one with both wide and narrow teeth.
Cape: A cape is used to keep hair off of your client's clothes while you're cutting. Look for one that's comfortable and easy to clean.
Razor: A razor is used for shaving and shaping hair. Look for one that's easy to use and maintain.
Chair: Invest in a durable chair which includes a footrest, headrest, and armrest, all of for maximum comfort.
Mirror: Allows your clients to see the haircut on the back of the head but reflecting the mirror against a front mirror.
Spray: Disinfectant spray to avoid infections, sores, or bumps.
Bag: to carry equipment around, especially if you need to make private client visits.
If you click on the images below you can have a look at the equipment in more detail.
To become a barber, you'll need to complete a training program. Here are some courses you can take:
Barbering program at a vocational school or community college. These programs typically last one to two years and cover everything from hair cutting and styling to sanitation and safety. For example the London School of Barbering.
You can also learn to be a barber through an apprenticeship program. These programs typically last two to three years and involve working in a barber shop under the supervision of a licensed barber. The IHAA provides apprenticeships and qualifications to enhance your barbering skills.
Social media is an essential tool for building your brand as a barber as we well know. I remember in the barbershop seeing books which showed photos of cools haircuts, now these types of photos on social media pages. Here are some tips:
Share photos of your work: Use social media platforms like Instagram to showcase your work. Share photos of your haircuts and styling work to attract new clients.
Engage with your followers: Respond to comments and messages to build relationships with your followers.
Collaborate with other barbers and influencers: Collaborating with other barbers and influencers can help you reach new audiences and grow your brand.
For example popular celebrity barber G-Cutz collaborated with popular YouTube channel GRM Daily to create a show called "in da cut" where musicians/athletes would face off by providing their fans with a haircut, which would then go down to a vote by G-Cutz on which "barber" gave the better haircut.
Or you can look at Sheldon Edwards who runs HD Cutz and has over 700k followers on Instagram, Sheldon has cut famous celebrities from the likes of Usain Bolt and Karim Benzema. He has built his brand to such a level that he is now an ambassador for the likes of Nike, Adidas, Boohoo Man and Gillette. You can click on the article below to read a newspaper article written about the well renowned Global Celebrity Barber. The popularity of these barbers have allowed them to establish their own barbershops and employ other barbers to join their brand.
If you want to attract celebrity clients, you'll need to know what they're willing to pay for a high quality haircut and to gage your prices. Here are some examples:
LeBron James: $1,500
David Beckham: $750
Justin Bieber: $750
Celebrities are willing to pay a premium for a haircut because they understand the importance of looking their best. They're constantly in the public eye, and their appearance can impact their career and brand. Additionally, a celebrity haircut often involves more than just a trim or a simple cut. It may require intricate styling, precision techniques, and specialised tools, products and sometimes travel & accommodation , all of which can drive up the cost.
Being a famous barber opens up a range of opportunities, including:
Brand partnerships: Famous barbers can partner with grooming brands to develop and promote products.
Celebrity clients: Famous barbers may attract high-profile clients, which can help build their brand and reputation.
Speaking engagements: Famous barbers may be invited to speak at events and conferences, sharing their expertise with others in the industry. You can look at Barber Connect which is Europe's largest Barbering exhibition which is free to attend and provides free barbering seminars.
Product lines: Famous barbers can develop their own product lines, such as grooming products, tools, or apparel. Curtis Smith of Xotics was mentioned earlier.
Now I am sure you don't want to dive right in and start barbering straight away without doing a bit more planning & research first. I have provided below some literature first, there are many books available that can help you become a successful barber. Here are some examples:
"Milady's Standard Barbering" by Milady: This book covers everything from basic haircuts to advanced techniques and styling.
"The Barber Book" by Phaidon Editors: This book showcases the work of over 200 barbers from around the world, providing inspiration and insights into the industry.
"The Essential Guide to Salon Success" by Antony Whitaker: This book provides tips and advice on building a successful barbering career, including marketing, customer service, and branding.
You can click on the images to purchase these books.
Now one of the fun ways in which a barber can expand their brand and showcase their talent is through competitions, notable worldwide barber competitions include the American Crew All-Star Challenge and the Great British Barbering Academy's Barber of the Year competition. These events offer barbers the chance to exhibit their skills, gain recognition, connect with others in the industry on a global scale and perhaps hone your skills. Imagine winning one of these completions, what it would do for your reputation or the endless opportunities it could bring.
I hope this article helped you get started if this was a career path you were considering, feel free to show me your cool haircuts or some fancy photos of haircuts you like. I know first hand how important it is to having the right barber and mort importantly how a good haircut makes you feel. As a career if you want to positively impact someone's self esteem, style, and how someone overall feels about themselves then barbering could be a career worth looking, at as it is satisfying and can be very rewarding.