I Am Not A Barber

Simply put, I just own a Barbershop.  

But that in itself doesn’t do justice for the relentless passion I have for the industry. Having always used a barber since I escaped the clutches of my Mum and her orange handled kitchen scissors when I was a kid, the unique atmosphere created in Barbershops, the camaraderie between the barbers, those in the chair and those in the queue has a captivating quality. When the right balance is achieved it feels like a real brotherhood, all working under the same title, irrelevant of age or sex, creating their own style and stamp on each cut that leaves the door. 

I often sit in a haze of jealously, just watching the guys at work. I think the ability to engage with someone in helping them create or maintain a look has a phenomenal draw, and it’s not surprising to see the industry going through such an accelerated resurgence. It’s often commented on in our barbershop how great it is to see this craft being performed in so many locations in what is a small City, and whilst I agree, it leads me to to ponder the question of how does the industry carry such an influx of new business and is the overall quality of the industry suffering under the weight of that influx?

If you wish, you can get carried away with the notion of opening a shop, and simply putting hair on the floor. That may be enough. The statistics speak for themselves with new business start ups, and the barbershop is not excluded from those figures. The running of a business is a multifaceted skill and doesn’t allow you to isolate your main skill set in the hope that the rest will take care of itself, and its all too easy in the modern age we all live in to view your life through the preconceived perception of what Social Media presents of what it is to be a business owner, or a barber. 

We’re a new start up. We are part of that influx. I believe the difference with Clique is that it isn’t one thing.  It’s not a clothes store, a motorcycle shop, it’s not a custom motorcycle dealership nor is it a barbershop. It’s all of them, and taking the barbershop into focus, the biggest thing is that I am not a barber. I have a fantastic team of barbers who are free to concentrate on their passion, their skill and constantly looking to improve the time served craft that is their chosen profession. 

Running a business takes you on a roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis. There will fantastic highs followed by the deepest darkest lows, where you rely on the support of your family and friends, and its at this time when you need to place the trust you had in your product, into your brand that you had when you first put pen to paper and began to put your passions into a formulated business plan. And if that plan isn’t stable you will run into difficulties, but there is a lot of help and guidance that will help you pass through those moments. What can’t be found from anyone else is the driving passion you require, the determination to work late into the night, and what keeps you coming back in the early hours day after day. If you don’t possess that passion in the first place it's time to find something new. 

Over the last 10 years of owning my own business, irrelevant of what form that business takes, I have learnt many valuable lessons, but none more so in the last 3 years of running Clique Customs and now Clique. The success we have achieved to date leans on those hard earned lessons but I feel that until you find what truly motivates you, to ride through those darks times and come back for more, do you really take on board what those lessons have to offer. I am humbled to be approached by other businesses looking for advice or inspiration for how to create, brand and develop their concept, and to extend a hand in assisting that development is a positive thing to experience. 

What is an increasingly frustrating situation is when someone simply replicates what you have done in some form or another, be that with decor, styling, branding or simply using your model aiming to take a short cut to perceived success. The difference will be that they will always be reactive, not proactive. This situation happens across the board and many businesses experience the frustration of replication, and it will always be seen through. It can be taken as a compliment or you can see it for what it truly is, which is just plain lazy. 

Inspiration is everywhere but the first place you should be looking at is from within yourself. 


Clique Customs

1 comment


Visited recently from Leeds after spotting your article in Built mag,great to see a fresh idea growing,we had a chat on the day,you deserve your success,all best team,l’ll make sure next time l come the hair needs doing, cheers Andy

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