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MEET THE BARBER 9 – PALL MALL BARBERS

Pall Mall Barbers

PALL MALL BARBERS

Pall Mall Barbers

Pall mall barbers is one of the oldest and most respected barber shops in London. Based in Trafalgar square and Fitzrovia our stores offer men the sharpest haircuts, finest traditional wet shaves and shaving products in London. For more than 100 years, barbers at 27 Whitcomb street have been providing a traditional environment with a range of services and shaving gifts for the modern man. Our stylists are a diverse mix of local and international barbers. All are extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their trade. Between them they surpass 125 years experience in the art of male grooming. A mixture of oak panels, ceramic basins and open blades – the traditional element to pall mall barbers simply acknowledges our rich heritage; while our services reflect a business on the pulse of style and the forefront of innovation.

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contact details Pall Mall Barbers:
27 Whitcomb St
London WC2H 7EP
United Kingdom
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WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A BARBER? WHAT WAS THE DEFINING MOMENT THAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE THAT PATH?

I was in the armed forces and I was not enjoying the way my career was going, so I decided to leave. This then left me with a dilemma as I did not have any work. My Grand Father then gave me some advice that I pass on to young people all the time. “If you have a trade to your name you will always be able to find work!” My best friend Kevin Hubbard is a fantastic barber and after a good chat with them about the pros and cons of the industry I decided to give it a go. I took up an apprentice role at Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire where under the watchful eye of some great hairdressers (Sarah Golding, Sarah Barlow & Lisa White) I was guided from Aircraft mechanic to a hairdresser. This took me a while to grasp the trade but without doubt I would not have my skill sets I have today if it was not for those four people. After completing my time at Ragdale Hall I went on to work for eight years at Males in Melton Mowbray. It was here I really got to grips with my trade. I was very lucky as the same person that trained my friend Kevin ran the barber shop. Patrick Burt had been cutting men’s hair for years and was the ideal person for me to learn from. My time at Males came to an end when I decided to get married to my fiancé and move to Surrey. Patrick encouraged me to go to the best barber shops in London to look for work. This led me to Pall Mall Barbers. After working on the shop floor for 6 months, the owner Richard Marshall gave me a break I could only dream of when he made me the manager. Nearly three years on I am proud to have a 16 strong team at our stores around central London and am delighted to be the manager of one of the most recognised barber shops in the UK.

WHAT DOES THE PROFESSION OF BARBERING MEAN TO YOU? AND WHAT IS THE EXPERIENCE YOU WANT TO OFFER YOUR CLIENTS?

In a word everything! Despite how successful I have been and how good the barbering industry has been to me I will always make sure I cut hair at least 2 days a week on the shop floor. There is no better buzz than seeing your craft make people look and feel great. I really enjoy the writing I do for magazines such as, The good salon guide, and I also have a real passion for training barbers of all experiences. I think it is essential to always be learning. A barber can soon become stale.
The customer experience is my number 1 priority. I make the client feel at ease and always ensure a full in depth consultation before any service so that I have a full understanding of what the client would like and that my client feels at ease with everything that is going to happen.

HOW DID THE PROFESSION CHANGE OVER THE YEARS IN YOUR OPINION? AND HOW DO YOU SEE ITS FUTURE?

I think that it is a lot more acceptable for Gentlemen to go to a barber shop now. When I first started in the industry it was seen as the cheap option and that to get a good haircut you should go to a Salon and steer well clear of the red and white pole. As the standard has improved of barber shops over the years and the level of service improved, the trust in the barber shops has increased dramatically. I also believe that it is very fashionable to go along to a traditional barber shop like Pall Mall Barbers as people are genuinely interested in our history (established 1896). We also aim to stay a step ahead of the game and do training sessions every week despite every barber having 10 to 25 years’ experience. When you stop learning and developing its time to give up. I can only see barbering becoming more and more fashionable with social networking and the internet. It is great that barbers can share their craft with the world and fellow professionals.

WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO YOU ATTRACT TO YOUR BARBERSHOP? WHAT DO THEY LOOK FOR?

Being in the centre of London’s west end I see customers of all backgrounds come along every day. A great example of this is my column last week. First of all I shaved a member of the house of lords, this was followed by a restyle for a student, followed by a trim for a well-known sports presenter. We often get tourists come and visit Pall Mall Barbers as well as a healthy amount of regulars customers popping in every 3-4 weeks for a trim. All of the customers, old and new, are simply looking for “Traditional service in a modern manner” and this is our aim for every single customer. Expectations become high with exposure and we set the bar high when it comes to delivering quality haircuts and signature wet shaving.

IS THERE STILL A PLACE FOR SUCH AN ARTISAN PROFESSION IN A TIME WHERE EVERYONE IS CONCERNED ABOUT SPEED AND LOW COST?

We set our prices at an affordable level so that we are accessible to every budget. London is constantly moving and this is why we introduced an online booking system to work alongside our telephone booking system. Our clients love it as they can book from their mobile or office computer at any time.

WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING, STRANGE OR MOVING CLIENT YOU HAVE HAD SO FAR?

A young man came to Pall Mall Barbers to take pictures for his degree. On 16th January 2011 Joshua Amos Harris Edmonds was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in Vietnam. Josh was 3 months into his trip for which he had saved for over a year and which would have taken him across the whole of south east Asia. Josh was 22 when he died. Myself and my college Adrian went to the oXo gallery to view his work and it was really moving to see the young man’s work. I would encourage people to check out the book Barba.

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