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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