I had a chance to talk to one barber Chris Moon, here in Glasgow. Chris is the owner of the Kutz Barbershop in Newcastle area. His family has been in the barber industry since 1938. He also sits on the barber council and used to be a competition barber. Having a shop in the family since 1938, Chris says he is in partnership with his dad, his brother and his step-dad. “The four of us are a very small family, but a very tight-knit family and we all work together”, he says.
Chris tells us that their barbering business started off with his grandfather in 1938. His grandfather started off in a small barber shop and thereafter expanded so that they own three shops now. Chris says that his father took over from their grandfather and his mother was a hairdresser until, unfortunately, she passed away. He says that the whole thing is kind of family oriented, so it was inevitable that he would become an excellent barber.
Due to their long history and heritage Kutz Barber Shop are fundamentally a traditional barber shop. The insides of the shop is filled with traditional wood furnishing. Chris goes on to explain that they don’t do traditional styles exclusively, but also modern drop fades and all that.
“We kind of play on the 1938 bit, that’s in our logo, so that’s what we’re really proud of and our head heritage is what has made us what we are today”.
When asked which one service attracts people the most to his barber shop, Chris says, “I think it’s the atmosphere. We’ve got a really good core team, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the staff we’ve got, our staff is the most important thing, because without them we have no business”. Although his family is made of great barbers, Chris believes that teamwork is the key to their great success. “I think that’s why people come to us because we’re a great team, the whole atmosphere and all of our shops are the same, no matter which one you go to, you get the same service from every single member of staff”.
Chris Moon goes on to tell me, he does not specialize in any single haircut. Being the good barber and hairdresser that he is, he knows that all customers are different. He understands that people change and so do trends. That is why he never wanted to be a one-trick pony but rather great at as many things as possible.
When asked about what goes on in the barber council, he tells me that he has had a chance to work with some of the biggest people in the industry including educators, Parada companies and the likes of Rachael from Modern Barber magazine. They all sit on the council and come up with great ideas on how to improve services for the guys on the streets. The barber council’s main goal is to ensure that the customers get quality services for what they pay for. “We’re in the fashion industry, fundamentally we’re in the fashion industry, and I think that’s forgotten sometimes, fashion isn’t about wearing an all-sequined t-shirt, or flashy shirt, fashion is every aspect of what you wear and how you look. So, the barber council is there to raise standards and make it better now in the industry”, he says. Although it is going to take time, Chris is determined to set the standards higher for everyone.
He further tells me that Kutz Barbershop is state registered and it shows that his team is well educated and they have high standards in their shop. He ensures that his shop is tidy and that everything is sterilized. Chris gives us an example of a barber who has just watched a YouTubevideo and decided that he is pro enough to have his own shop. He looks at it from the shoes of a customer who wants to become amazing, so he goes to the barbershop only to get a bad haircut. Such is the kind of customer understanding that sets him apart from other barbers. Chris speaks passionately about his job as he goes on to tell me how a customer should step out of the barber shop looking so much better than they went in. “Especially if they look amazing, they need to look ten times better than they already do, that’s what good barbers do; they make you feel good and look better because again, like I said earlier, it’s a fashion.”
Since he is on the barber council, I thought it would be good to ask Chris about his take on the reasons behind staggering state registration. He says there are not enough people who know about it yet. He thinks a lot of people who own barber shops honestly do not know enough about what the council is trying to achieve and about state registration. He hopes to get everyone in the country influenced to move in the same direction. Chris understands that this goal will take time, but he is optimistic that the time will come as long as he keeps on educating and informing everyone.
When asked about what he was personally doing about the situation, he confidently tells me, “I’m working bloody hard.” Chris further informs me that his immediate action is informing his customers that he is state registered and letting them know about his position in the council, standing for higher standards. He has gotten his staff on the same page and he hopes the rest will follow in the same footsteps.
Chris remembers that he has had a lot of good moments throughout his career as a barber. He says the highlight of his career is when he made it to award standard international. He found it unbelievable standing at the stage alongside other talented artistic guys. That is where he met his longtime friend John Bourne, who is a great barber and has taught him a lot. He goes further to talk about how much he learnt from that experience within a very short time. He says he got a lot of tips about his job, which helped him focus on where and how he wanted his barber shop to be. The two of them are very talented in their profession. Furthermore, he has had a chance to make a few new friends like Clarke and Lindy Roth. Chris now has friends all over the country. That is what he especially likes about his job; he can travel and meet people who give him new great ideas which he can incorporate into his shop.
He has been in a few competitions throughout his time, which he says that although he did not actually win, he has always made it to the finals. In one of the national finals, he was runners up to Passer, who went on to win it. He says that he learnt a ton, being on the stage and showcasing his talent. Chris likes a challenge because it gives him new opportunities to learn and to become better at what he does best. “The competition is what most barbers should enter, they have to enter them because if you can get into the finals, it shows customers that you’re not just good at what you do in the salon, the people are appreciating what you do”, he says. It is all about being professionally recognized. Once you are professionally recognized, you have solid social and professional proof that you are the best at your job. Chris says that is what customers want to see. It gives them a reason to visit your shop they can see that you are doing something right and other people in the country are recognizing it.
“I think there is a lot of negativity in areas, that’s what I don’t like. I think everyone needs to be together as a unit, and working together, bringing standards higher, you know, that’s what it’s all about- we need standards higher and England’s got to work together”, Chris tells us when he is asked about the things he would like to see change. He believes in the whole system working in unison because issues arise when you start pulling things apart. The talented barber would like to have every barber on the same page, maintaining the highest standards possible in serving their customers. Although everyone wants to make money, Chris strongly believes in delivering quality services beforehand. “We’ve all got mortgages to pay, cars to pay, families to look after, you want to earn money, yes, and no one’s going to say otherwise, but I just want everyone on the same page, pull it together and raise the standards”
Chris has already achieved a lot in his career. So, what is next for him? When asked, he says, “I just want to concentrate on cuts, cuts are my main priority, and making our customers happy, that’s the next thing, and that’s always been the thing, nothing else. He also says that he prioritizes working with his brother, dad and his step-mom, building their business and making it better. He says it is amazing to work with his family members but should he be asked to do other things, he would do them. He is quite the outgoing type and finds joy in delivering excellent services in whatever he chooses to do.
In closing, the advice from Chris to a young barber coming into the business is, “never stop learning. The only time you stop learning is when you’re six feet under, learn everyday”. He goes on to quote his dad who said to him, “if you can take this much from a bad barber and this much from a good barber and put it together, you will be a talented guy”. He believes that one can learn something even from guys who are not the best in the industry, so he just has to learn from everyone.
For anyone desiring to stop working for someone and to start their own business, Chris advises that you take the leap. He says it is difficult to start your own business but you will never know if you don’t try. “Find the right location, make sure that you’re happy with everything, don’t do it until you’re happy and you feel comfortable. When you feel comfortable, you know when it’s the right time.” He says.
That was the final part of my interview with the talented barber and proud owner of Kutz Barbershop, Chris Moon. I wish Chris more success in upholding the high standards of the services offered in his barbershop.
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