Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Gerson Hernandez

It was pretty awesome having professional barber Gerson Hernandez travel over from the U.S to join us on competition day on Friday 9th February. Gerson works at Locals Barbershop in San Francisco and he has been following us on Instagram for the past two years, so he is a big fan. He was delighted of the opportunity to be a guest judge and experience London School of Barbering in person, while giving expert tips and valuable industry advice to our new aspiring barbers who have completed their NVQ 2 Diploma courses.

Our students were in high spirits as they had the opportunity to showcase their technical and creative skills in cutting a top quality men’s haircut under an hour. Gerson had a lot of respect for our educators, in terms of how our barbering courses are run, along with our barbershop run academy. It was interesting to hear about the differences between barbering in the U.S and the U.K and our students were engaged when Gerson spoke a little bit about his barber career. Gerson was clearly well impressed with the quality of cuts on the day with visible high standards, especially when these first rate cuts were all done under an hour. It was great getting Gerson’s opinion on the differences between barbering in the U.K and the U.S, our educators and courses at London School of Barbering and the impact he has made in the industry, among other things. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
GH: My name is Gerson and I work at Locals Barber Shop in San Francisco.

LSB: What is the purpose of your visit to London?
GH: I’ve been following London School of barbering on Instagram for the last two years now. And I saw that they were holding a competition for their school and further students and they were doing an open invite to barbers I guess all around the world, or maybe not, and maybe I just reached out. It was an experience today and you know, I was just thankful that they welcomed me with open arms.

LSB: Do you see any differences between UK and USA barbering?
GH: I definitely think there’s a difference between UK barbering and American barbering. Sheer work isn’t the best talent that American barbers have. Even though they are getting better at it every day. We are trying to get up to date just like the UK barbers out here with their sheer work. But, we’re definitely more based off our fading techniques. Coming out here and seeing how well, you know LSB has shown their students shear work and clipper work combined, you know sharp on both ends has been admirable.

LSB: Do you think LSB techniques would be popular in the USA?
GH: I definitely think if London School of Barbering opened up a barbering school in the US, it would be beneficial you know to those that want to go to a school, where they take both shear work and fading very serious.

LSB: What do you think about LSB courses being so intensive?
GH: I’ll be honest with you when it comes up to speed, I’m definitely not the guy that aims to do anything fast. But, from what I’ve seen here in the course that London School of barbering has 9 to 12 weeks. I think it’s impressive. And the only thing that’s going to happen they’re only going to get better. As soon as they go into a barber shop or they open up their own barber shop. It’s you know, trial and error, you know.

LSB: What do you think of the educators at LSB?
GH: Even though they’re really cool, they’re also about their teaching and they don’t mess around. And I was only here for the day, but I could just tell, you know just watching them and seeing how they handled an adult group of people in a room in school, in barbering school, just how they handled that, how they were able to communicate with them. How they’re able to, they would have sectioned off like when it’s okay to joke around and when it’s about, you know your project or the competition and knowing when to be serious and when not to be. And that I feel like that’s hard sometimes, but I think London School of Barbering definitely holds a lot of integrity in trying to educate and deliver the best for their students.

LSB: What is the secret to longevity in the industry?
GH: I think the secret to longevity in the barbering industry is really taking care of your clients. A good haircut or the best haircut isn’t going to keep me busy. I could give you the best haircut, but I mean I really care about how your day has been, or I don’t care about asking you further than just a consultation. Being able to create a personable relationship with your client. You’re going to have a full book, 3 weeks booked out guaranteed and I think that will keep a barber with longevity.

LSB: How do you feel you’ve made an impact in the industry?
GH: It’s hard for me to say in the barbering industry. But, I will say that there are barbers that I look up to, that have made an impact in mine. Meaning they’ve been able to be humble and grateful about their achievements. They’ve been humble and grateful about appreciating their co-workers, their clients and that in reality I feel makes an impact on the barbering industry.

LSB: What will you take from your experience today at LSB?
GH: Being able to just see different hairstyles. Barbers have different hair styles, barbers have different techniques and we saw a lot of that today in the presentations that were going on. People embracing each other and embracing their different styles. I thought that was pretty cool because in this industry, sometimes there’s a lot of hate or a lot of talk regarding like, ‘Oh that guy does like designs’,  ‘I don’t do designs because I’m an old-school barber’. You know we’re all meant to shine in our own different way. And I feel like you know we need to learn how to respect that more and just embrace it for what it is. And you know just we need to be happy doing what we do, and you know just admire others for doing what they do.

LSB: Describe your barbershop back in San Francisco?
GH: Well the barbershop environment where we are in San Francisco; Locals Barbershop – it’s literally, it’s pretty cool and I am being biased. (laughs) But it’s cool because we don’t try to make it a rush hour haircut. You know we try to literally give you the best we can within an hour. We don’t try to, you know half-ass it. You know we literally try to deliver the best that we can. That’s the beautiful thing about the barbershop, that it’s a literally a moment of freedom for gentlemen or anyone that walks into a barbershop, where they could just literally talk about whatever they want and get a haircut and come out just being happy about it and that’s pretty cool.

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