Barber Industry Interview – Guest Judge Simon Crawford

Simon Crawford is a barber who works at the super cool rock-ability American influenced barbershop; Johnny’s Chop Shop and he was also a former student with us here at London School of Barbering only two years ago. We were delighted to have this talented barber join us for our very last competition day of the year to judge the fade competition. As it was the very last competition day of the year, the students were in top spirits and excited to show off their brand new barber skills, while battling it out to win a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in the competition.

It has been an amazing year to see all of the incredible talent develop from all of our students who have taken our barbering courses and have embarked on their journey to start a barber career or develop their current barber career. Simon had plenty of good feedback on the quality of the cuts and was blown by how our students who had all the barber requirements to work in a barbershop, after only training for 9 weeks on our NVQ 2 Diploma beginner course. He shares his insight on the barbering industry and talks about his own experience as a student and now a successful barber, among other topics. Read his exclusive interview below:

LSB: What is your name and where do you work?
SC: My name is Simon and I work for Johnny’s Chop Shop, which is rock-ability American influence barber shop in Central, just off Carnaby street.

LSB: What was your role here today at LSB?
SC: I was asked to come in and judge the level 2 NVQ students on their fade competition.

LSB: Tell us about your experience of LSB?
SC: Well like I came here 2 years ago and it’s since then, the standards have rocketed sky-high. The teachers are being taught on a regular basis. The techniques they use are different techniques to teach these kids or sorry I mean students and they’re really good, the standard is really good.

LSB: Tell us about judging the fade competition here today?
SC: I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been nice, it’s been nice to see the evolution of this place. It’s nice to see that there are good haircuts coming out. I must admit, I mean when I was here, I wasn’t very good. I took me a while to get where I am now, I’ve had to work really hard. The standard has like really topped it.

LSB: How do LSB’s courses compare with apprenticeships?
SC: I mean a lot of apprentices start and they’ll, I think they waste time because they’re not going to necessarily watch their barber’s all day cut hair all day and watch properly. When you’re here, you’re put into that situation you have to do it and it’s scary. And me personally, throughout my whole life, I’m not very good, I’m not an academic, I’m better with my hands, I’m a creative person so when it comes to doing things I’m better just shoved in a the deep end and take the clippers by the hand and get on with it.

LSB: What was it like starting your career as a barber?
SC: The hardest thing I found was being honest with people. It’s really hard to be honest with someone if you think that their idea is not great and they want to do it. You don’t want to upset someone, but at the same time it’s best to be honest. So I’ve had people come in before and they starting to go a little bit, you know bald and they try and like push you all forward. With my own clients, I’m completely honest with them. I’m like you need to take this weight out of here because all you’re going to do is draw attention to here and at the same time they don’t like it, but then they do trust you. And it makes them feel good about themselves if you make them look good. So Im like, yeah you’re ready for the ladies now for the weekend you know they strut out all nice and happy.

LSB: What advice do you have for graduating students at LSB?
SC: If I were to give them advice, I would be like remember what you’ve been taught. Don’t try and experiment just yet, you need to make sure you’re really confident on what you’ve been taught, those fundamentals. When I first left it was such a scary time in my life, but exciting at the same time. And once you start building up that confidence,  you know what you’re doing and you do it without thinking about it, then you can start experimenting with these other different fading ideas, scissor ideas you know what I mean.

LSB: What do you think about student experience at LSB?
SC: It’s crazy, it’s scary at the start because within a couple of weeks you’re cutting hair in pairs and that first time cutting hair is, I’d never held a pair of clippers before, except for trimming my own beard when I was home. I’ve always been quite a creative person. I design tattoos and I’m an artist, but like that first time you pick it up, you’re like omg I literally only joined a couple weeks ago. (laughs) And then you’re really properly cacking it, but then it just comes to you, but obviously you’re not brilliant straight away, but you’ve got them behind you and they help you with confidence.

LSB: How has barbering industry changed in the last few years?
SC: I think it’s all stemmed from like 2004 when I first sort of got into it. Kevin Luchman did that slick rick on Ricky Hall and since then it’s gone from strength to strength. It’s made Schorem and Barbers a lot more popular, it’s made here more popular. It’s really changed like through the years and people like Ricky Hall and I guess Chris Minton and all that have made it more popular.

LSB: Why is it such a great time to get into the barbering profession?
SC: It’s a really good time, but it’s also quite hard because people expect a high standard. The standard of barbering has got really really high. But then it’s also the experience for the customer. The customer comes there to have the full package, to be shown a good time, they can chat about stuff with you, they can get a decent haircut out of it.  And like they become your friends. My clients are my friends.

If you want to train to become a barber or refine your current barbering skills, take a look at our barbering courses page to find the right course for you.

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