Carla O'Reilly owns Jukes Barbershop in Marsh Barton, Exeter and has written an excellent blog on one of the biggest issues facing Carla's industry today.
I have been involved with the British Barbers Association (BBA) for the last few years, the BBA are an organisation who are working to try and get the industry regulated. I specialise in traditional and contemporary barbering. Using techniques and skills that were once a common place throughout the barbering industry. Today these skills are very rarely taught. Which is why I am part of the BBA campaigning to higher the standards of barber training
I have been in the barbering industry for over a decade and over the years have seen some really appalling efforts with regards to the trade. For the past few years I have become more and more passionate about the industry and pride myself on the traditional skills of the trade.
I spend time researching the history or barbering, new trends, new tools, barbering news and even compete in competitions. Most people have no idea how skilled a proper barber should be, and the industry is seriously lacking in skilled professionals.
I have been personally accredited by the British Barbers Association (BBA) for the past 2 years, this is an organisation who are fighting to get the barbering industry regulated, the last time they went to parliament they got out voted by a couple of % which was very frustrating.
Most people have no idea the training and the skills that go into proper barbering. The BBA are working with training centres and government to try and get the quality of training AND the barbering NVQ's to a better standard.
The difference between hairdressing and barbering isn't obvious to anybody not in the trade, and I have been often been told that peoples perception of barbering is because barbers aren't good enough to be hairdressers. Now this is completely absurd, both industries have their different levels of skill needed for the jobs they do. Cutting very short hair is very different to cutting long hair, and time and time again I have to correct haircuts from other salons or barbershop.
I was so outraged at the state of a haircut I came across one day (3 days after they had had it cut by a well known shop in Exeter) I actually felt impelled to write an email of complaint about the shop, this is a recurring complaint I come across time after time with this shop, as with other shops as well.
Anybody can open up a barbershop tomorrow without needing any kind of training or qualification, including whoever is reading this. We use blades and chemicals that can cause serious damage when not used properly, do you really want people who have no professional knowledge on how to use these things near you're hair?
People pay money to have their haircut. it's your hair, and you've got to wear it everyday. If a builder does a bad job, you complain, or you refuse to pay, or worst case, take them to court, why should any other industry be any different.
Most of us, as a nation, believe that money means quality and unless they pay an extortionate amount for haircut then they will just have to 'make do' with the cheap places. I don't believe there should be a divide between rich and poor, and I don't think people should feel like they 'cant afford to go to that place' every customer receives the same level of service at my shop whether they are dressed in rags or an Armani suit.
I don't charge the earth and you will come away with change from a tenner, every customer is welcome to a complimentary beverage, there are beers in the fridge and playing cards on the table, a dart board on the wall and plenty to look at. It's very much a hang out place as well as a barbershop. Visit the website and have a look at we do, and increase your knowledge on the history of barbering!
Eventually I hope to hold training sessions here, and use it as it as a training centre in the evenings, teaching barbering as it should be done!
If any professionals would like some extra tuition on barbering, please get in touch and ill be happy to help you widen your skill area.