Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Luka Chitty

It was extremely valuable having barber marvel Luka Chitty join us as an expert judge for our exciting fade competition day that took place here at London’s finest barbering academy; London School of Barbering on Friday 23rd March. Luka entered the world of hair at a very young age of fourteen years of age. He originally started working as a hairdresser and completed a two year apprenticeship. However, he started to realise that he produced better results when cutting men’s hair, so he decided to focus on barbering.

He actually took a different route in learning the barbering trade, he taught himself by watching videos and asking for advice and tips off his friends, who were working barbers. Back then when Luka was learning the trade, barbering was incomparable to how big it has become now – barbering courses were rare and not so readily available. Luka worked hard in mastering his craft and has worked hard to establish a rewarding barber career. He now runs his own super cool and edgy barbershop called Lukas Barbers where he has top class barbers smashing out the sharpest and finest cuts a man can get.

Luka was blown away by the combined level of professionalism, technical and creative ability that our students showcased in the battle of the one hour fade competition. He was amazed at the quality of the cuts produced by our new barber recruits and how prepared they are to start working in the industry, especially after only being novice barbers nine weeks ago, before they joined our 9 week Diploma NVQ 2 beginner course. Luka speaks about how he learnt the trade, his proudest moment so far as a barber, LSB’s approach to training in a functioning barbershop, the comparison between LSB and traditional barbering apprenticeships and the highs and lows of being a barber, among other topics. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
LC: My name is Luka Chitty and I’m the owner of Luka’s Barbers in Devon.

LSB: What were you doing before barbering?
LC: I started off as a hairdresser. I started when I was 14 years old. It started as a Saturday job, but I was always better at like doing men’s hair. So I sort of progressed out of more hairdressers sort of stuff and just focus more on my barbering skills really.

LSB: How did you learn the trade?
LC: I mean, obviously I had an apprenticeship in hairdressing; like 14-15 years ago. So, I sort of taught myself barbering really. I just watched stuff on YouTube and stuff like that. It was so long ago now. Barbering wasn’t really that popular. So I just kind of taught myself, went to friends that were sort of progressing in the barber scene and stuff like that. And just asked for advice and because I had the skills already,I just kind of adapted my tools basically to more clipper work and scissor work.

LSB: What has been your proudest moment so far as a barber?
LC: I think my proudest moment so far in my career is opening my shops. Just being able to really sort of express my creativity in creating my shops and then building a team, giving people a good life and a good opportunity basically. I try and support them through everything they want to do to progress in their career. So I think that’s a pretty good feeling.

LSB: What would you say to someone starting their career studying at LSB?
LC: I think if it’s something that you’ve looked into, I think with this career you have to be passionate about it. You can’t look at it as a big money maker because you can earn a lot of money doing something else. You have to be passionate with it and want to do it. So, you know LSB’s one of those places that you can look to push you in the right direction.

LSB: What did it feel like being a judge today at LSB?
LC: Yeah! It was fun. It was a great experience for me, obviously being asked to come here. It says something about what I’ve done in my career. I’m being wanted to come and represent and stuff like that. But yes, it’s great, it’s nice to see students that kind of know you and your work and being able to talk to them was awesome!

LSB: What did you think about the quality of the cuts you saw at LSB?
LC: Yeah, I mean in nine weeks, you know from the majority of them coming from not even holding a pair of clippers is just yeah – it’s amazing to see. You must be doing something right.

LSB: Tell us about LSB’s approach training in a functioning barbershop?
LC: Yeah, I think they’ve hit the nail on the head there. There’s no point in creating something completely false and then just going – here you go this is the real world of cutting hair and it’s completely different. They’re just getting them ready to be in a barber shop, you know and it’s just all part of that experience and it will make them better barbers and more confident.

LSB: How does LSB compare to a traditional barbering apprenticeship?
LC: With doing an apprenticeship, it’s long and your skint for like at least two years. You’ve got no money, you know and you’re washing hair and making cups of tea for the majority of it, apart from once a week where you’re actually training. So it’s long, you’ve got to be patient and that’s where the passion sort of came into it for me. I was like one day, I will be there. But, I mean with having the academy, it’s just ideal because you’re in there, it’s intense and you’re cutting hair straight away. You’re straight in there and you’re learning the trade.

LSB: What do you think about the educators at LSB?
LC: Yeah, brilliant. They’re professional and they’re really good with the students. They’re quite hard, quite militant at times, but that’s the style of training and it works, so yeah.

LSB: What are the highs and lows of being a barber?
LC: I’ve always been a people person. I love people, so you know cutting hair all day every day, I work with people. I work with not only my customers, but I work with my best mates every day, with my staff and it’s hard work, it’s the hardest job and people don’t realise that. But you’re on your feet all day, you’re focusing, your minds tired, your body is tired and your mouth gets really tired. So, you’ll get home and you won’t say a word to your missus and you know, but yeah it’s amazing.

LSB: How would you describe the job in one word?
LC: Hard work (laughs). Simple, it’s harder than what people think, but you know with hard work comes payoffs and you know not necessarily money, but you speak to people all day, every day you become a counsellor, you become someone’s best mate. You know, you’re deciding their colour wallpaper to do, you’re talking about cars and you know, moaning about partners and the dog weeing on the floor and like you know, you hear everything and listen to everything and yeah, it’s pretty good!

If you are in need of taking your current barbering skills to the next level or want to make a career transition into the barbering trade, head over to our barbering courses page to find the right course to suit your needs.

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