Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Gary Milne

Gary Milne is a super passionate barber working at Braids Barbers and is also a proud former LSB student, who began his barbering journey here at London’s renown training academy;  London School of Barbering. This guy lives and breathes barbering and his love for barbering is really infectious. Gary felt honoured to be our guest judge for our fade competition that took place on Friday 13th April. He was so chuffed at the opportunity to come back to London School of Barbering to be a guest judge, so much so that it felt like a tick off the bucket list for him!

Prior to becoming a barber, Gary was working at the NHS just to pay the bills and was focusing on producing music at night, as he had a degree in music. He was not feeling in any way inspired or motivated in doing either jobs. His path into barbering was actually influenced by his friend who was suggesting various jobs that he thought Gary would be good at, with barbering popping up in his list of suggestions. Gary is now happy in his barber career and no longer hates going to work, in fact on his days off, he finds it hard to stay away from his barbershop where he works… now that is job satisfaction, wouldn’t you say?

Gary could see how much the teaching has been elevated, since he enrolled in barbering courses at LSB, with the introduction of many more techniques on the course. He had a lot of respect for our students on their last day of their NVQ 2 Diploma beginner course. He could see the high standards in the way our students were executing the haircuts and the attention to detail was visibly on point. Gary was also impressed with the buckets of enthusiasm and energy our students had with their clients, which Gary knows is really important to be a successful barber. Gary gives a low down on what he was doing before barbering, how he discovered London School of Barbering, his progression after graduating from LSB, his current life as a barber and what he thought of the haircuts, among other things. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
GM: My name is Gary Milne and I work at Braid Barbers in Milton Keynes.

LSB: What were you doing before barbering?
GM: I had a degree in music which didn’t do much for me. I was working for the NHS just to pay the bills, which I despised. Found Barbering, went off learning it and here I am.

LSB: How did you discover barbering as a career?
GM: A friend suggested it to me because he had nothing to do with it, but he just thought I’d be good at it. So he was like you know you never shut up and I was like yeah, and I was like yeah I know. So He was like you can be a cab driver, but I don’t have a driving license. He suggested another one and I was like I can’t do that. He was like you could be a barber and I was like yeah I could be a barber, so he planted a little seed in my head.

LSB: How did you learn the trade?
GM: I started off on You Tube obsessively all day, every day and a friend of mine moved in to my house with me and he was a barber. So I apprenticed at his shop and learned nothing, but I’d looked up LSB and I was like you know that is sick. That was more of a barbershop than the barber shop I was apprenticed in, and I was just looking at it and I was like that’s what I want to do.

LSB: Describe your progression once you left LSB?
GM: I had an offer from a guy called Baldy who you might know, who works in Aylesbury. Thanks Baldy. He took me on Saturdays while I was still doing the course and then took me on full-time the day after I graduated. It was just a really now or never decision. My housemate at the time, had started working at this barber shop that had just moved from another location called braid barbers. So I went on and checked them out and went over there and had a little chat and decided to go work there. Since then, that shop has grown massively.

LSB: Describe your current life as  barber?
GM: I feel like I live at the shop I work in because I’m there more than any other place. Even when I’m going near it, I’m just like let’s go pop in quickly, three or four hours later, I’ve done a tonne of haircuts. And you know most of our regular customers, even if they don’t if I don’t cut their hair, I still know them quite well because the shops set up quite communally. You can kind of just chat to everyone. So it literally just feels like I hang out with my friends all day and I get paid quite good money to do it.

LSB: What did it feel like being a judge today at LSB?
GM: It kind of felt like a tick off the bucket list. When I was studying, I was like, I’m going to come back here one day, I’m going to be a judge. Thought it would take me longer than it did. It was weird because I went back to the same place where I was learning and it was like nothing changed and it kind of made me feel the same as I did when I first went there, so I kind of felt like, Oh yeah, this is good.

LSB: What did you think about the quality of the cuts you saw at LSB?
GM: Amazing! They’ve really elevated the teaching since I went, you know there’s loads more techniques. There’s loads of stuff that I sort of thought were like secrets that you know were passed on to me from other barbers and it was like, why didn’t they teach this at LSB and then I’ve came back and all the students just had all the techniques down. I was like woah!

LSB: Tell us about LSB’s approach to training in a functioning barbershop?
GM: It’s the only way to do it, if you teach someone any other way, then by the time they go to a barbershop, they’re not taught yet. They’re just going to be stuck in a barbershop to learn what they learn at LSB.

LSB: What do you think about the educators at LSB?
GM: Sick yeah, really cool. They don’t act like teachers, they act like barbers, which especially for someone who has not been in a barbershop environment working before, it is kind of their first exposure to it, they are acting like a barber would act, rather than taking themselves too seriously. You want it to be light-hearted and you know, friendly, rather than you know too cold and clinical. So, the fact that all the educators are just quite fun, very welcoming, very warm, that just makes all of the students act the same way.

If you are thinking of making a career switch into barbering or want to advance your current barbering skills to the next level, take a look at our barbering courses page to find the right course for your level and needs.

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