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MOD Barber Joey Power Talks Barbering At Barber Barber Shop

To look inside any one of the five glorious BarberBarber shops, you’d be hard pressed to believe that they were only established three years ago, in 2013. With no expense spared and attention paid to every detail, I always love stepping in foot inside their London location. In this interview, I’m joined by Joey Powers – a barber who is going to tell me what it’s like to work for such a prestigious brand, and how he got started.
Joey’s career didn’t start in barbering at all, but with what he describes as a “scrap metal background”, working for his father’s company. After around ten years, though, it was time for a change: “Barbering just hit me like a lightning bolt”. Like so many of the barbers I’ve spoken to, Joey was attracted to the barbershop atmosphere (which BarberBarber seems to have in abundance), and decided to break away from the family business. From there, it was straight into a 9-week course at the London School of Barbering: “ideal” for a keen would-be barber who just wanted to dive straight in.
When it comes to his biggest inspiration or influence, Joey doesn’t have to think too hard – he has nothing but admiration for Dale Ted Watkins, a giant of barbering who has worked closely with Johnny Baba as he’s built the BarberBarber brand. “I remember it vividly. I was on a train, and one of my friends said, if you’re getting into barbering them you’ve got to check this guy out. I was so impressed, so I found ways of reaching out to him & he took me under his wing … I was working in a little barbershop, but we would train two to three times a week after work. There was blood, sweat and tears, but it’s got me to wear I am now”.
A great story of barbering mentorship – and no surprise to those who know Dale that he would “adopt” a talented young barber like Joey and help him to hone his craft!
Now, if you’ve watched the interview then you won’t have failed to spot Joey’s wonderful mod style, which comes from the desire to “look sharp and dress snappy”. With a fascination about British subcultures, the mod style certainly suits him, and has given birth to his internet alias: ‘The Mod Barber’.
Unfortunately, this style of haircut is still a “rare little treat” for Joey, although he feels that the subculture is on the up, and getting some of its “rawness” back. One of the things that I love so much about the barbering community is that sense of style and extravagance, and Joey’s sharp look is certainly no exception.
I know a lot of barbers reading this would love the opportunity to work at BarberBarber – perhaps alongside Joey or in one of their other locations – and if this is your barbering dream then I certainly wish you all the best! So what’s it really like? Well, Joey describes it as the “Harrods” of barbershops, “tough work, but I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.”
He also has nothing but praise for Johnny: “Johnny’s a great guy, I draw a lot from Johnny. He’s a true professional. When Johnny was here working in London, that’s when I really got to see how a barbershop should be run”. He adds that if you do go to work for Johnny, you’d better “prepare yourself for a ride”. At the same time, it is a chance to learn so many new skills, and to create classic, elegant haircuts.
Joey is a great young talent, and it looks like he’s going to have a lot more to offer; it was a real pleasure to meet him. In only 2.5 years of cutting hair he’s had some incredible highlights which include working closely with Dale Ted Watkins, giving a Men’s Hair Workshop for the Fellowship and, of-course, landing the BarberBarber gig. You can hear even more about these key stages of his career – as well as where he’s headed next, and his thoughts on the barbering industry as a whole – by checking out the whole video and picking up more of Joey Powers’ barbering wisdom.
Stay tuned for more videos and articles covering the breadth of the barbering industry: whether you’re looking for educational videos or more interviews like this one, the LarrytheBarberMan channel will have what you’re after. Head to my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages and follow me to ensure that you never miss out on new content.

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Smith Hair Studios, Barbershop – Team Talk With Larry The Barberman

I rarely have this many people for one interview, but when you’re dealing with a group like Smith’s Hair Studio you have to get as many people from the team involved as possible. That’s because their whole operation is based around bouncing off each other, supporting one and other – and as they share their story with me, the chemistry is absolutely incredible, with energy flowing from one member of the team to the next.
So, I’m here with Atila, Ev, Nathan, Nathanial and Kat to get a sense of what makes them tick, and to inspire all the other barbers out there with such clear passion for the craft.
Of course, while team spirit is one important part of Smith’s Hair Studio, they’re all talented barbers and hairdressers in their own right, with individual stories about first getting started. For Atila, Ev, and Nathan the stories all start similarly – cutting their own hair and giving their friends trims and shape-ups as they developed their skills. Atila tells me learned different styles by working at different barbershops before joining Smith’s Hair Studio, while for Ev it was case of wanting an artistic skill that would also be practical for everyday life. He adds that “Mum said listen mate, there’s too many people in the house, you’ve gotta go to a barbershop”, and so the journey with Smith’s Hair Studio began.
Nathan’s self-start in barbering had a lot to do with the talented MK, who I’m sure many people reading this are familiar with. On the one hand, MK’s reputation and success was a huge influence for Nathan, and on the other his prices meant that Nathan wanted to try and do it for himself!
For Nathaniel and Kat, the journey to Smith’s Hair Studio was slightly different. After losing his job, Nathanial decided he didn’t want to work for someone else again, and instead wanted to learn a trade. After renting a spot at a local barbershop his passion grew, and he turned to the internet to educate himself using barbering videos. At the same time, Kat was finding her love of hairdressing was waning; after working in a salon for four years she was getting bored of never being able to do the haircuts that she enjoyed. Luckily, Nathan’s persistence got her on board with the Smith’s team, and now it seems like she wouldn’t dream of doing anything else!
These guys really have burst onto the scene over the past year, suddenly making their presence felt at barbering shows. Apparently, this is all down to Atila, who convinced them to head to Champ’s Barber Battle. He tells me: “It was fantastic, it was different, we met a lot of people there (…) saw so many different things, it was an eye-opener so we knew we had to start going to shows and learning more”. While there, they’ve picked up everything from new hair styles to branding ideas, and it’s become a core part of how they come up with new ideas and connect with other barbers.
Ev adds that it’s difficult to imagine them not benefiting from this experience: “We were always going to end up going to the shows, only because we understand that whatever you’re passionate about, it’s good for you to meet people that share the same passion and have a similar craft”. The others seem to feel the same: as Nathan says, it’s good for the whole team and the customers too. I’m also pleased to hear that they’re finding these barbering events useful on a barbering level, and Nathanial discusses how he has felt “a personal transition from somebody who thinks on a shallow scale to being somebody who think on a deeper scale” simply by meeting other barbers who have inspiring ideas or work ethics.
Rather than specialising in a particular style, they consider their speciality to be the customer service that they offer, treating everybody the same, getting each client seated on time and offering an excellent haircut – no matter what the style is. It also goes a little deeper than this, as they see hoe their work can be really important for the younger clients that, as Atila says, might need advice to help them avoid going down the wrong path. From this, his motto of “saving lives, one cut at a time” has emerged, and it’s wonderful to see a barbering and hairdressing group be such an integral part of the community. Kat adds that “cutting hair is the easiest part of the job. You’ve also got to work out what the clients want from you – a quiet haircut or plenty of banter”.
Watch the whole video and you’ll hear loads more about their ethos, their skills and what they love about the barbering industry right now. I’m going to leave you with the one thing that they each see as the secret of their group’s success…
Kat: “Bonding outside of the shop”.
Nathanial: “Determination”.
Nathan: “Positivity”.
Ev: “Creativity – how to solve a problem”.
Atila: “Being self-motivated. How to master your craft and attack it”.
And finally, their biggest inspiration which, as a team, they all agree is MK – the barber who not only inspired Nathan to get into the trade in the first place and go on to set up the studio, but who has continued to spark ideas off for the whole team. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for this gang in upcoming events, I’m expecting to see great things from them! In the meantime, head over to my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages and hit those subscribe and follow buttons to make sure you don’t miss out on any great content.

 

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Hair Stylist: Tom Baxter – Though Larry The Barberman’s Eyes

Tom Baxter is an exceptional hair stylist – find out why I don’t say barber or hairdresser in just a moment – who has quickly risen to success, picking up an impressive selection of awards after just a year of competition work and building an excellent reputation as an innovative an exciting hair professional. Like me, he has also taken to YouTube to help educate barbers and hairdressers across the globe, with a wonderful web series that sees him strap a camera to his head to give a bird’s eye view of the haircut process as it happens.
There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s dive straight in: my first question to Tom was to find out whether he labels himself as a barber or a hairdresser – but Tom chooses to steer clear of these labels all together! In fact, he sees the line between the two as becoming more and more blurred, with more colouring and curling being introduced into barbershops, and a lot more clipper work taking place in hairdressing salons. As he puts it: “If you cut hair & you’re passionate about it that’s enough for me”.
That said, he did start working in barbering, before making the move into hairdressing salons because he wanted something more interesting. So, what do his male clients think of his slightly more unusual work, and how does he convince them to let them doing something different with their hair? “I see a window where I can throw something a little bit crazy in … they know I would never let them leave the house looking silly or daft. I’ll push my clients on to sort of what’s going on at the minute. If you don’t like it, you can just rinse it out”. Focussing on non-permanent options means that Tom can experiment while still giving his clients the opportunity to change their mind.
I also wonder what other barbers think of Tom’s work, and it’s great to hear that they really do appreciate it, to the point that he’s invited in to do training sessions – with an upcoming course on colouring at Slicks Barbers in Glasgow as just one example. As he points out, at this year’s Wahl Barber Final pretty much every model on the stage had colour in their hair, and it means that Tom’s able to “really enjoy being able to express what I like to do with hair through barbering”.
Now, every stylist’s path into the trade is different, and like many Tom tells me that he “didn’t set out with a childhood dream to be a barber”. Instead, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time, and of all things it started with a football tournament in Barcelona. To take part, Tom had to have a shaved head or bleached hair, and when he went to got his hair bleached, he heard the shop’s owner saying that they needed a junior. “I overheard and said I can come after school for two hours every night. Then I did an apprenticeship rather than 6 weeks’ holiday … I really got into it”.
With this in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that Tom thinks the apprenticeship route offers a more rounded education than college and academy training for younger barbers. He tells me that spending two or three years on the shop floor, getting involved with the running of the shop gives Juniors a “real understanding of barbering from the bottom”. He also finds that it helps you to build up a rapport with clients: “A lot of my clients have become friends, and that’s barbering, that’s hairdressing. It’s a relationship.”
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, Tom has also been strapping a camera to his head and producing an educational web series. How did that idea come about? “It was one of those things where it’s just an idea that snowballed. One of the girls I work with was saying how do you cut men’s hair. So, I said I’ll get a camera and show you – it was just a bit of a laugh – and she watched it and said it was great. When I watch tutorials, you can kind of see the haircut taking shape but not the details … I think it’s a better way of learning, because you can actually see it from where I’m seeing”. Since then, it’s really gained traction: there are now around 20 videos in the series, with one picking up an impressive 85,000 views, thanks to Kamisori Shears’ support. With a general viewership of 35-40,000 views it’s fair to say that Tom is picking up a loyal following, and I’m glad to hear that he has more videos lined up.
In fact, his work as a brand ambassador for Kamisori all came about because of the videos – after seeing his work, using their products, they quickly offered to send more scissors over in exchange for more clips. “It’s a really nice brand to be with, high quality. I used them before I was brand ambassador, and it’s just really, really good quality. For me personally, you’re not going to get a sharper or more precise pair of scissors.”
He also tells me that “you’ll see me in London, in February, with the camera strapped to my head, it’s the first time I’ll have done it on stage. I’ll basically show everyone who wants to be a stage artist what you’re going to be looking out and cutting”.
And that’s not all that Tom’s been up to: he also has his own product, born from a desire to have a product that he really believed in to use, with the main aim being to improve his own work. Passing them on to his clients also means that he can give them the education that goes alongside the product, ensuring they can achieve the same style at home.
Alongside his web series, other forms of education have become a big part of Tom’s work, with stage shows, medium sized classes of 25-75 people for the NFH, and smaller educational classes at barbershop and salons. He tells me that the videos he’s producing are also useful for these workshops, since he can give the barbers and hairdressers a video of the session to rewind and watch again as they’re practicing.
Like a lot of barbers I’ve spoken to, Tom also thinks that the industry is definitely moving in the right direction. Is there anything he’d like to see change? “Not a massive amount. I’m really pleased that you’re seeing more female barbers, although I’m not a huge fan of the terminology – I’ve got girls that work for me, and they’re not ‘female’ barbers, they’re just barbers. Apart from that, I’m really enjoying the crossover from hairdressing to barbering.”
Finally, I want to know where Tom gets all his inspiration, since he certainly doesn’t seem short of it. Unsurprisingly, it comes from “anywhere and everywhere”, and often from hairdressing rather than barbering. While names like Jamie Stevens, Mickey Grahams and Darren Jones pop up, Tom also says that he doesn’t necessarily look to one person or thing. Instead, he takes inspiration from wherever it comes – a great motto to live by!
Want to cut hair like Tom Baxter? I definitely recommend taking a look at his web series, to get a glimpse through his eyes! You can also find my educational videos on YouTube, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more videos, including interviews like this one – I hope to see you there.

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