#Lookthepart “The one about Barbershops”
Barbershops. They are everywhere. An ancient profession that is going through something of a renaissance. You have seen them more around town. They sport beards, tattoos and more tweed than your average English gentleman. For people like me its amazing! My job is gaining more publicity than I ever expected. But what does it mean for you? The client. How do you traverse this now saturated market and find the right shop for you?
Today I will try to help you figure out what type of Barbershop you will feel comfortable with. I have no scientific basis for this, its just me and my own meandering experience.
The easiest way for me to break down the types of Barbershop currently available in Belfast, and Northern Ireland as a whole, is to split it into price ranges. For me there are three distinct ranges. Each range containing a very different Barbershop experience. You, the individual that you are, must decide what suits you best as a person.
The most common of all Barbershops in our little part of the world.
If you want cheap, quick, practical, no frills haircutting these are the people for you. This field has seen the most change in the Barber revival. These are the guys that call themselves “old school” and dress as I mentioned before. I have watched in awe how many have changed their image to suit the feeling in the industry. Although I do feel that while striving to be different many of shops end up looking the same. The shop will be very traditional looking. Lots of wooden units and if they are any good, very busy.
My advice. Ignore the image they put out and look closely on their social media at the actual product they are turning out. In well established Barbershops in many small towns and areas of the city you can find high quality, experienced Barbers operating a no fuss, consistent, affordable service. Expect haircuts relying heavily on clippers, to be in the hot seat for no longer than 15 minutes and listen to plenty of banter about football. If this is what you like, and you are lucky, you can find a Barber, and with time a friend, for life. All Barbershops like this run a walk-in set up.
Best in class:
Chaplins Barbershop Antrim
More bang for your buck without breaking the Bank.
This is where I reside. I own the Jason Shankey Barbershop in Holywood Co. Down. (Shameless plug I know). Service here is very different from your local community based Barbershop. More attention to detail and the availability of top quality styling product. Hot-Towel shaving will be added to the list of services in an establishment like this. The shop itself should be more up market. Clean and new. The staff will most likely be well dressed in shirt and trousers and in some instances a waistcoat. A little bit more class. The service will differ here too. Tea, coffee and in many cases beer will be free of charge while you wait. Almost all establishments in this range will have an apprentice or junior scurrying around. The haircuts lean further towards male styling with your barber, or stylist if they prefer, taking around 30 minutes on average to do your job. Crucially here they dont rely heavily on clipper work. Full scissor haircuts of various lengths and textured finishes are normal. If you want the newest modern styles, finished with quality product and a little more care and attention this is the place for you! Most Barbershops like this run a walk-in and booking system side by side.
Best in Class:
Jason Shankey Barbershop. www.jasonshankey.com
The top end.
Barbershops in this range are normally branded and smack bang in the city centre where the prices have to take into account the high price of rent and rates that currently strangle big city business. Here you have nearly left behind the Barbershop image completely with the product leaning heavily towards male styling and grooming. Many also incorporate ladies hairdressing now, so they cover all bases. You will be greeted as sir and any of the many juniors will look after your every need to insure you are comfortable. Male waxing and massage is common place in this kind of establishment along side the Barbershop staples of haircuts and shaves. The salon will be high end. Very crisp, clean and functional. Lots of polished steel and top end traditional barbers chairs. These people mean business. Your stylist will be immaculately presented. Articulate and very knowledgeable about cutting edge hair styles and more importantly how to achieve the best type of style (in their opinion) that suits you. Many local sports, political and entertainment personalities will frequent a salon like this. If you are looking for that celebrity style or if a trip to the Barbershop for you is not simply a haircut but a pampering from head to toe, this is where you need to be. You will pay. However in life you only get what you pay for. To go to a salon like this you will almost always need to book ahead.
Best in Class:
Bill Harris Hairdressing www.billharrishairdressing.com
So there you have it. Hopefully this will help you find a place that makes you comfortable and provides you with exactly the haircut you want. Remember, the final word on a Barbershop is the actual work. If you are unhappy with the finished product just go elsewhere. You should never have to pay for a substandard job.
Marty Walker, Jason Shankey Barbershop Holywood