Get out of your comfort zone
You should never sit there for too long anyway, as it’s not healthy for your growth. Irrelevant of where your strengths lie in hairdressing, you should always be looking to learn.
Many hairdressers work in unisex salons and a huge part of their clientele are men, so there is a responsibility to learn what is not taught in an NVQ qualification. Barbering offers so many tools and techniques that hairdressers don’t use on a day-to-day basis. Take, as an example, how popular beards have become in the last five years. Many hairdressers were not prepared for that, but a barber’s ability to work with clippers and beards meant we were ready.
If you ignore industry tools and knowledge, you limit your clientele. Learn to use a pair of clippers and you can tackle even the most adventurous styles.
Learn to shave
Fashions often work in opposites, with younger generations looking to rebel against the previous. With this in mind, as the demand for beards slowly drops away, a trend for clean-shaven looks is emerging. Barbers are the masters of cut-throat razors, and hairdressers should be learning from them – being able to offer wet shave services and the required products to customers can bring in huge amounts of new business.
Cut-throat shaves remain one of the fastest-growing shop services in the UK and the average cost of a professional shave has risen by over 20% in the last three years to £17, according to a survey carried out by The Bluebeards Revenge male grooming brand and the British Barbers’ Association. That means with an average of just one shave client a day, you would add a cool £5k to your bottom line. Pile on the associated retail opportunities and your average bill rises steadily northward, boosting those profit margins still further.
Pay attention to the details
There’s an element of exposure in barbering that’s lost in most other forms of hairdressing. Unlike women’s hair, men’s is often much shorter and this means it’s harder to hide a mistaken flick of the wrist. As a result, learning to pay close attention to the details is often the difference between a good barber and a great one, so take your time.
Make the most of social media
Social media is a massive tool for barbers and has helped it grow into the connected industry it is today. Whether it’s a stable platform to showcase work, a place to handle enquiries and questions, or even somewhere to network with other like-minded artists to find inspiration, the possibilities that channels such as Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat provide are endless.
Look after your tools
Barbers are very good at maintaining their tools, which makes their job easier in the long run. When delivering education, most of the salons I visit rarely (if ever!) clean/oil their scissors and clippers properly. This should be done multiple times per day, not once or twice a year!
Attend industry events
With the barbering boom came a whole host of specific events, including Barber Connect, Barber UK, Master Barber Live and the Great British Barber Bashes. Industry events such as these offer stylists an opportunity to meet and talk with brands and professionals that are otherwise inaccessible. They are a great place to better your understanding of the products and techniques of each trade, and are incredibly welcoming to all.
Learn to retail effectively
We barbers are great advocates for the products we use on our clients. As a result, we maximise our profits by encouraging our clients to buy from us directly. It’s simple, really: you use the product on your client, you educate them on how to use it at home and you make an extra tenner on top of your service. It’s something many hairdressers forget to maximise.
Experience other salons
The barbering community has always been willing to share their shops with one another. Barbers often do ‘guest spots’ in other shops for the odd day, week or sometimes month. Not only is this a great way to experience a new environment, freshen up your career and learn new techniques, but it also creates chances to see and travel the world.