Have you ever walked into the barbers completely unprepared without a clue what kind of haircut you want? I know I have…
It’s all well and good saying ‘same again please’ but let’s face it – your barber cuts more heads than you have hot dinners and that’s a fact.
You may not getting the most of your barber when you sit in his chair.
It’s true, you could be handing over your hard earnt cash and leaving unsatisfied with the result. Yes, there are some shoddy barbers out there but I know a good tradesman when I meet them; so when I asked my barber/mate Jamie, of Clay’s Barber Shop, how many people who come into the shop know exactly what they want, he said:
“Around 60% of people don’t really know what they want and keep having what they’re used to because they don’t want to ask for advice”.
This really surprised me – statistically more often than not the lad in the chair doesn’t know what he wants, or will just have the same again. Not only putting pressure on the barber interpret instructions correctly or remembering from last time, but also deliver what’s achievable with the hair type and length.
What can you do to get the most from your barber?
Jamie’s answer to this question was frank: “Communication and understanding what is possible with your hair. We know people don’t know what a fade or a taper or a pompadour is or even a parting in some cases.
“Part of our job is to understand what the client wants and then to interpret what they actually want, then explain what’s possible then create the final outcome”.
So, if you’re not sure what is possible with your hair then be frank and ask the question to your barber, they’ll appreciate you asking and be keen to feedback.
When asked whether clients can be too specific, Jamie said: “I don’t think so, unless it laps over into being unrealistic and/or fussy”.
I asked Jamie for his top three absolute ‘client don’t-dos’ when coming into the shop, here’s what he came back with:
Number one is saying: “I usually go somewhere else but they’re closed or too busy or too expensive or any other reason”.
There is nothing worse than being perceived as second best, especially if your shop has a good reputation. So keep your mouth closed and enjoy the experience of a new shop and if you don’t like it or prefer your usual spot then don’t return and continue as usual.
Number two is bad hygiene. In a lot of barbershops hair washing isn’t an option so if this is the case wash your hair before you come get a cut.
Number three has to be rudeness. Although we are here to provide a service, doesn’t mean we’re not human. So put the phone down and engage in a decent conversation.
We want to be your friend not your servant.
Side note – swearing loudly, crude conversations and other anti-social behaviour is of course a massive no-no but saying that there is a time and a place for everything. So when there’s no children, women or elderly clients in ear shot or people easily offended then by all means tell the stories and swear your head off after all the barbershop wouldn’t be the same without it.
Basic rules of engagement one might say – but easy enough to follow general etiquette wherever you go. In short, find out what’s possible, communicate as best as possible and don’t be shy to chat to your barber, they’re only human.
(All photography: Jerin Micheal Photography)