A traditional barbershop with a twist
A traditional barber shop with a twist. Exceeding expectations, raising the bar and inspiring the next generation.
When you walk through the door at Andy’s Barber Shop, you’re instantly taken into another world – a world where the customer in King and nothing is too much trouble. The surfaces gleam and the floor is kept swept and tidy, there’s the fresh clean smell of menthol from hot-towel shaves and if barbers aren’t cutting they’re tidying and preparing for the next client. The barbers follow a dress code and the salon simply oozes class. This is no coincidence but is the vision of barber Andy Willis who has dedicated his life to building a successful high-end barbering experience, that exceeds expectations, whilst keeping prices affordable prices for the men of Bicester and Oxfordshire.
This 10-chair barber shop has a longstanding reputation in the market-town and almost four years ago relocated to a larger premises to create the ultimate male grooming experience. This now includes ‘Gents Groom Room’ offering a full range of male grooming treatments including waxing, pedicures, manicures, threading and sports massage. Staying ahead of the competition whilst staying true to the shops values is what it’s all about. The shop always likes to raise the bar and was the first in Bicester to have female barbers doing hot-towel shaves and has always championed female barbers – so the team are very proud to see barbers Imogen, 25, and Kaley, 20, become Zerogapped Ambassadors. These young, dedicated, and talented barbers are certainly ones to watch. Kayley said: “I joined Andy’s as an apprentice, the timing was perfect as they were relocating to a new bigger shop. I did a one-month residential training course and learnt the rest on the job. It’s a very busy shop and so I probably did more haircuts in my first month than most barbers do in three months! That was almost four years ago, and I’ve never looked back.” Andy added: “Thirty years ago having a female barber was unheard of, women didn’t even take their boys to get their hair cut. It was a man’s world and I’m pleased to see that this has changed. In fact, we have had times whereby we’ve had an equal split of male/female barbers – I look for quality, gender shouldn’t be a factor. However, what I will say is that female barbers do need to be thick skinned as we have occasionally still have clients who are hesitant to have their hair cut in a barber shop by a female. In fact, we take great satisfaction in showing them that our female barbers are exceptional and they soon change their mind! ”
The pandemic has turned business on its’ head for all barber shops and Andy’s barber shop is no exception. Being closed for months on end is not something any barber plans for and there’s no doubt that the first lockdown was a time for uncertainty, despair…but thenreflection and ideas. When barber shops re-opened in July, Andy’s Barber Shop hit the headlines by opening at midnight with Imogen and Andy cutting hair through the night until the rest of the team took over at 6:30am. Imogen said: “It was a surreal experience, we opened the doors at midnight and there was a queue of people – I couldn’t believe it. It’s certainly an experience I’ll never forget!” The shop went cashless, followed the strict PPE and social distancing guidelines and introduced online bookings, alongside the usual walk-in service. Despite yet another barber opening up in the town, taking the number of barber shops in the town to 10, Andy’s Barber Shop has remained busy and welcomed back both loyal and new customers.
In a rollercoaster of year, it is somewhat ironic that 2020 was the year that the shop received its highest accolade to-date when it was crowned WAHL’S British Barber Shop of the Year. This was the first time the award had left London and was an incredible achievement for a Bicester barber shop, especially to be competing with the big names in the industry. Here at Andy’s the team all know that anything is possible if you’re willing to put the work in and stay true to yourself. Imogen added: “Now we are hopefully inspiring the next generation of female barbers too.”
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