Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Paul Hewitt

Paul Hewitt owns Blk L’Amour Barbers and is an established barber with an impressive 17 years of experience in the industry. He came in to judge our fade competition on 1st December, where our students from our NVQ 2 Diploma beginner course got to battle it out to create cool haircuts to try win 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, showcasing their new skills they have worked hard to develop over the 9 weeks of their barbering courses.

This competition was buzzing with students excited to impress the established barber judge Paul Hewitt by really showing off how they can cut hair, after only being novice barbers 9 weeks ago. We spoke to Paul about all things barbering and his impressions of London School of Barbering as a training ground. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and how long have you been cutting hair?
PH: My name is Paul Hewitt and I own Black L’Amour Barbers. I have been cutting now for almost 17 years.

LSB: What are your impressions of LSB as a training ground for barbers?
PH: From being invited here today, I really wanted to see kind of how far education has come. I wouldn’t let anybody come on my shop floor, if I trained them or they are under our supervision for about a year. I’d wanted them to kind of experience every situation that’s possible, but now coming into seeing these guys after 9 weeks, I’m going to have to go away and re-evaluate and really look at the potentials of incredible students coming out after a 9-12 week course. But you can see that they really listen to the educators, they really listen to you guys, so I think that’s key.

LSB: What do you think of the educators here at LSB?
PH: If you’ve got someone whose very confident or had experience with customers face to face, they’re going to adapt to the surroundings. I’m really lucky that James and Matt in there, we’ve both all worked together. I’ve worked with Troy in all different places, so I know how good these guys are. Seeing them leave the barber shop environment or you know like a cosmetology environment and everything else like that, and immerse themselves into teaching, I think it’s fucking brilliant.

LSB: What is the secret to longevity in the barbering industry?
PH: To have longevity in this industry for me and the people that I know, we’ve all got the same focal point now is if you go back to customer service, if you go back to servicing your clientele on a daily basis, that will give you consistency and consistency means also that you have longevity in this craft. You really just need to focus on just being in the shop and to servicing your clientele, because if you haven’t got clients and you can’t progress. I’ve tried to do everything and I did it to the extreme that almost kind of broke me mentally, financially and physically, I’ve kind of realised very quickly that now I just want to go back to just doing barbering that I used to do 10 years ago.

LSB: How have you managed to make an impact in the barbering industry?
PH: I don’t think you can kind look at it as just what you’ve done. Obviously I took a couple of years and kind of opened up multiple shops and travelled the world and did a lot of push on my own brand. Everybody that I’ve ever worked with has been through that outreach because everybody else had the same thoughts and the same frustration that they do something that they love, but it’s not accepted by everybody else. So by joining forces with a couple of people that I’ve done Brad from Bristol, Shane Nesbitt from San Francisco you’ve got Khalil Malamug from New Jersey opening up those floodgates and coming together. I think collectively, hopefully we’ve kind of showed core barbering to what it is.

LSB: What changes have you seen in the barbering industry?
PH: Back then, it wasn’t what it is like today. When social media came about, it kind of opened up the floodgates. So from seeing it from so many years ago, where it wasn’t the trendiest thing or the most popular thing to do to where it is now its kind of mind-blowing. There used to be hairdressing and then barbering. And now the kind of lines emerge because you can see the kind of styles that are going, the photo shoots and magazines. I used to go to all the hair shows with my old boss and mentor, so I’ve kind of seen that side. Experienced that side and done all these events and now to see that that come back full circle into barbering. I think there still needs to be that divide.  I do think that people will realise that trying to chase that inevitable top spot. If you were chasing that quick buck, that kind of doesn’t give you what you’re after. And the only time that you’re ever going to get what you’re after is again going back to that previous question that we kind of touched on which was was consistency and the consistency comes from servicing your clientele.

LSB: Why is there now such a wide range mainstream fashions and styles?
PH: It’s easier now for us to express ourselves because you’ve got social media and it’s everything from a touch of a button. Where as before back in my day, if you wanted to get something you know like which was bang on fashion it was more underground. You had to really hunt and hustle and it was kind of like you had to know the right people because now you can swipe a cross and see that every day, every minute it’s just alright that’s kind of cool, I didn’t see that, oh shit there’s a load of people that are into that. I thought that they were a bit of a freak or kind of random. Again, it’s just a visual thing and because you’ve just got everything at the touch of your hand.

If you want to learn or improve your current barbering skills, take a look at our barbering courses page to find the right course to help you just do that.

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