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MB Upskills: How to attract Afro clients to your barbershop

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Jay Owen from Cutty Sharp Barbers has made it a business focus to attract and serve the needs of clients with Afro and dual-heritage hair types in his barbershop. Here’s how he did it.

This is the first piece of written content from our MB Upskills series. Every week we will bring you an informative article that focuses on upping your business or creative skills during Lockdown 3.

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Social media played a big part in attracting our black and mixed-heritage clients. I always make sure I’m featuring haircuts on Afro and dual heritage hair and advertising my expertise on our social accounts. I used to post two or three photos a day, but I soon found out it wasn’t sustainable! My clients are models and getting the right lighting and captions takes up a lot of time. Now I drip feed content throughout the week.

 

Be open to conversation

During the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020 the conversations that we were having in the shop were insightful, powerful and amazing. We watched the video footage of George Floyd being unlawfully killed in the barbershop and we were all really moved by it. I have had a few clients that were really into the marches and some customers wanted to talk about it while they were in the chair. I never shut down conversation.

 

Plant roots

My dad taught me my barbering foundations and he said: “It’s all about planting a seed. What comes off a seed? Roots. As long as you put down roots, you’re building up your status and you can grow.” I take that analogy with me into business. The roots of my business are buried in the community.

 

Include all hair types

My belief is that if you’re a barber you should cut all hair types. When I was training I made it my aim to address the gaps in my knowledge. I’m Caucasian and hadn’t had experience of cutting and styling non-European hair so I wanted to hone my skills.

 

The power of reviews

My Google reviews are second-to-none and they really have helped to gain trust. I find that if I give someone a great haircut, they’ll tell five of their friends. It can have a real snowball effect. You’ve got to keep your standard up though and never get comfortable to keep those reviews high.

 

Get product wise

Being situated in a diverse community I stock hair products that work for a range of hair types. To be honest I don’t make a huge profit – I sell it for something like £1 more than what I pay for it but I’d rather people buy it from me than from Amazon because I can tell them how to use it and top them up when they come to the shop.

 

It’s all about signs

On the front of my shop it states that I’m an Afro hair expert. Those four letters have pulled in so many clients. Are you advertising that you do skin fades and patterns on a range of hair types? You should be.

 

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