For the locals, it comes as no surprise that Whitley Bay and North Shields barber Chris Moon has made it through to the grand final in the hunt for Britain’s Best Wet Shaving Barber.
For not only has Chris gained a loyal following of clients who regularly visit him for a cut-throat shave at one of the family’s three barbershops, but he is also the third generation of the Moon clan to take up the trade – with his grandfather opening his very first barber shop all the way back in 1938.
Chris, who works at the family’s Kutz barbershops – with two sites in Whitley Bay and one in North Shields – continued the legacy by becoming his father’s apprentice after finishing an IT course at college, and no doubt he is now more than pleased with the path the family trade has led him down.
After facing up to cut-throat competition at the regional final of Britain’s Best Wet Shaving Barber and pulling out all the stops to take the title, he is now gearing up for the last hurdle of the competition, organised by the British Barbers’ Association and luxury male grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge. He will now face the best talent from across the UK, with a speed-shaving tournament inside a boxing ring, to be held at Barber Connect 2014 at the Celtic Manor Hotel near Newport on May 25.
Chris admits that he initially took some persuading to follow in his family’s footsteps, but it wasn’t long before he was hooked.
“After leaving college I was at a bit of a crossroads in life and didn’t really know which path to take. I soon found I was a people person while working in a pub”, he explains.
“I quickly rose through the ranks and, within 18 months, found myself managing the place. Even though I really enjoyed this, I never really felt it was my calling.
“In early 2002, I had a long discussion with my mother and father and we decided that, with my newly-found skills, I would be an asset to our family business, so I soon became my father’s apprentice. “
But it wasn’t all plain sailing from there for Chris, with his mother sadly and unexpectedly passing away while on holiday in Spain in 2004.
“Since then I’ve pushed myself to become the best I can be, as I know she will be looking down on me and be very proud”, says Chris.
“I don’t have any formal barber qualifications but I have been in the trade now for 12 years.
“My dad, brother and myself really are proud of what we have accomplished as a family. After the setback of losing my mam, we have come forward together and feel we can accomplish anything as long as we are together.”
And it seems the Moons’ enthusiasm for barbering is infectious.
“My dad has also found happiness again with my step-mother”, says Chris.
“She loved how close we were as a family and felt so overwhelmed by it that she became a barber herself – so we really are a family business.”