Exploring Mental Well-being and the Success of Barbering Establishments

Published 11th Jun 2024 by Josie Jackson

Beyond the buzz of clippers there is a connection between mental well-being and the success of barbering establishments...

The barbering industry is known for (and prides itself on) promoting good mental health within its teams and local communities. From offering free haircuts to school children and food banks to initiatives such as The Barbershop Project and District Barbers, there is no shortage of giving back.

It is also well documented that barbershops are more than just a place to get a trim, they serve as the hub of the community and can play a vital role in the wellbeing of clients. Furthermore, the atmosphere within the barbershop can determine whether you attract and retain a loyal client base. It’s not just a good cut that keeps customers coming back, but also the overall experience you provide. And at the heart of this experience lies the mental wellbeing of both barbers and clients.

From fostering positive workplace environments to enhancing customer satisfaction, we spoke to barbers and business experts across the industry to understand why prioritising mental health can lead to success.

Happy Team, Happy Shop

“Good mental health is vitally important to our business; if our team are feeling well, positive and free of any worries then we will have a successful day,” shares Joe Pomper, Murdock London Master Barber, who explains that investment in Mental Health First Aid training for all staff is a priority: “We close the store, have a team of professionals come in for the day and talk us through everything mental health related. This helps us understand signs in our colleagues or clients who may not be feeling their best.”

Josh Hester, Co-founder of Firsthand Supply has also ensured that from day one mental health was embedded in his business: “If you run a business,  especially in the cosmetic or beauty service space, you have an obligation and a responsibility to build people up. We can all do this, and we should all do this. This doesn’t mean pandering and it certainly doesn’t mean selling out, it’s quite the opposite.”

For Carl Taylor, owner of Taylor Male Image, promoting mental health starts with giving his team equal opportunities. His experience working in businesses that favour retail sales over quality cuts and good reviews has informed how he runs his own team: “As a manager you’ve got to look at who does what well and support that individual to build a solid team. If someone isn’t busy, they will offer to help either wash a client’s hair or film some content for them. It really boosts morale when everybody pulls together.” Carl also stresses the importance of being inclusive of self-employed barbers; team nights out are part of the culture at Taylor Male Image and everyone is included: “Having self-employed barbers doesn’t stop us from being a team. If they’re working in your shop, you’re a team. You can actually talk about life, and it also lays the foundation for those quiet moments in the shop. I can talk to my barbers about what they’re going through, what their partner does, and get to know them,” adding that this approach also helps to recognise when someone is having an ‘off-day’.

A Shared Expereince 

One theme that continuously presents itself in the industry is the more people talk, the more they recognise shared experiences which can lead to solutions and a relief from carrying any concerns or worries. “I wouldn’t say I’m the best person to talk to, but I did have struggles,” shares Karl Foster, Managing Director at MR Barbers. “I’ve run businesses that have been hard work for the last few years and at one point I was doing over 120 hours a week.” Breaking point for Karl came after a family member told him to book a doctor’s appointment: “I know what it’s like to have a breakdown without having it. One day more and that would have been it.” For Karl, his approach is to focus on the positives and share his understanding of how the pressures of business, and being in the industry can lead you to that point. “I believe in positivity so much. Finding that aspect brings people into the conversation more.” By openly addressing mental health, barbers and barbershop owners are cultivating environments where both businesses and individuals thrive demonstrating that a simple change in mindset can lead to a wealth of opportunities.

Recognising Financial Anxiety 

Below are some signs that you or someone you know may be experiencing financial anxiety:

  1. Overspending: shopping provides temporary relief from money anxieties, which can become a vicious cycle.
  2. Hoarding: comfort in material items to relieve the anxiety from money challenges.
  3. Fear of spending: obsessive saving could prevent you from doing the things you enjoy.
  4. Uncontrollable Finances: difficulty budgeting or prioritising household spending.
  5. Depression: feeling depressed can stem from financial anxiety.

"We all experience financial stress at some point, but it is essential to notice how it may impact your mental health. A great place to start is to be able to recognise the symptoms of financial anxiety"

Mark Bull, Wealth Manager and Financial Planner

Head to mentalhealth.org.uk for useful resources and advice if you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health problem.

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 11th Jun 2024

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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