An East Kilbride woman was celebrating last week after being crowned Scotland’s Best barber in a prestigious nationwide competition to track down the country’s very finest in men’s hairdressing talent.
Stacey McCabe, owner of Jentz Male Grooming on Maxwelton Avenue, beat off razor-sharp competition from scores of other barbers to win the accolade, competing as one of four shortlisted finalists live on stage at this year’s Scottish Barber trade show.
The final unfolded on day one of the popular trade show, which was held at Edinburgh’s RHC on Sunday, 24th April. The competition, organised by the esteemed British Barbers’ Association, premium men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge and leading trade magazine Barber NV, saw all four hopefuls battle it out in a nail-biting final effort to impress judges. Heather Atkinson, Jamie Stuart and Davie Walker all joined Stacey in her bid for the title, having previously triumphed in a gruelling online public vote to secure their places.
Finalists had just 90 minutes to complete two examples of their very finest work, and were judged on a number of criteria, including difficulty, technique, health and safety and overall look – as well as having the chance to score extra points for their stage presence during the demonstrations. Stacey stunned onlookers with two creative cuts, scoring highly to pip all three challengers to the post and take the coveted title.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this accolade”, she said. “It’s something I have striven for and worked extremely hard to achieve.
“I’ve been running my own salon for 12 years now, and have many loyal clients that have helped me hone my craft and have supported me over the years. I’m really very grateful to all of them, as well as all of the professionals I have worked with through hair and education along the way.
“To me, it has always been about the client. Winning the award is both amazing and humbling, but there is still no better feeling than seeing my clients leave the salon feeling on top of the world. That’s the reason I do what I do.”
Stacey, who walks away with the prestigious title of Scotland’s Best Barber 2016, also scooped £250-worth of men’s grooming products from The Bluebeards Revenge, and the opportunity to become an ambassador for the popular brand. She will also take part in a Q&A session with Barber NV magazine and grace the pages of their June issue.
“I’m really excited to be working with The Bluebeards Revenge”, Stacey added. “I will relish the chance to become one of their ambassadors.”
Nick Gibbens, marketing manager for The Bluebeards Revenge, said that the brand was equally thrilled to have her on board.
“Stacey is a fantastic barber, and truly deserving of her win. We’re proud to call her our newest ambassador, and to again be associated with such passion and skill.
“It’s the first time we have run a competition of this kind in Scotland, and it was heartening to see the sheer number of talented barbers approaching us for a chance to get involved. The fact that people want to put their skills to the ultimate test is evidence of the ever-rising standards within the industry, and that in itself is one of our main goals in running this competition – encouraging barbers to be the very best that they can be. It has been a true celebration of Scottish barbering, and I have no doubt that we will run the competition again.”
Mike Taylor, director of the British Barbers’ Association, said that the competition had highlighted an important turn in the tide for barbers, who have experienced in a boom in trade over the past couple of years as new shops continue to open up and down the country.
“Men are looking after themselves a lot more and have finally realised that the barber is the best person to cut their hair, rather than a hairdresser. There is also a rising demand for hot towel shaves, and salons fail to offer this service.
“It’s one of the reasons that barbers are finally beginning to get the recognition they deserve, and the competition has brought some of Scotland’s best talent into the spotlight. It is fantastic to see the level of passion that Scottish barbers have for their trade, and it is clear that keeping up to speed with the very latest techniques is of the utmost importance to them.
“Our finalists have done the nation proud, and Stacey should be very happy to be able to call herself Scotland’s Best Barber 2016. It’s certainly no mean feat, and she has done extremely well to get here.”
Andrew Brewster, editor of Barber NV magazine, “It’s great to see a female barber rising to the top of what is widely considered to be a male dominated industry. Stacey is a very deserving winner and a bright future lies ahead.”