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Atila The Barber Shares, His Inspirational Barbering Story…

Educator, product founder, youtuber and motivational speaker – all of this, on top of being a barber, means that Attila is a busy man indeed. But that’s the way he likes it, as I found out when I visited him at his barbershop in North London. 

“When I was young, I hung around with the wrong people. I grew up in Tottenham and I was always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I got arrested numerous times and was in and out of prison at one point.” Atila talks about feeling like a ‘yo-yo’, dropping in and out of employment, but also turning to law-breaking activities. It wasn’t until he discovered barbering that things started to change.  

“I tried it, but I didn’t have belief in myself and I started doing the wrong stuff again. I was going up and down, up and down. I thought I have to pick up my clippers again. I picked up my clippers and started my own mobile business: Atila’s Mobile Barbering. 

“Eventually I found a shop to work in, but I wasn’t good enough. All I could do was fades. I wanted to learn more about scissors and hairdressing. So, I decided to work and settled for £40 per week. After 3-4 months I got the opportunity to take 50% of each haircut. My passion for barbering started growing.” 

Not the smoothest transition into barbering – but it’s this fragile start that makes Atila’s barbering journey all the more compelling. After getting the taste for barbering, he decided to start looking for other opportunities that would help him spread his wings: 

“I saw a shop called Smith’s Hair Studio, full of guys like me. I thought I can be myself, not have to hide my identity. I was a free man. I met a great team and we’ve grown as a family. It gave me a chance to get better at my craft while my passion for barbering grew.” 

 

Amongst his peers, Atila is known as an advocate for positive thinking and the laws of attraction. He explains how this came to be such an important part of his life:  

“I’ll tell you the truth: I had a nervous breakdown at the age of 23. I got into a lot of debt and I was under a lot of stress. So I started developing and educating myself. I listened to motivational speakers, like Eckhart Tolle and Rhonda Byrne, who I still look up to now. Recently I’ve read The Power of Now, The Secret. I just wanted to feed myself with positivity. 

“Every morning I would listen to a motivation speaker, and every evening before I went to bed. This would get me through the day. If I had more negative thoughts throughout the day, then I would listen to more.”  

Atila decided that other barbers could benefit from this motivation, especially in the UK where the typical educational talk is more focussed on cutting than on philosophy. He decided to conquer his nerves and become an educator himself.  

“The first show I ever went to was Barber Connect. I made a few connections there and then went to a few more shows. I met up with Adam Sloan and MHFed – they liked my positivity and offered me a showcase. I was getting my work out there and I wanted to do it more. I got the opportunity to cut on stage, and then more work started coming my way. In 2017, there wasn’t a single show I missed out on.” 

Networking and building strong relationships in this way is a really good option for barbers who simply want to get there name out there. By being authentic and positive when around other barbers, you can quickly become known as a bright voice within the community.  

 

Atila really emphasizes the importance of barbering education and gives a big shout out to Ego Barbers and Stell in particular for continuing to give him exceptional education under the Kings of Tomorrow programme. If you want to hear more about the Ego Barbers team then check out this video from back in 2016. The most important point here is that even barbers who offer their own education need to continue learning from other masters. 

In Atila’s own educational programme, he’ll be showing barbers how to make more money behind the chair: offering services and connecting with clients can help you earn more and bring even more clients into the shop. Barbers can also go to Atila to find out more about creating the sharpest cuts.  

“I specialise in creating really sharp, clean haircuts. I’m obsessed with it. If I take a picture of a haircut and it’s not quite right then I’ll delete it, go back to the cut and do it again. I’m also able to do a really fast, clean fade. I can fade in 8-10 minutes and then tidy it up afterwards.” By turning to a barber with great skills as well as an understanding of the service side of the industry, you can really start to develop a professional barbering career.  

 

Aside from education, Atila has been busy creating his own product line. “I started by creating a logo, and then wanted to do something with it. I made a few t shirts and hats that I could wear to shows to get my name out there. Then very recently I began to create a whole product line: beard oil, matte clays, pomades, sea salt sprays and cologne. I start with a sample, and if my clients like it then I continue to produce it.”  

At the moment, these are only available to barbers in Atila’s own shop. However, there are plans to open up a new website and take products to shows so that other barbers can resell in their own shop: watch this space. He also has an upcoming YouTube series, with plans to release a video every two weeks covering different haircuts and cutting techniques.  

 

As somebody known for their positive energy, I’m interested to know what positive change Atilla would like to see come to the barbering industry. “I see a lot of observers: people just watching and not speaking. I think we should all get together and that way we can make this happen. It’s a competition out here now – we need to start working together instead.” 

Atila also champions a fierce work ethic: sleeping just five hours a day, he uses the rest of his time to develop both is technical skills and his mental strength. “The more you develop yourself, the more you’re going to want. Watch motivational speakers and develop yourselves: these are the things that got me to where I am today. I believe the secret to success is getting up early and going to bed late.” 

This attitude has certainly brought Attila a long way over the past few years, and I ask him to let us know where it’s going to take him next: “I’ve got a plan to have shops abroad. I want to take my craft to other places and motivate them as well. I might even move away from cutting hair and just become a speaker. My main goal is to speak internationally and inspire barbers all over the world”. 

Keep up to speed with the latest developments on Atila’s Instagram account @atilathebarber, and follow @larrythebarberman to make sure you never miss an interview! You can also subscribe to my channel on YouTube or follow me on Facebook for more updates.

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Barber Patty Cuts: Shares His Secrets, How He Achieve The Cuts That He Does, Plus How To Dominate Instagram

 

Patty Cuts is easily recognisable as one of Florida’s most talented rising stars – he boasts over 118k followers on Instagram, a sponsorship deal with BaByliss and several prestigious barbering awards. All of which puts him in a great position to help out other barbers who may be wondering how to start or where to go next.

Turn the clock back just a few years, though, and you’ll find a very different story. “At twelve years old, where I’m from in Philadelphia, everybody likes to look sharp. I didn’t have money to get cut all the time, so I started on my own hair. By the age of 16, 17 I was cutting up the whole neighbourhood.

“The only thing was, I never thought it could be a lifelong career. I thought I had to go to college, but I was not a good student. I had no passion for it, but I got through four years. Then in my fourth year, my Dad died – he committed suicide. My life got completely shaken up, and I went down the road of drugs and alcohol for pretty much the next year. I was miserable. So, I packed up all my stuff and moved to Florida, with a plan to become a lifeguard on the beach. This is about four and a half years ago: I was completely miserable.”

Delivering pizzas and feeling like he’d hit a dead end, it’s easy to see why Patty was starting to lose hope. “I like to tell this story where I made a sharp turn delivering one day and buffalo sauce spilled all over my back seat and that was it. I pulled over to the side of the road and made a decision that the next day I would go and enrol in barber school.”

It’s important to remember that unlike many UK barbers who are able to learn on the job, barbers in America need to be licensed: in Florida, that meant 1200 hours of barber school. “They do a lot of different stuff in barber school – but in the second half you get to cut people’s hair. So, I toughed out the first 600 hours and then got to cut hair on the floor.”

For a full-time learner, this takes around a year to complete, with a written exam at the end. The time commitment is worth it though, because it lets barbers get set up in a proper barbershop: for Patty, the next stop was a shop “right in the middle of the hood”, where he had to very quickly pick up new skills cutting textured hair – undoubtedly something which will have played into his more recent success winning Barbercon 2017’s Best Fades of the Year award!

Aside from cutting phenomenal haircuts, Patty Cuts has built up his brand by growing his social media following at an extraordinarily fast rate. This is an important skill for any hair professional who wants to become respected beyond their local community. “I like to talk about what I did wrong first. On Instagram I expected nice cuts to be enough – I was getting frustrated. That’s because I was doing it wrong. I was taking pictures with my old cell phone, I wanted results without putting in the work.

“Eventually I bought myself a camera. That’s when it all changed. I got a nice portrait lens – it all changed for me. My cuts were the same, but presentation was completely different. As I keep going up, I get better with photography because I study that as well. Kevin Luchmun is one of my inspirations, I’ll ask him questions.

“There’s also a time strategy, and a thought process about what I write in my captions, what hashtags people are searching. So, there’s a lot of strategy and kind of a marketing mind behind posting these pictures.”

Getting to grips with posting professionally allowed Patty to promote a unique style, the X-ray part. He originally shared as part of a competition started by Lee from Barbershop Connect, who asked barbers to have a go at crafting a great new look. “It’s two little slashes, but instead of carving them out, you leave it dark and cut around it. I call it the X-ray Part, because it’s kind of the negative of a picture. It just caught on – people started doing it and tagging me in it. I won Lee’s competition, and that was a good break for my social media.”

Patty also has some exciting educational projects in the works, and plans to work with fellow educator and BaByliss ambassador Sofie to produce a course that’s a little bit different. “We’ve discussed doing a three-part class. The first part would be cutting, and we would go about doing our different cuts – she is phenomenal at fading. The second part would be photography, and how to portray images of your cut in a cool, artistic way. Then the third thing would be videography.”

Being able to learn this trio of skills from such a talented barbering duo would certainly be a great opportunity for any barber who wants to show-off their work more effectively. You’ll also get the opportunity to pick up some of Patty and Sofie’s advice – and in closing, I ask Patty to share his most essential tips:
“Never stop learning. I will still take classes, I’ll still learn how to do something better. Right now I’m working on shear work. So, whether you’re accomplished or up and coming, take a class that comes up. And then secondly, if you’re not getting recognised then you probably need to do something different. Get out and meet people. Build relationships with awesome people!”

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