Barber Success Story – Axel Nylund
Axel was initially going to study French or economics after he finished High School in Finland, but soon clocked on that he wanted to get into a career that was more practical. Axel who was a novice barber at the start and found the first weeks of the course quite challenging has proved that success can come with hard work and determination. He is now running his own barbershop called The Left Handed Barber in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. He had a strict vision for the opening of his barbershop which was – no negative vibes, only laughter, good conversations and great haircuts! What a wicked vision to have, right?
Axel spent a lot of time online researching, looking at barber courses. He was drawn to London School of Barbering as a result of our positive student reviews and our barbershop run academy. He took our NVQ 2 Diploma 9-week beginner course and he tells us that if he could have anyone in his barber chair it would have to be David Beckham. He is a big Man-U fan and idolized him growing up, but most importantly loves how David always tries the new trends in hairstyles and Axel himself likes trying new things and pushing his boundaries in hair.
Read more about his success story below in his interview………
LSB: What is your name and Instagram tag if you have one?
AN: My name is Axel Nylund . My Instagram tag is @thelefthandedbarber.
LSB: What did you do before barbering?
AN: I had just finished up in High School the summer before I arrived at LSB. During that summer I spent my time in the army, as required by Finnish law. My intentions were to study either history or economics, but I grew tired of reading, so I decided to try something more practical.
LSB: When did you realise barbering was the profession for you?
AN: It wasn’t a sudden thing to be completely honest. I found learning barbering in the first couple of weeks quite challenging. Soon afterwards, I realised that it only felt like that because the NVQ 2 course is intensive, especially the first few weeks as you are a complete novice barber. However, if I could pick a moment when I realised that barbering was the profession for me; it must have been when I cut my first real client. The feeling when you complete a haircut without any outside help and to see the smiling customer checking himself out in the mirror – that was the real game changer moment for me.
LSB: How did you feel about making the transition into barbering, and why did you choose LSB to learn the trade?
AN: I was scared in the beginning, everything felt so hard. The educators at LSB were really demanding, but helpful. Plus since I hadn’t worked with my hands to this extent before, I felt like a complete failure. But as with anything, I got better with practice. After a while, when I got control over my tools the transition was quite easy. I chose LSB after researching for a long time on the internet. The deciding factors for me in choosing to do the course were the student reviews on the LSB website and my desire to experience a new culture and to further develop my English skills. Another important thing was the fact that LSB is run like a barbershop, you actually cut real hair on real clients, which gives you immediate and very important feedback.
LSB: What course did you take at London School of Barbering, and what were the highlights for you?
AN: I took the NVQ 2 Diploma 9-week course. My highlights were my first haircut, the fantastic barbershop environment that LSB provides, and the moment that I got my Diploma. The last highlight is the one that sticks out, as it was the first time I got to call myself a barber. It might seem like a small thing but ask any barber and he/she will tell you that it is a big moment for a barber.
LSB: Tell us about your journey since you have finished with LSB?
AN: I moved back home to Finland and started the job hunt. After a few months of searching, I didn’t end up finding a workplace that I felt comfortable working at, mostly because of the atmosphere that I got to experience in London wasn’t quite there in Finland. That was the moment that I decided to open up my own shop, a place I could make everything feel the way I wanted it to be. No negative vibes, only laughter, good conversations and great haircuts.
I started small in my hometown of Porvoo, situated about 45 minutes east from the Finnish capital of Helsinki. I stayed there for about a year with minimal success. In May this year, I took the big decision to move my shop to Helsinki. I got off to a flying start and it hasn’t stopped with customers coming into my shop every day, so it is going well. The goal would be to hire a few barbers in the future, but I’m in no hurry as I’ve only just started out.
LSB: What has been your proudest moment so far as a barber?
AN: When I opened my shop in Helsinki. It was a big step and quite risky, but I felt so proud when I stood in my shop on opening day.
LSB: If you could have anyone in your barber’s chair, who would it be and why?
AN: With the risk of sounding cheesy, David Beckham. Firstly as a huge Manchester United fan, I grew up idolizing him and secondly because he always tries the new trends in hairstyles, which would suit me well as I like trying new things and pushing my boundaries.
LSB: Have you had anyone in your barber’s chair already that has had an interesting story to tell you?
AN: Nothing that really stands out, but every client is interesting in my mind. They all have a story to tell.
LSB: Do you take inspiration from anything when cutting hair, such as music, fashion, film or art?
AN: My main source of inspiration right now is Instagram, I’m always on the hunt for a barber that does things differently to me. You can learn a whole lot just via pictures and short videos. My other inspiration is music, not a specific genre but all types of music. It puts my mind at ease and makes me focus easier while cutting hair.
LSB: What would you say to anyone considering a career in barbering and studying at LSB?
AN: I’d say go for it. Do what I did, be spontaneous, try something new, get out of your comfort zone. You’ll most likely end up loving it, and if not you’ve gained an experience and you’ll have a funny story to tell when you’re old.