Thanks to hipsters with their impeccable beards and modern day dandies with their meticulously kept moustaches, the once almost-forgotten barber is now firmly back in the limelight. Over the past five years, the profession has witnessed huge new growth. FAB met up with Sarah Daniel-Hamizi, founder of the Barbière de Paris, to talk about the latest and greatest trends.
What Extra Training Is Needed?
For a long time Jonathan Vulliens, barber at the TIGI by Valentino salon in Lausanne, Switzerland, only worked as a hairstylist. But after a few years in his current salon, he decided he wanted to expand his work and so undertook a part-time training program to become a professional barber. “It wasn’t about staying on trend, seeing as barbers have only become popular again in the last five years,” he told French daily newspaper 24 heures. “What I like most about my job is the technique and precision you need, the architectural side of things.”
Becoming a barber takes work. Learning how to wield the right tools, understanding the different styles and beard lengths, and getting to grips with dyeing techniques: it’s a whole new job that you’ll have to learn, although at least not from scratch. According to Sarah Daniel-Hamizi, founder of La Barbière de Paris, “the work of a barber isn’t something you can improvise. Getting an appropriate qualification is the most important first step: you mustn’t forget that barbers operate straight razors every single day. It’s a tool that can be very dangerous if you don’t use it properly.” A professional stylist with a high level of expertise will require at least six months to a year’s extra training before being able to start working as a barber.
A Job With A Bright Future
More and more stylists are taking notice of the opportunities available in the world of barbering, and there are lots of different reasons why so many are signing up for training programs: for love of the art form, the desire to offer a more complete service in-salon, as well as wanting to take advantage of the great commercial opportunities. Sarah has noticed that “lots of hairstylists are choosing to become barbers as well. The market for female hairstyling is getting weaker, partly because women are more and more confident about carrying out their own hair-dyes at home, and there’s a trend for letting your hair grow long as well. Becoming a barber is now a great way to expand your salon’s business opportunities.”
In Paris, a new barbershop opens on average every single week. The industry has never looked so promising. In certain salons, such as at Alex Haircut’s in Paris, the addition of barber services has increased turnover by 40 per cent. What’s more, the work of a barber is increasingly expanding outside of salons. The 24 collaborators at the Clé du Barbier, for example, regularly take part in events organized by brands such as Éric Bompard, LVMH and Boucheron. On top of these there are increasing numbers of prestigious sponsorship contracts: Alexandre Boulom, founder of La Clé du Barbier, is brand ambassador for several makes of shaving products. Yet more proof that the time has come for ambitious hairstylists to take the leap and explore the exciting world of barbering.