Advice on becoming a successful barber and running your own barbershop.
With Andrea Raymond
This International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the achievements of our very own Wahl British Barber of the Year 2016 winner and now Wahl Education & Artistic Team Member, Andrea Raymond.
After studying hairdressing at the age of 18, Andrea realised her passion for men’s hair whilst attending a basic barbering course. Three years of hard work later, she entered the Wahl British Barber of the Year in 2016 and was crowned the winner. A big moment for Andrea and Wahl, as the first female winner of the competition. From her competition success, Andrea’s barbering career took off in a new direction when she received a contract to be a part of the Wahl Education & Artistic Team. Just ten months on from winning the competition, Andrea and now business partner, Leanne Edwards, opened their first shop, which is no mean feat at the young ages of 22 and 23. The Asylum Barbershop is in Andrea’s hometown County Cork in the south of Ireland. Despite her many achievements so far, Andrea continues to set herself new goals to progress her barbering career.
BECOMING A BARBER
I originally wanted to specialise in women’s hair, so after school I began a course in Hairdressing. After almost two years I felt something was missing. I loved the cutting aspect of hairdressing, creating shapes etc. So, I started a night course in Cork City and from there I knew barbering was for me!
My advice to any aspiring barbers would be to do as many courses as you can during your training and take every opportunity to sit in a barbershop or watch a qualified barber. There are so many different style of barbers out there, it’s really important to educate yourself in all aspects of barbering.
THE BARBERING INDUSTRY
I love that the industry has so many different aspects to it! There’s always something to learn and always someone to motivate you, because easy to get stuck in a rut in our industry. There’s so much to learn no matter what age or experience you have.
I don’t think the industry is as male dominated as it was ten years ago! Yes, there are more males but there are plenty of females in barbering too, and really talented ones at that! I’m noticing more and more females getting into barbering and it’s great to have the diversity in the industry.
My career highlights would of course be winning Barber of the Year in 2016! But also being on stage at Salon International with the Wahl team. Both are really rewarding and have given me a great boost of confidence!
Things changed a lot after winning Barber of the Year. Being offered a contract with the Wahl Artistic team was amazing and nearly 4 years later it’s still getting better and better! 10 months after winning I also opened my own shop alongside my business partner Leanne Edwards. Something I never thought I would be good enough to do!
Right now, I’m taking in all the knowledge and experience I can from my work with Wahl and using it to improve my cutting skills, stage skills and my day to day work in my shop. In the future I wish to be still educating all over the world with Wahl and continue to push myself to be a better barber.
BEING A SUCCESSFUL BARBERSHOP OWNER AND BUSINESSWOMAN
Opening our own barbershop felt surreal! We were open a few months and we were both still waiting for “the boss” to walk in the door. But that was us! You learn a lot when you open, some good, some bad. But we count ourselves lucky that we took the opportunity and it’s been successful. Leanne and I work well together because we’ve both found our strengths. There’s certain jobs that Leanne always takes control of and certain jobs I take control of. We are different, but we use that to our advantage.
It’s not always easy! There’s a lot of things that can make you feel like giving up when it comes to running a business. You need to remember why you started it and bring yourself back to cutting and enjoying your passion!
My top tips for opening your own barbershop would be stay focused on the end goal. It might take months or years to get where you want your business to go but you need to stick with it until you see the results. It doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t get caught up in making your business work just for money alone. Yes, it’s a huge factor but by letting your cutting skills and passion suffer will have a knock on effect on your business. Love what you do and financial side will come.
Follow Andrea: @andrea_lynne_hair
If your looking to start your barbering career, check out our Wahl Academy