Rotterdam’s Schorem Barbier has become an infamous destination for barbers who want to embrace the crazier side of the industry. I was very interested to speak to the British barber Paul Taylor Clinch to find out how he ended up joining their gang – and what it’s really like to work there.
“Like a lot of people, I was a huge fan. I followed their work online for about two years: as soon as they started doing videos I was watching them on the way to work to feel inspired through the day. I liked their work ethic: work hard, play hard.
“One day they posted something in Dutch and I was naturally curious. It was basically saying that they were offering a position. Anyone who has seen their documentary will know that Demon Daan got his job there by writing an email that basically said, ‘I’m the guy you’re looking for.’ I wrote my CV, and thought I’d see if lightning can strike in the same place twice. So, it was a professional CV, but at the end I added ‘I’m the guy you’re looking for.’“
It clearly resonated, because almost immediately Schorem were in touch to say that they wanted to fly Paul out for a trial. Nervous but excited, Paul jumped on a flight and left to meet his heroes. Once there he spent the day at the shop watching them operate and waiting for his chance to impress with his cutting skills:
“When it was my turn to do my two models, Rob and Leen came in. And because it was the end of the day, I had the whole team sat on the waiting bench watching. I kid you not, Rob was just sat in the middle leaning forward and squinting at me. Rob checked one side of my cut and Leen checked the other. Luckily they offered me the job there and then.”
I doubt that luck had much to do with it. Schorem are committed to finding excellent barbers who can maintain their quality. Part of working their means learning to execute 12 specific cuts: these are the looks that Schorem clients expect to walk away with.
“I was getting into pomps, but I had no idea how the guys at the shop did it. It’s really nice that we all train together: even though we cut what’s on the posters, and that’s one of the golden rules, everyone has different strengths within that. It’s so amazing that we can keep learning off each other.”
The guys behind Schorem have managed to create a family atmosphere within their crew, and within the barbering community they’re known almost as much for their hijinks as for their cuts. It didn’t take Paul long to realise what he’d gotten into:
“My first day I got picked up from the airport and Rob said we’re going to do a photo shoot. I thought okay, probably for the website, like a mugshot. I get there, and Gio is pretty much naked, holding some playing cards to cover himself. So I think, this is going to be a weird photo shoot. Rob says to me, ‘we need you to get naked’. I took my shirt off and he says no – naked.” So barbers who want to join the Schorem team can certainly expect a baptism by fire!
A lot of barbers back home in the UK long to jump on a plane and start working at a shop like Schorem. But is it really that different to the traditional shops that we have here?
“I think the beauty of it is doing the classic haircuts. In England it started to slow down a bit, people were chopping off the pomps. The classic cuts suit everyone. At the shop now, we only do what’s on our posters. So, I get to do the cuts that I love every day. It’s also amazing to learn while I’m there. Rob especially shares his knowledge so openly and so freely.”
Aside from the cuts themselves, there’s also something special about the boys that Rob recruits to be on his team. “You have to be a little bit loopy to work there. I love the fact that at Schorem, as opposed to a traditional shop, we face away from the mirror. It reminds people that they’re not just there for a haircut, and it also means that we can all talk together throughout the day.”
“After we’ve done the last cut of the day, we’ll spend an hour just cleaning up with a beer. We like to chill out at the shop: people will pop in just for a beer and a chat. It’s so much more of a hang out. It’s brilliant because when I’m not in the shop I only hear Dutch speech – I have no idea what’s going on around me!”
Finding a shop that feels more like a family is a great way to make sure that you’re career in barbering is fulfilling; not everyone can work with the barber at Schorem, but anyone can foster this atmosphere in their own shop. I hope Paul’s account inspires you – for more interesting interviews, don’t forget to follow Larry the Barber Man on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.