MB Mentor: ‘How can I make a name for myself in the industry?’

MB Mentor joe mills

For the second instalment of MB Mentor series we paired up the #MOBAAS2020 Best Apprentice Deone Luke and Best Business Leader Joe Mills. Joe shares his pearls of wisdom for getting into stage and session work. Entries are now open for the 2021 Modern Barber Awards, head here to find out more and to enter!

This year’s Best Apprentice category is sponsored by Andis and we want to hear about the learner that is on track for greatness in our industry. We want to hear about the individual that goes above and beyond in dedication, passion and attention-to-detail and is clearly blazing a trail all the way to the top. It’s been a tough year for apprentices so what better way to turn it around than with an MB Award?

Get inspired by 2020 Best Apprentice Deone who featured in the Jan-March issue of Modern Barber and got to ask for advice from 2020’s Best Leader Joe Mills…

deone lukeDeone says: “Winning Best Apprentice at the Modern Barber Awards feels like an incredible achievement, I was so proud to have even made it as a finalist! Now I’m really ambitious and eager for the next challenge. This award has given me the drive to get myself out into the industry more. I’d love to explore session work and even work on stage in 2021 – how do I build my confidence in this area and make the connections I need to make it happen? Have you got any advice for someone just starting out? How do I show to the industry that I’m ready to take the next step in my career?”
Apprentice at Nu:era Barbers 


joe millsJoe says: “Firstly, congratulations on your award and what an amazing achievement to end 2020 with!

So let’s separate these two things out and start with session work. You need to think about what kind of work interests and motivates you. If you want to work on editorial fashion stories in GQ for example, then look through past issues and put a list together of who inspires you. Then reach out to them and see if they are looking for assistants. Don’t expect to get paid though, it’s all about the experience and learning your craft.

Alongside this I would build a portfolio of work different to the cuts you are doing on the shop floor. Ideally, partner up with someone who is a photographer or an assistant so that you are both building something together. Think about the shape, the texture and most importantly the finish of the hair you’re creating. Look at the ad campaigns from big fashion houses and really try to focus on the details. I would also recommend creating visual mood boards. This helps down the line when you are asked for your inspiration. Don’t be put off by rejection though, as there is a lot of competition. Keep strong and keep hustling. It took me years to really get to where I am – there’s no fast track.

Stage work is a different beast. The first time I stood on stage it was intense! It’s all about the preparation, the more work you do beforehand the easier it is. Think about what the message is you are trying to portray and the story behind it. If you are doing a cut for example, make sure that you’re confident enough to not have to think about the process. Think about how you can communicate what you are doing and what you want the audience to see. Make sure the model’s hair will do what you want it to do – practice makes perfect.

The one piece of advice I was told many years ago is to look and listen. On shoots the more you understand what is happening around you the better equipped you will be. It’s a marathon and not a sprint; it takes time, but the journey is definitely worth it Deone.”
Owner Joe and Co


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The entries are open for the Modern Barber Awards 2021

MB Mentor: Johnny Baba advises a new business owner 

Read the latest issue of Modern Barber