Award Winning Advice: Honing Your Barbering Skills

honing your barbering skills

As the winner of Best All Round Barber at the Modern Barber Awards 2022, there is no one better placed to speak to about honing your barbering craft than Eleni Tsesmatzoglou. Here, she shares her thoughts on the industry, carving your own path, and her award win…

 

MB: Do you have a favourite aspect of barbering or a favourite type of cut to do, and if so, why?

Eleni: My favourite aspect is definitely the people you meet in the industry and also at the shop, my clients. I’ve got clients that have trusted me since day one and that means everything to me. I don’t have a favourite cut though – I love creating haircuts that suit my clients and their day-to-day lives; it’s an important skill to fully understand your clients’ needs.

MB: Where do you get barbering inspiration?

Eleni: I get inspiration from others in the industry, art, movies, music and also fashion.

 

MB: How important was training and mentoring to your career?

Eleni: When I started, I had three years’ experience in hairdressing, but had zero knowledge of barbering. Because of this I positioned myself in a place where I could learn from a diverse team of barbers. One of the people, that I still have as my mentor and inspiration, is Nick Barford. I think having the people around me combined with my hard work and willing to learn, has made me the barber I am now.  So, I would say training and mentoring is very important for people starting in the industry; you have to be around people you genuinely look up to and be willing to learn from them whilst working really hard.

 

MB: Is there anything in addition to this that you think has contributed to your barbering skills?

Eleni: I feel that hairdressing really helped me with my understanding of cutting hair, head shapes and styling.

 

MB: How do you think you came to win ‘Best All-Round Barber’?

Eleni: By showing a diverse portfolio of work. Fully understanding the criteria that was asked of me. A best all- round barber should include all types of hair and textures in their collection.

 

MB: Is there anything you think you do differently to most people, or anything that makes you stand out?

Eleni: I stay true to myself and do things that I really enjoy. I try not to compare myself to others, as everyone is different and that’s the beauty of it.

 

MB: What traits or skills do you think are important to barbering?

Eleni: I think that having a hairdressing background helped me a lot in terms of understanding shape, form and work with the face/bone structure of my clients. As such, the advice that I would give people is to not only stick to barbering courses. but hairdressing courses as well. You should widen your knowledge and see how hairdressers work as well. It’s always wise to go out of your comfort zone and try things differently.

 

 

MB: Have you ever been given barbering advice that you disagree with?

Eleni: Yes I have, but this also depends on the topic and also the point of view. Not everyone is the same and everyone has a difference in opinion. That’s what’s beautiful about art and being an artist – if we all agreed with each other we wouldn’t have so many different styles of barbering, and nothing would have progressed in the industry.

 

MB: Are there any skills that you think a lot of barbers neglect?

Eleni: It’s very hard to say as everyone is very different and have different perspectives.  It depends on your style and what you want to do in the future.

 

MB: What equipment could you not live without, and what do you think is overrated/ unnecessary?

Eleni: I think my Mizutani scissors are my favourite tool. It’s very satisfying to do an all-scissor cut without using any other tools and love using them for scissor over comb. In terms of overrated/unnecessary I would advise people to keep it simple – I feel like you don’t need more than three clippers/trimmers.

 

 

MB: Why do you enjoy being an all-rounder as opposed to specialising in one type of cut/ style?

Eleni: Being an all-rounder is great as I am able to welcome anybody to my chair. It is extremely important to me to be inclusive and make sure that that I can give everyone an amazing haircut.

Check out more from the mini series:

Award Winning Advice: The Importance of Barbershop Interior

Award Winning Advice: How to be the Best Barber Apprentice