Double the trouble, double the skill – this time, I sit down with Harry and Rhys of Harry Greens Gentlemans Barbershop in Maldon, to talk to them about their journeys in the barbering industry. Harry started young: from a young age, the barbering industry seemed cool to him every time he went to a local barbershop and in general. “I came out of college when I was eighteen and had nothing lined up,” Harry explains. “My old man sorted out a job for me with a local shop and from there I just kept on moving forward. I went to school to do women’s hair, but it didn’t really click with me, so I sank back into barbering and there you go.”
Rhys, funnily enough, began his journey when Harry initially setup shop. He came in to work as an apprentice to Harry when he was turning twenty-four and stuck in a job he hated. “I saw how passionate Harry was about the industry and got in as an apprentice. From there, we’ve had the shop ready within a year and have been building it up collectively.” The true story of two partners in crime!
Harry and Rhys both are noted, and praised for, their styling. With an Instagram filled with examples of their work, the two have gained quite a following, especially for newcomers. When asked about their styles, both answer that they take the traditional and give it an urban twist. Clean fades and lines is one example, and the two styles mesh up almost exactly due to Harry’s training. “Doing a bit of women’s hair helped a lot with the techniques,” Harry explains. “We also get loads of inspiration from people like J Fades, amongst others when it comes to styling – you’ve got to stay on top of your game, and learning from other people is a must in the industry.”
Both gentlemen take improvement seriously. Harry talks about how he sees going to shows such as the Great British Barber Bash to be a fantastic way to stay on top of his game, as well as network. He and Rhys agree that they are always picking up new information, new techniques at shows, and it does a fantastic job in keeping their styles more than up to standards.
As big as shows are for the both of them, they unsurprisingly quote their greatest moments in barbering as both happening at the Great British Barber Bash: Harry for making it to the final round in the competition and Rhys for all the people who told them how he and Harry inspired them.
It is no surprise with all of that in mind that the fantastic duo has plans in the pipeworks for future education opportunities. Harry talks about possibly doing one day workshops or seminars in order to pass on what they have learned to interested parties. “We’ve had people approach us and ask about training and education, and Rhys and I really see ourselves getting more into it in the new year. I think a lot of people could benefit from us doing training courses, and the feedback on the idea has been amazing thus far.” You heard it here, folks, so keep your eyes peeled!
Tom Chapman was another person who approached Harry and Rhys, though this time it was not about training, per se. Instead, he wanted them to come aboard the Lion’s Barber Collective, a group of barbers that is based on recognizing mental illness and suicide in young men and helping to understand and prevent it. Harry tells me that there are plans to eventually push it over to the states and claims that it will be an absolutely massive thing in 2016 – another thing to keep an eye on, folks.
Given that Instagram has done an amazing job of showcasing their talent, neither of them have a lot of complaints on the platform. “You can’t show off the whole haircut in the picture is a fault, I suppose,” Harry laughs. Rhys is a bit more to the point: “There’s a lot of people who are ready to criticize our work when they don’t have any of their own posted. Its fine, of course, we are here to be criticized, but it is something that can become annoying at times when it’s non-constructive.”
On the opposite side, neither of them have a complaint for American clippers. In fact, both of them are exceptionally happy that they have had the chance to experiment with the clippers and hope that they begin to come to the UK more in the coming year. “It’s definitely improved my performance,” Harry admits. “There’s just so much more variety when it comes to American clippers, motors, blades, all of that. If we could get anything more out of UK barbers, we’d definitely want to see more variety!” They advise other barbers out there to definitely give American clippers a go.
Speaking of products, Harry and Rhys comment that they do have their own product line, namely beard oil and salt sprays that are currently in shop only. However, they do have mockups for future t-shirts posted on their Instagram and they are thinking of taking their products to an online shop in the future; 2016 is going to be an interesting year for these two!
As for where Harry and Rhys see themselves in the future, it is with big plans in mind: more barber shows and chances to be involved with them as well as getting their plans on educating other up and comers into full swing. As said earlier, 2016 is sure to be an interesting year for this dynamic duo and I, like many others, cannot wait to see what Harry Greens Gentlemans Barbershop does next!
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