Martin Gold - My Life in Hairdressing
In September this year the LHAA launched its Salon Ambassadors' group and we are delighted that Martin Gold from MG Hairdressing in Stanmore was able to join us.
Over the past few years, the growth of the barbering industry has been phenomenal. Thanks to an increased awareness of the importance of male grooming, more men than ever are putting their best face forward and heading to their favourite barbershop for a spot of hairstyle (and beard trim) TLC, which means the demand for qualified and highly skilled barbers is greater than it’s ever been.
But it’s not just a male profession. As the industry booms, more women are choosing to become barbers as well. That’s a really welcome development, because the mix of men and women in what used to be a male dominated industry is helping to keep the industry fluid and alive with new ideas and fresh energy. Gone are the days when barbershops used to be men-only enclaves where customers sat on a bench, glumly waiting for their factory-line ‘short-back-and-sides.’ Now, a visit to the barbers is transformational and exciting, and a barber needs to stay on top of fashion and on top of their game if they’re going to keep their clients coming back for more.
So, if you’re thinking about becoming a barber, here are just a few things to consider:
Being a barber is extremely hard work. It’s physical, it’s repetitive, and you have to put up with some extremely long hours. When you’re new to the profession you’ll be surprised by the toll it takes on your body, which is why you should be prepared to make some important changes to your lifestyle if you’re going to stand the pace: forget the glamorous late nights, by the time you’ve finished your busy day you’ll feel more like a good stretch and maybe some yoga to work those tired muscles out!
Don’t forget, you’ll also have spent your entire day keeping a smile on your face while hunched into weird positions making your customers’ look fantastic, so a positive attitude, a good sense of humour, and top-notch communication skills are all vitally important too. You’ll also need a complete understanding of the products you’re using and be able to give expert advice on how your clients can maintain their new style once they’ve left the salon.
Barbering is a hugely competitive industry, but once you’ve qualified with the LHAA it’s important to remember one thing: no other barber is you. You’ve got your own style, personality, and work ethic. Thanks to the LHAA, you’ll also have a whole range of both traditional and cutting-edge techniques at your fingertips (literally!) Put all those qualities together, and you’ve got the foundations for building a successful career and a long-lasting reputation.
But, as every LHAA apprentice knows, you don’t stop learning once you’ve left the Academy. Building your reputation also means staying on top of new trends and communicating clearly with your customer to understand exactly what they want. If you’re going to develop a solid client following, knowing the best ways to achieve what they’re looking for and consistently delivering on their expectations is vitally important. You’ll also have to be flexible enough to switch-up your skills whenever required. After all, a lot of your clients will simply want a tidy-up or a trim but others may ask for something a bit more trendy and challenging. It’s important to keep all of them satisfied, and devote the same level of care, artistry and attention to every customer who sits in your chair.
We touched on this a few moments ago, but it’s worth repeating. If you can develop trust and rapport with your customers, and create an environment where they feel comfortable, relaxed and valued (which is pretty much the complete opposite to the way barbershops used to be two or three decades ago!), they’ll be your clients for life. Barbers who can accomplish this don’t only build terrific client bases, they’re also major assets to the salons and barbershops they work for. After all, when a barber has a loyal following, no employer will want them to work for another salon and take their clientele with them.
Many barbers are choosing to be self-employed, which gives them the flexibility of deciding their own days and hours. Or how about taking your LHAA qualification and doing something really creative with it, like cutting hair as you travel the world or hair-cutting the stars on a TV or film set? Times have definitely changed, and there are now as many freelance opportunities for barbers as there are for hairdressers. All you have to do is use your imagination!
In that case, we want to hear from you! Get in touch on 0208 953 9344 or email: [email protected] and let’s get your barbering career started!