A Rugby barber is set to take centre-stage at this year’s Scottish Barber trade show as he prepares to perform a blind wet shave.
Shakar Bakani, of Mojo barbershop on Church Street, Rugby, will take on the challenge in front of a packed audience, in a bid to demonstrate just how much barbers can really be trusted with a blade in their hands.
The event is set to take place at 4pm on the British Barbers’ Association stage on Sunday, 24th May – and is expected to be one of the main attractions for this year’s event AT Edinburgh’s RHC.
Shakar, who was a finalist for the past two years running in industry-renowned wet shaving competition Britain’s Best Shave, said he was excited to show the audience what he was made of.
“It sounds dangerous, but a good barber is so well rehearsed when it comes to performing a wet shave that we can do it with our eyes closed. It’s the first time that I’ve taken on such a challenge, but I’m confident that I can still achieve perfect results in spite of being blindfolded from start to finish.
“My customers put a lot of trust in me when they come into my shop, because they know that I’ll look after them and do a good job. I’m known for being quick at what I do, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have time to have a chat with my customers. It’s all part of the service, and I would never pass on their stories. My hope is that the blind shave will prove just how trustworthy barbers can be – and will also be a demonstration of the rising standards across the industry.”
The shave comes as the humble barber topped a recent poll to uncover Britain’s most trusted profession – finishing ahead of traditionally trustworthy choices such as the doctor and police officer.
The survey, conducted by premium men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge, saw a healthy 18% of those surveyed agree that they would put faith in their barber above any other profession – not just to give them a high-quality shave or haircut, but to listen to their problems, too.
A trip to the barbershop has always meant a bit of ‘man time’, providing a relaxed setting in which to indulge in a spot of friendly banter. But it seems that men are now beginning to see their barbers as confidants as well as hair-cutters.
Surprisingly, the job role steamed ahead of more traditional choices, with only 15% of those polled deeming the doctor most dependable, and just 14% choosing the police officer.
The hairdresser also fared well in the poll, winning 9% of public votes, while the firefighter (12%), judge (11%) and vets (10%) were deemed similarly reliable.
At the other end of the spectrum, Politicians were revealed to be the nation’s least trusted profession by a country mile with a whopping 41% of the vote, while the journalist (20%), banker (13%) and salesperson(10%) also scored badly.
Colin Petrie, owner of Hard Grind Barbershop in Dundee, said that he wasn’t surprised to see the barber topping the poll.
“It might be a less obvious choice than some, but a haircut or hot towel shave are both intimate experiences. As a barber, you form bonds with your clients – you get to know all about their lives, and to hear about their families and friends. It’s a chance for them to unwind, share stories and get things off their chests, and they get a dedicated 30-45 minutes with us – far more than you get when popping in to see the doctor.
“We listen to them, and we give them advice. In fact, we even share details of our own personal lives, and that serves to cement the level of trust between us even further.”
Simon Bethel, who runs Sandyman Chop Shop barbershop in Exeter, agreed that time was an important factor.
“Customers trust us because we welcome them and take the time to listen. We have no ulterior motive whatsoever when dishing out advice, and the fact that for the most part, we don’t know anything about their lives than what they choose to share, affords them a certain level of anonymity.
“I see us as friends, counsellors and confidants just as much as anything else. We take on the role our customers want us to, and will never rush them out of the door. Which other profession can truly say that they offer all of those things?”
The Trust Survey results come at a time when business is booming for barbershops across Britain, with recent findings from the British Barbers’ Association revealing a surge of 15% in new openings in Scotland and 14% across the rest of the UK over the past twelve months.
The return of the short-back-and-sides hairstyles made popular by the likes of celebrities Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and Gareth Bale has sparked a rise in the number of men paying frequent visits to their local barbers, with such high-fashion looks requiring regular maintenance to keep them in shape.
Mike Taylor, director of the British Barbers’ Association, suggested that the ever-flourishing trend for men’s grooming was continuing to add fuel to the fire.
“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.”
Nation’s most trusted professions
1.) Barber (18%)
2.) Doctor (15%)
3.) Police officer (14%)
4.) Fire fighter (12%)
5.) Judge (11%)
6.) Vet (10%)
7.) Hairdresser (9%)
8.) Plumber (5%)
9.) Counsellor (4%)
10.) Social worker (2%)
Nation’s least trusted professions
1.) Politician (41%)
2.) Journalist (20%)
3.) Banker (13%)
4.) Salesperson (9%)
5.) Dentist (6%)
6.) Mechanic (4%)
7.) Football player (3%)
8.) Bouncer (2%)
9.) Book-keeper (1%)