We talk to Laurence Edmonds about where his barbering journey began…
1. What was your first job before barbering?
My first job was working in a garden centre. I used to bag the fish and give them to customers which was quite fun.
2. Why did you decide on a career in barbering?
I always gravitated towards barbering ever since I started getting my haircut. I used to turn my head slightly whilst looking in the mirror to see the barber’s technique and the steps they used to cut my hair. I remember going into my local barbers for the first time and seeing a group of guys with tattoos and cool hairstyles; they always seemed to be happy to be there, having a joke around with each other and I used to think “they get paid to have a laugh with their mates whilst cutting someone’s hair?” I’ve always loved being creative so the fact I could earn a living at the same time meant that I knew this is where I belonged.
3. How did you get started in your barbering journey?
I started my barbering career with an apprenticeship, and I was thrown in the deep end cutting hair straight away. This immediately gave me a chance to understand how it feels to be a barber. I took the time to make sure the customer was always happy and that I didn’t make any mistakes – I quickly realised that I work better under pressure!
4. What was your biggest challenge starting out?
When you are newly qualified, it doesnhttps://www.instagram.com/laurence.edmonds/’t mean you can waltz into any job you want. In this industry employers want experience, a client base, and a portfolio of your work. I didn’t have any of that. I spent the first few years working on my craft, building that client base and taking photos of my work. Starting from nothing and trying to get your name out there is really hard, but it can be done if you want it bad enough.
5. What was the best piece of advice you received?
The best words that I hold close to my heart is something I realised myself: Sometimes you feel like you are a voice among millions of people with the same dreams but what you actually need to realise is that of all the photos and haircuts you do, not one person in the world would be able to create that exact same photo or haircut, so without you it would have never existed. You owe it to yourself and the world to give something only you can provide, something authentic to you, and eventually you will have people admire the way you work and think.
6. What do you wish you’d known then that you know now?
If I could go back in time and give some advice to my younger self, it would be that you are too harsh on yourself, you focus too deeply on being perfect and making sure your work is faultless and you are not enjoying growing as a barber and a person. Enjoy the journey because it ends up being ok for us.
7. What’s been your greatest achievement so far in your barbering journey?
The fact that I never gave up. I suffer from anxiety and depression, which I know a lot of people do, and the biggest struggle was the days I didn’t want to get out of bed or wanted to hide away and give up on my work; but every single day I tried to drown out those voices and push on. I now have around 200 clients, an amazing business, I have won awards and featured in magazines. I will never let those voices win, so for people who understand where I’m coming from, listening to those voices is a choice and they will only affect your life if you let them.
8. What does the future hold for you now?
I am opening my first shop and education centre in 2023, I’ll be teaching seminars in barbershops and hairdressers across the UK. I hope to win a few more but most importantly inspire young barbers and make them realise they have entered the best industry ever.
Every barbering journey is different; Deone Lewis explains how she had worked at barbershop for two years when she felt the call to become a self-employed barber. You can find out more about her experience here.