Spring is so much more than just flowers blooming and house cleaning, it’s about fresh starts, new beginnings, an overdue farewell to frosty mornings and dark depressing afternoons. But how to prepare for this new season of joyfulness as we step squinting into the spring sunshine? Well first things first – you need a fresh cut. Because nothing says clean and shaven more than, well, getting clean and shaven. So if you’re in the market for a bit of a Spring trim then let us introduce you to the island’s barber quartet…
Having opened in Feb 2021, The Industry is one of the newest salons to the island’s barber scene. But don’t let the fresh paint fool you, the ethos and skills at The Industry are well-honed and rooted in the progressive movement of barbering. Owner Jack tells us how he went from learning about the industry to owning a barbershop named after it.
So, what made you want to become a barber?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a barber until I was 18. I left school at 16 and was working in a gym as an instructor and had some other odd jobs on the side like labouring. It wasn’t something I wanted to be doing long-term and I really felt that I should be doing something more creative. I was always into tattoos, watching Miami Ink and LA Ink on TV. A good mate of mine, Matty, is a tattoo artist over here and I used to go to conventions in the UK with him and loved the culture of it all, so I thought – maybe tattooing? But I didn’t dedicate enough time and effort to drawing at home so gave it up before I had even really started! From then on though, I knew I had to get into something creative. Kyle at KSG was a real inspiration and I began my barber career at their salon. Suddenly I was mad about hair, getting trims every couple of weeks. Barbering can be really creative which I love. I saved up enough to quit the gym and moved to London for 3 months to complete my course. I haven’t looked back.
Any advice on what topics to bring up in the barber chair?
I’ve been barbering for 6 years now and some of my clients have been with me since the start. So you do get some stories and become more friends than clients with a lot of people. It’s like they just sit in the chair and can chat openly about most things. It’s great that the shop can be somewhere people can switch off and have a good time for half an hour or so, and talk about anything. We have probably covered most topics in the world in that short space of time.
Who’s been your most interesting client?
I haven’t had too many celebrities in the chair but have had the loyalty of my good mate and content creator Kristen Hanby in the chair from the start near enough and we have a laugh every single week. Having grown up in Gorey Village together with a group of us it’s nice to keep that going and chat about the days we used to mess around to now taking different routes.
Any career tips to the would-be barbers?
I started looking at the history of barbering on YouTube and following big names on social media to see more about the trade and lifestyle. There are many ways of training and qualifying, but I’d say the best way into the trade is doing an intensive course in the UK with one of the many prestigious academy’s. Maybe start going to a few different barbers to get advice during a haircut and pick the brains of ones you are drawn to. The courses are usually 9-12 weeks long, but even when you get that qualification it takes months if not years to get a solid client base and your skill crafted properly.
6 Waterloo Street, St. Helier,
Lads n Dads
Jersey’s newest barbers, Lads n Dads was started by Ali in August 2021. But after a flood shut down the business for four weeks shortly after opening, it’s safe to say the first few months have been far from smooth sailing. The business is now back on track and it’s been a great success with a loyal and varied customer base. We caught up with Ali to hear her story.
As a woman, what obstacles have you had to face in what must be a pretty male dominated industry?
I struggled with confidence when I first started. After school, I applied for an apprenticeship in women’s hairdressing and trained to be a color technician. It didn’t feel like the right environment for me and it was my sister who suggested barbering. I went to Dublin to do my City and Guilds and was surprised how much I enjoyed the challenge of being one of the only girls in the room. As I gained experience I became much more able to control those feelings of reduced confidence I had at the start.
What made you want to start your own business?
Covid was a turning point in my career. When we could begin working again, the amount of messages and calls I got from clients made me realise just how big my clientele was, and so the idea of Lads n Dads was planted. It’s been the single best decision I’ve made so far.
Best bits of your job?
I love meeting new people, there are always new clients coming through the door and I love catching up with my regulars who have become good friends over the years. My job helps me to make good connections with people, I don’t just cut their hair, I’m a part of events in their lives such as, new jobs, weddings, the arrival of new babies, funerals, break ups etc. It’s quite a unique job being a barber.
And the worst?
It can be mentally and physically exhausting especially after a busy day. Being client facing can be tough when you have something personal going on in your own life, you’ve got to put your mask on and smile as the client always comes first.
Who is the most famous client you’ve ever had?
The English and Irish Lions Rugby team when they visited Jersey. They were absolute gentlemen.
What is the best story you’ve ever been told by a client whilst barbering?
A barber chair is considered a confession box, so unfortunately the stories told in the chair stay with the barber!
Corner of Weighbridge place & Wharf St, St Helier
Emma has 25 years in the barbering industry and decided to open Rudy’s with her partner back in 2015. She brought about a different, cooler barber shop vibe to the island offering well-priced trims with a free beer or coffee. She tells us about her career and what it was like being a female barber in the 90s.
I got into barbering in 1998 after 10 years as a stylist in a high end UK salon, long before it was a hip career choice! I was offered a job with some Italian barbers and I was excited about proving I was good enough in what was a really-male dominated industry. Back in the 90’s not many ladies had barber shops or were recognised by male barbers. Most barbershops were run by multiple generations of men from one family. I had to prove my worth to these guys by mastering my skills. Thankfully I was fully accepted in the end!
What made you want to start your own business?
When I moved to Jersey in 2011 I saw that only a certain type of barbershop existed on the island. Shaving for example wasn’t being offered. So we added hot towel shaves to our services, along with beard trims, haircuts and face care. We encouraged pre-wedding party bookings where the groom and his family and friends could get pampered and a local cafe provided the breakfast. Cold beers were stacked in our Smeg vintage fridge – and it was a real success. There were 12 much more traditional style barber shops operating in Jersey when we opened but Rudy’s really was something new.
Where did the name come from?
The Specials have this great song, A Message to you Rudy! I love it, and my nephew is called Rudy so we thought it was a cool choice.
Any celebrity clients?
We get past governors of Jersey, CM ministers, visiting actors, screen writers. Olympians, DJ’s, musicians, reality TV personalities, Jersey Reds and Jersey Bulls . We keep all the names secret. You know who you all are and we love every client, whether they are famous or not !
What is Rudy’s unique selling point?
Its unusual quirky decor gets people talking – the shop has a definite Bristol/ West Country vibe due to my Somerset roots. Free drinks are always on offer, and sometimes the odd beer!
What’s the best story you’ve been told by a client?
Well this wasn’t told by a client but Pat, our senior barber had a very unpleasant experience with a polar bear. He lived to tell the tale, but you’ll have to ask him for the full story when you come in for a cut or shave.
Any advice for interesting topics of discussion when getting a haircut?
We talk about all sorts, it’s never just the weather or upcoming holidays. We talk about everything and anything, generally music festivals are a great topic as I go to Glastonbury every year.
Any dos/ don’t before coming in for an appointment?
Arrive on time, not too early and definitely not late! And if you book an appointment and can’t make it let us know so we can re-fill the space. As well as running Rudy’s, I also look after Trevor’s barbershop at Red Houses with a team of friends and creatives. We have big plans so watch this space!
7 Hope Street, St. Helier
KSG Barber Shop
Opened in February 2016 by Kyle Gibault, KSG Barbershop is a seriously cool salon with stacks of credibility. Since opening, the shop has gone from strength to strength, building a very loyal clientbase full of vibrant islanders. We caught up with Kyle to hear all about the journey.
How did you get into barbering?
I got into barbering around 10 years ago. I had been living in London and working in television at the ITV London Studios, but found I was lacking direction. I always knew that I wanted to return to Jersey but needed something exciting and practical to do as I never wanted an office job. My mother has been a hairdresser for 50 years so I’ve been brought up around the industry and I decided to re-train as a barber and come back and open a business.
What made you want to start your own business?
I come from a family who have always run their own businesses. My father was co-owner of Tramps clothing, my mother still owns Teryles hair salon, my sister owned Naughty Monkeys for many years before going on to co-own her own recruitment agency Recruit Right. It was like I was destined to own my own business, it’s a family tradition.
What are the best bits of your job?
The people. You have to like people to do this job. The creative element and pride in the job also rank pretty high, nobody’s hair is the same so every haircut is unique to that person. It feels good to make other people feel good.
And the worst?
Standing up all day!
Any celebrity clientele?
I gave Nigel Mansell a haircut last year and also tidied up his famous moustache.
What is KSG’s USP?
A cool, comfortable atmosphere where everyone is welcome. Alfie, Arron and I see all our customers as friends. We take our time with the haircuts and listen to what the customers ask for. It’s a pretty simple recipe.
What do you like chatting about with your clients?
I could talk the hind legs off a donkey so I never have any problem with the chat. I like talking about real life and what’s going on in my clients’ lives. You’d be amazed at how relaxed people become with their barbers. The good times and the bad your barber should always be there to listen. What’s said in the chair stays in the chair.
Any advice for the next generation of barbers?
For future kids I think it’s important they are getting into barbering for the right reasons. It’s got a ‘cool’ aesthetic these days which can influence people into wanting to train – but it’s important to remember that the success of individuals and shops is built on hard work, passion and customer service. Mastering the trade takes years but it can be a fantastic, scary, fun-filled experience for the right person. I personally think it’s one of the best careers you can choose and I would recommend it to all young individuals. It’s a life skill that can take you anywhere in the world.
KSG 6 Bath Street, St Helier