Why I retrained as a barber during the pandemic

After re-discovering a love for barbering triggered a complete career change, Jordan Gosden shares what he’s learned from coming to the industry late 

Panel of barbering images by Jordan Gosden Images: @jsgcuts

“I’ve always loved the feeling of going into a barber shop. I would often spend time in my local one after finishing school – just watching people cut hair and sweeping the floors. I loved the atmosphere of people laughing and having a good time, but I also noticed that people felt better about themselves after getting a haircut. It seemed such a rewarding aspect of being a barber. Then, as I got older I found myself watching barbering tutorials online for hours at a time. Back then, I didn’t understand what certain techniques were, but I still enjoyed learning. I always knew it was something I was passionate about but needed to find a way to make it happen.

I have worked many jobs since leaving school. Initially, I went to college and was training to be an electrician but I dropped out, worked in various industries before eventually working for an insurance company for three years. I hated every moment of it; it was the same thing day in, day out. When lockdown happened I was forced to work from home.

This was a blessing. While I was working I found myself watching barbering videos again, and this reignited a spark. I said to myself: ‘I need to make this happen now or I will be working for this insurance company forever’, and I couldn’t allow that to happen. I started by attending a two week intensive course in Northampton, but didn’t get as much experience working with clients as I had hoped.  After the course, I searched online trying to find an academy where I could train. I came across one in Kings Lynn which offered an eight week course where I could complete my training while working in a barbershop. Though it would be a big financial hit, I decided to take the risk.
Images: Gould Barbers, Wisbech
It’s a been a very difficult journey at times. I’m 25, so I’m not eligible for any Government funding. For six months I’ve had no income but had to build up my barbering kit as well as paying for living expenses. It’s been stressful and has sometimes made me doubt my career, but my passion has kept me going, and my partner and family have helped massively. 
My advice to anyone my age wanting to become a barber or hairdresser is to make sure you really want to do it as a career. Before you leave your 9 to 5, go into a salon and shadow a hairdresser. Watch videos of how to cut hair then when you feel confident enough, perhaps try cutting a friend or family member’s hair. If you still feel it’s something you’re truly passionate about, then go for it. But remember nothing worth having comes easy, so you’re going to have to work extremely hard in order to achieve your goals. But if you work hard in this industry, you will be rewarded and many opportunities can come your way.” 

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