ABOUT SCHOREM HAARSNIJDER EN BARBIER
Schorem haarsnijder en barbier is one of the famous barbershops in Rotterdam. The barbershop is synonymous to quality where men can get the famous “schorem” haircuts or a traditional wet shave. It is all about taking time for the clients and having a sharp eye for detail. Women are not allowed in and no appointments are made. In this interview Bertus , one of the founders, shares his thoughts on barbering with us.
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Can you tell us about you and about the history of this barbershop?
Hi, my name is Bertus and I’m one of the founders of Schorem Haarsnijder en Barbier, I’ve been, like Leen my businesspartner, cutting hair for more than 22 years now and I’ll try to tell you a little bit about our shop.
We started Schorem Haarsnijder en Barbier in february 2011, we really wanted to open a shop for men only as an answer to all the unisexshops where men are forced to sit next to women with thousands of foils in their hair, getting a haircut by some sixteen year old girl fresh out of beautyschool with no experience whatsoever with men’s hair. You have to understand that in the Netherlands the whole barbershopscene died after the war. The Stones and the Beatles had a huge influence on fashion and they forced the young men to go to the “hairdresser” because the barbers had no idea how to do such haircuts. We started the shop with the two of us but we had to hire within a month due to the huge succes. Now we’re working with a group of eight, six barbers and two apprentices. We’re literally using every square inch of the shop because it’s so crowded. We’ve been collecting antiques for years now and tried to give the whole shop an authentic 1920/30’s feel and it’s really working for us, we know and love every tile, nail, bakelite power socket because we put so much effort in finding it.
What does the barbering profession mean to you?
Well, we can be short about that one… Wahl clippers big, Wahl clippers small, shears, thinning shears, small comb, big comb and a Feather straight razor. If we got those we can do everything, but the way to perfection lies in the details so we got shit and shit loads of combs, flattoppers, straight razors, barbacide cans, towel heaters, lather machines and so on and so on. I think every barber has a little hoarder inside, we just love to collect as many tools of the trade as possible, from all eras, we can be happy as a baby with a pack of old razor blades.
Well, it’s never about being the best, it’s about giving your best. We seriously think that men’s hair has become sort of a quick money maker in most salons, we try to give every patron the best haircut possible, which means we’ll put in all the knowledge of the trade we gained in the last 20 years, we’re really proud that people start to recognise “Schorem” haircuts on the streets and even ask for them at other shops. We try to give that “Schorem” touch to every haircut doing perfect tapers and outlines. We’ll use all the techniques mixing modern and classic barbering, clippers over comb as well as scissors over comb or even straightrazor cuts. We try to follow the natural fall and implant of the hair so that pomade is merely a tool instead of a neccesaty.
Well, since we do this work all day, every day, we think we usually know what’s best for our patrons plus we’re thankful to have a really good reputation. people know what we do here at Schorem and they know they’re going to get the best haircut possible because the word is out on the street. We’re a barbershop though, so we do traditional cuts only or as we like to say “If it’s not on the posters you’re probably in the wrong place” which means we’ll do every haircut as long as it a “men’s” haircut, ears free, no mullets, no color, no bobs or bowlcuts. For that you’ll find a beauty salon on every street corner of Rotterdam. The cuts we do now we’ll be doing for the next 500 years (well, we certainly hope our offspring will )
What makes you different from an ordinary hairdresser?
One of the big differences between a barbershop and a hairdressing salon are the old haircut charts on the wall with a number of haircuts you can ask your barber to cut instead of 30 books on the salontable, filled with ‘’pretty’’ boys with the latest “do’’ in hairdressland. Barbers put their charts on the wall when they open their shop and leave them there till they die, why? Because a proper haircut has got nothing to with fashion but will never go out of style. The only poster we could find was one from the 1940/50’s which was great, but just didn’t have all the cuts we like to do in our shop so we asked some of our regular patrons for a moment of their time and asked Jelle Mollema, Schorem photographer extraordinaire, to take shots of their haircuts.
We never take appointments, not even if you are the emperor of China, we think one of the main reasons guys go to a barbershop is to escape from their every day routine and chat with their peers. We offer a womanfree zone in Rotterdam so they don’t have to worry about ‘losing their cool’ All chaps are there for the same reason, a cut, a shave and a moment to relax with a beer, a playboy and some raunchy jokes, appointments are for women and femine boys, we think in this times of crisis people should take their time one in a while to enjoy the small simple things in life.
What can a client expect when visiting your barbershop?
Chaps will walk in, be greeted and told the average waiting time by one of the apprentices, they’ll be offered a seat and a beer or cup of coffee, there’ll be magazines lying around from Playboys, fishing mags, tattoo to the daily newspaper or a GQ. The barber that’s finished first will yell NEXT!! and you may be seated for your cut or shave which will take between thirty minutes and a hour and a half. All of our barbers are trained to do the best job possible and will take the time necessary to do so.
Besides haircuts we’re offering two kinds of hot towel shaves, both with an “original” straight razor, but it has to belong to the client (he can store it in one of the drawers of our mirror case, which it was originally meant for, it was made for a barbershop in 1890 and it’s still in perfect shape) Or the “normal” hot towel shave which we do with the replaceable blades (or shavettes as some will call them) -we use feather blades for all normal shaves. We use both hot and cold towels, the hot ones being prepared in hot water with a few drops of lavender to make the patron relax and the cold ones with a few drops of mint to waken them up again (we try to make the whole treatment one to remember). We usually start with a hot towel, than massage some pre-shave into the beard, we will go over that with hot lather, applied by with badger brush, badger in the right hand, left one on the back to keep dry. Another hot towel, apply more hot lather, talc the hands and start the shave, after the first shave (14 steps), we relather the face with the badger (we have a latherizer as well, that’s easy to use for the last bits) and go over a second time SLIGHTLY against the grain. we really don’t go for the BBS but try to come as close as possible without causing any trauma to the skin. another hot towel and final check before applying an after shave balm that we massage into the skin with different hand motions. Then we put on the cold towel, closing the pours and make the beard retreat into the skin, and of course cleaning the face, apply a little after shave and then finish with talcum powder. After the shave every patron gets a quick shoulder and neck treatment with the massager (Oster) and a splash of aftershave in the neck (we keep the tonics and aftershaves in the freezer for that extra tingling feel.
The big mirror case is an absolute eye catcher, an original French art deco piece from 1890. We found it in an antique store in Belgium and fell in love right away, all hand crafted drawers, marble plates and a 100 year old mirror in perfect condition. It’s nice to see that hand crafted furniture and chairs meet with the craft we’re doing ourselves. We love our Koch and Koken chairs as well, one from 1880n and one from 1910. We’ve got a very rare hot lather machine and the floor we bought is more than a 150 years old, too much to mention actually, but we get that warm feeling every day when we enter the shop seeing all the stuff we collected throughout the years.
How do you think about the future of barbering in the Netherlands?
We feel we’re making a change in the Netherlands at the moment, you have to understand that in Holland, there’s no “barber school” anymore, I was one of the last students that were able to choose between being a “gents” hairdresser, a “dames” hairdresser or “unisex” hairdresser. Now, there’s only unisex or all-round left in the schools, which means you have to learn both, including doing colors and perms. You see, barbering is a dying craft here, there are actually only a few left. For us, this is the biggest problem in the shop, to find guys that’ll fit in, and more important, guys that understand that being a barber has got nothing to do with being a stylist. The first apprentice we took was an old skateboarding friend of mine who was working as a garbage man. He just loved hanging around the shop so we offered him a spot, and now, a year and a half of training really hard later, he’s working as a full-time barber. Because of all the photos we post on the internet, we think we’re making it look more attractive to become a barber, and now we get a lot of guys asking for apprenticeships. we expect no level of training at all, we do expect passion and love for the craft, and we expect hard work. Everyone (well, every guy that is) can come work for us when we have the space, we really don’t care about age or former profession, being tattoeed, whether you did time in jail, we really don’t give a F#@k. The only thing that matters is that you really, really want to learn how to cut and shave gentlemens’ style. They don’t have to pay for their education, we do ask them to work in the shop for two days in exchange for their training as a barber, but we see those two days as training as well, so as a part of their education.READ OTHER INTERVIEWS SHOP THE PRODUCTS