Here goes! Let me introduce myself – my name is Mike Taylor and I have now been a barber for over 27 years.
As similar aged barbers to me may know, barbering apprenticeships were a rare thing to find back in the early 90’s – for one there weren’t as many barbershops as there are now and barbering was still trying to find it’s feet after the birth of the unisex hairdressers but also there was no such thing as a barbering qualification until the early 2000’s. So I did my hairdressing apprenticeship in a unisex hair salon where luckily 60% of their clientele was men, knowing that as soon as I was qualified I would look for work in a barbershop,
It wasn’t cool to be a barber back then and many people wondered why I wanted to do it - but I loved it. I used to love going to the barbershop and cut my friends hair at school. Having the ability to make someone look and feel better is a great thing to be able to do.
Having opened my first barbershop at the age of 20 I really worked hard to make it a success. I even gave up my rented house to crash on a mates sofa and sold my car so that I could afford to take the plunge and there’s not a day I look back and regret it. I now own 8 barbershops across Hampshire and Dorset and my own training academy in Poole, Dorset.
It was having my own shop which took me down the route of teaching. I used to struggle to find decent staff so I decided to teach at my local FE College. They wanted to start teaching the Barbering Qualifications when they had recently been launched and wanted a barber to help train the students. I have a big passion for teaching and am impelled to raise the standard of training in the UK.
Last year I launched Mike Taylor Education and now teach Barbering NVQ’s, apprenticeship training and other technical short courses both at my academy in Poole and at salons, barbershops and colleges across the UK and further afield. To me there is no better feeling than when I have taught someone from never having held a pair of scissors before to getting their first job in a barbershop. I have also just helped launch The Great British Barbering Academy, with this we aim to be able to provide barbering education all over the world with our team of top class educators.
Now, you have probably heard of an organisation called the British Barbers’ Association (BBA)?! The BBA was launched in 2009 by myself, Hannah Grigg and Graham Satchwell with one aim – to create a voice for British barbers. At this point it seemed that other trades – including hairdressing, had associations and federations that supported the workers but no one was looking after barbers. Now there are many different groups that all hope to better the industry in some way and although I no longer work with the BBA I still believe that these industry groups are a great thing and should be embraced by us barbers – not feared. Barbering and hairdressing is the most employed sector in the UK but unbelievably we’re not regulated and I personally think it speaks volumes if a barber makes a choice to join these groups voluntarily.
Here’s a very brief overview of each of the main organisations:
British Barbers Association – As I said I founded the BBA seven years ago because I felt nobody was looking after barbers and I wanted to give them a voice. I felt that, at the time, we were considered a poor relation of hairdressers, both by the public and the trade. That’s why I felt passionate about forming an association where barbers could have their work recognised.
Men’s Hair Federation – The MHFed have a team of young barbers called The Young Feds, recognising young talent coming into the trade. They are fast becoming a sort of fellowship of barbers. These guys are usually on the big stages at trade shows.
British Master Barbers – They aim to recognise outstanding talent and use social media very well to showcase a lot of barbers’ work. Also have fantastic competitions to showcase barbers talents.
National Hairdressing Federation – They were formed many years ago by barbers. They do a lot of good work in helping with contracts and employment laws. They seem very big on looking after barbers once again. Great for employment law, staff contracts, NHF are very professional and there is not much they do not know about running a barbershop.
The Hairdressing Council – This is the only government backed authority. It campaigns for barbers and hairdressers to be licensed. You can now opt to be a state registered barber and it has a Barber Council sub-committee.
As I have said above, I truly believe that these organisations are here for the good of the industry.
With this trade we never stop learning and when you think you know it all in the trade that is the time to give up.