Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Richard Tucker

Professional barber Richard Tucker who works at Ruffians took time out of his schedule to join us as our guest judge for our banging competition that took place on Friday 4th May here at London’s premium training school; London School of Barbering. It is a highlight for our students who graduate from their NVQ 2 Diploma course to battle it out in our unique fade competition and meet barbers from the industry on their last day. They have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have on the industry and get insider tips from the professionals. It is also adds such a buzz to the day having the company of our wicked guest judges.

Richard Tucker is a self taught barber and currently works at award winning barbershop Ruffians. His background story on how he got into barbering is quite quirky. After being faced with getting bad haircuts off his mother, he decided he would try to cut his own hair.When his friends seen the work he done on his won hair, they encouraged and influenced him to start cutting their hair as they thought he had potential. For the next few years, he was cutting and cutting and self teaching himself to become the best barber he could be. He kept at it and got a great opportunity to work at popular barbershop Ruffians.

Coming from a self taught background without any professional barber training, Richard was overly impressed with the explicit details and high quality of the haircuts that our students executed like professionals in one hour and with only nine weeks training. He could also see that our students had built up excellent client care techniques and had a flawless professional manner with their clients. He noticed how comfortable our students were making our clients, which he strongly believes is paramount in barbering. He could see that our barber academy with its functioning barbershop approach was very effective with the standards that he seen from our students. Richard speaks about how he discovered barbering as a career, his proudest moment as a barber, advice he would give to anyone who wants to be a barber, the quality of the cuts he seen, among other topics. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
RT: My name is Richard Tucker and I work in Ruffians in Shoreditch.

LSB: How did you discover barbering as a career?
RT: I used to be a care worker. I used to look after people with autism in a residential care home. I did that for a couple of years and really enjoyed it. But, I’ve always done barbering on the side as a hobby and yeah, I just felt maybe I should make it a career and hence now why I now work for Ruffians.

LSB: How did you learn the trade?
RT: I’m self-taught. It all started when I had to get my haircut as a youngster. My mum would send me off to get haircut, like every two weeks and it was becoming quite expensive. And you know she start cutting my hair and it was terrible.. ended up having like you know marks in my head, where you know where she was using the clippers wrong. So, I thought well I’m going to cut my own hair. So, I started doing my own hair and I was a little bit better, I wasn’t great. And then from there, my friends noticed, you know I was cutting my own hair and stuff and they were like well you know, why don’t you try my hair. So I started cutting their hair and then just you know, years into that and then just keep doing it.

LSB: What has been your proudest moment as a barber?
RT: Probably just becoming an official barber itself was a proud moment for me really because I never thought that I was going to be good enough to do it. I think I had quite a big fear when it came to it you know, I was scared that I wouldn’t be good enough or you know loads clients would hate me or hate the haircuts and stuff like that you know, I was really judgmental with myself.

LSB: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a barber?
RT: I think you have to do barbering if you love cutting hair or it’s something that you know you’re creative, you feel like you want to connect with people. You know, I don’t think without those things you can really be a barber you know, unless you’re going to be you know, a bit of a robot or machine just standing there cutting hair. You need to enjoy it. I think because that’s what’s going to make you a successful barber.

LSB: What did it feel like being a judge today at LSB?
RT: When I got the email from Sophie and she was like you know would you like to be a guest judge? I was like this is great you know, I’ve never been asked that before you know, they’re asking me to be a guest judge. There’s so many proud moments, but this is definitely one of them you know. I think people come up to me and say your works amazing and you know really appreciating the advice I’m giving them as well, which is quite nice because it’s like one of the gentlemen said that you know they don’t usually get outsiders coming in, so when they do, it’s nice that I’m saying things without even the educators having to. So, I think it gave them a little bit of a boost as well.

LSB: What did you think about the quality of the cuts you saw at LSB?
RT: Really good, I thought quite impressive actually some of them, not only just the cuts, but the way they were with the clients as well. You know that’s something I like to teach is you know how you present yourself to a client, you want to make them feel comfortable and I saw all of that and you know the fade work was impressive and the layering.

LSB: Tell us about LSB’s approach to training in a functioning barbershop?
RT: Yeah I think it’s good, it gives you an idea of what it’s going to be like you know. You’ve got standard chair, standard mirror and it’s very clean anyway, which is nice you know walking into a barber shop. You can see that they’re obviously making sure they’re not just cutting hair, but they’re keeping their station clean which is really important. It keeps you grounded you know. I was a junior for many years before I actually went into barbering and I think that makes a big difference. It keeps you grounded you know, you don’t get on your high horse and start leaving your stuff everywhere, do you know what I mean. So it was good that people very structured with their equipment and very tidy because a client will see that and straightaway they are going be like; well he’s looking after his equipment so he’s going to look after my hair.

LSB: What do you think about the educators at LSB?
RT: Yeah great! They’ve all got different personalities, which I think really works well because you get different kind of students coming in. So, if you’ve got kind of the same personality then, you know with students, some of them are not going to connect. So you can see how that really works quite well. Some of them are little bit more cut throat and some are a bit more cool, calm and collected, a little bit more you know laughing about joking. I think that works really well.

If you are currently thinking about becoming a barber or need to polish up your current barbering skills to an advanced level, go to our barbering courses page to find your perfect course.

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