Il Capo Barbiere
“Il Capo Barbiere” is a third generation of the barbershop located in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. The name is a tribute to Sophie’s Grandfather, Bill Davies, who was known locally as ‘The Boss’ or Il Capo in Italian.
In 1932 he started as an apprentice to learn his trade at Deakins Barber Shop but in 1939 he was called up for military service in WW2 but he still managed to cut hair and the story goes that he cut hair while he was in Normandy and Iceland. When he returned home in 1945 he worked for a few years at Pool-Smiths before opening his first shop in 1949 called “Mayfair” this flourished and became a chain of four shops around Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent. Following in his footsteps Sophie’s father, Joe Davies, joined him in 1966 to learn the trade but in 1969 he took the decision to go to London to train and increase his knowledge with Tommy Ahmed at “Clubman Barbers” for a year.
As She was surrounded by barbers it was natural that Sophie should want to have her own pair of scissors from an early age. When she was very young her Dad taught her how to hold them correctly, how to look after your hands and wrists and how to shave a balloon without popping it. She used to hang around the barber shop after school and sweep up for them on a Saturday so that she could watch and learn. Finally the time came when she could reach and actually start cutting the hair of friends and family, she had to stand on a copy of the Yellow Pages and a phone book stacked up as a step but could reach – just. She loved it from from the first moment and has never looked back.
When she left school her career followed a similar path to that of her father and worked with him for a couple of years learning as much as she could. learning a lot from an incredible barber called Nicola Harris before getting her NVQ, travelling to Manchester for courses with American Crew and then packed a bag and headed to London. There she worked at “Leonard & Michael” on Poppin’s court just off Fleet Street and learned a huge amount about not just about hair but also and life and the world. Returning back to her roots she managed a shop in the town of Stone for a couple of years before heading back to the family business armed with plenty of experience.
At the age of 26 she was diagnosed with Autism after many years of mental health struggles, this actually proved to be the game changer and was the ultimate catalyst for the creation of “Il Capo Barbiere” two years later. Realising you need space to work in which was different to everything she had been used to; somewhere quieter and not quite as bright but which was homely and comfy. The doors opened a few days before Christmas 2017, quickly walk in’s became challenging to manage so she took a leap and brought in an appointment system a couple of days a week. This was unusual for the area and a bit daunting but it proved to be a success and people really took to it so Sophie became appointments only.
When you walk in the shop the family history is all over the walls with old photos of The Boss cutting hair in his shops with Joe and in the fields in the war. It is still a calm and welcoming environment.