Lockdown inspired remote teaching at Barber Envy
The first video call came in around a month in to lockdown. I was actually in the kitchen washing up, saw who it was and thought it must of been a mistake that it was a FaceTime call. It was a regular customer of mine sat in a garden chair with half of his head shaved, his girlfriend holding the phone in one hand the clippers in the other.
This was the beginning of a series of impromptu FaceTime home haircut tutorials.
I saw a bunch of barbers over the space of the summer lockdown, activity discourage their customers from cutting their own hair. Urging them to wait for our return on July 4th. But to be honest I thought it was cool, the fact that I was getting the chance to test my tuition to a complete beginner, while they were getting the chance to see how important the barber really is! The thing that struck me the most, was how much it brought them together. In the beginning of every call the client and barber were visibly fraught with anxiety, I guess him not knowing the outcome and her not sure whether she could accomplish the task at hand. But towards the end of every call of which there were a few they would both be laughing, joking and enjoying the kind of weird scenario we were in. Interestingly every single person I’d spoken to had chosen their girlfriend to be the stand in barber. Even those that live with multiple people it was always their partner, I think that has to be a testament to the trust they have for each other.
I’d say from a technical point of view the hardest things to pass on over FaceTime are the importance of the c motion at the top of a stroke (while removing bulk with clippers) and the whole shape up! Getting someone who has zero experience to attempt to use the corner of a clipper as a pencil around the ears had me pulling all sorts of faces watching the results! Some people were actually not that bad… others well at least they tried aye!
On the other end of the phone in my own house I had to get my partner to cut my hair. To be fair she has prior experience because she’s a hairdresser by trade I wasn’t nervous at all but I could tell she was. Armed with every Andis and iCandy tool known to man I talked her through a basic #1 blended into my existing top and wasn’t bad at all! She ended up cutting it weekly and progressed to an actual skinfade complete with foil shavers and straight razor. She said the hardest part for her was the blending, and I’ll admit I saw a bead of sweat or two on her forehead while she was trying to get from skin to one but she genuinely did a really decent job.
For me having her cut my hair was strangely therapeutic, most times were when our children were in bed and we actually had the chance to have some quality conversation with interruptions. (If you have or had toddlers you know what I mean) and one subject we kept coming around to was the idea of one day having a business of my own. We discussed everything during those haircuts down to the colour scheme, locations music and so on. It was the kind of reoccurring conversation like the ones you have with friends about what you’d actually do if you ever won the lottery.
Over that summer where we weren’t allowed to leave the house except to go for a walk or grocery shopping, “The spot by The Barber Envy” was born well at least in our heads. Even going back to work it was something I couldn’t stop thinking about, and eventually after a few more discussions it started to slowly become a reality. After years of being a part of other peoples business and learning what I should would and could do when and if I ever had my own space. It was finally upon me! I found a location at the old silk mill in tring, Hertfordshire. It’s the perfect spot for “The spot” the studio is an upstairs appointment only creative space where I can operate as an everyday barber, but also do the things I love like create edits with models to in house shoots and story boards.
I’ve truly created a place that even after months of it being an old office transformed into a hair studio, is home in my heart for what drives me as a barber and creative. I’m incredibly grateful for my partner trusting my vision when I said I wanted to do this and to everyone that has followed me as a client throughout my career. I can’t wait to make the spot come to life, as I embrace the next part of my career.
Watch Barber Envy sharing the launch of their new barbering crib on their facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=381265606449199
Check out Barber Envy in their social spaces:
Written by: Jim Williams – Barber Envy