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Behind The Scenes: A Day In The Life Of A London Barber

Behind The Scenes: A Day In The Life Of A London Barber

Barbering is booming! A recent article in The Telegraph stated that there have been almost eighteen thousand new barbershops opening their doors in the UK since 2018 and over nine hundred in the past year alone. 

The increase in popularity of male grooming has meant that thousands of people have chosen barbering as an occupation in recent times. Some start out as apprentices following school or college, whilst others; particularly those who are a bit older; are swapping established careers for fast track changeover courses to learn the trade.

We’re obviously biased, but we totally see why people are looking to get into the industry. It’s creative, sociable and the effect you have on people is (hopefully) positive. However, there are other things that come with life as a tonsorialist that may not be so initially apparent; the long hours on your feet and a wonky back are just a couple. 

To give an insight into life as a London barber, we thought we’d go behind the scenes and show you what a normal day “in the office” looks like for one of our talented snippers.


This is the time that my alarm goes off and the time I hop out of bed, though rarely the time that I actually wake up. I have two young children, one sleeps in a cot next to our bed and the other is almost always in bed with us by this point in the morning, and these two are my actual alarm. 

Like most (almost all) parents I complain about the early wake-ups but, in all honesty, there are far worse ways to start the day. They’re pretty good inspiration to make the most of the day ahead. 


After a strong coffee, breakfast, a shower and the drama of putting on “daytime clothes” I’m out the door on my bike. I drop my eldest off at nursery before cycling to the train station. 



The time that my train departs if all goes to plan (I’m looking at you, Southern Rail). I moved down to Brighton a few years back after we had our first child to get more space. Of course, I would rather a shorter commute but for me it’s worth it as I love the lifestyle of living down here as well as my work colleagues, my regulars and the buzz of the London barbershop. 

I write articles as a sideline, so this is what I spend most of my time on the train doing. For me it’s a better use of time than scrolling through my phone, though sometimes I do a bit of this as well.


My train (again, hopefully) arrives into London Bridge and its back on the bike for the final short leg of the morning journey, a ten minute jaunt across the river to Shoreditch.

I always make the time to get myself a flat white from the legends at Origin Coffee around the corner from the shop before setting up my station for the working day.


First client. I’m genuinely lucky to have such a nice, loyal clientele made up predominantly of regulars. We chat all things depending on who’s in the chair, but common themes include football, clothes, kids and travelling. I try to keep heavy stuff such as politics to a minimum; a) my knowledge on such matters is thin at best and b) I want these guys to have a good time whilst they’re getting their hair cut. 


Four or five clients down the line it’s time for lunch. Often it’s a pretty uninspiring fare of soup or a ready meal from the Sainsbury’s Local on Old Street but on Fridays I push the boat out and hit up Troy Bar for some excellent jerk chicken or mates of the shop Pizza Pilgrims for some doughy delights. 

My main vice in life is Haribo, and more often than it should lunch ends with some of their delicious high sugar offering. My dentist would surely disagree, but I tell myself that the bike rides and weekend runs will go some way to offsetting my addiction. 


Back to the chair and an afternoon/evening of clients. More great cuts and even better chats. There’s almost always one curve ball amongst the day’s appointments; an unexpected mullet restyle or a vital last minute beard trim for a hastily arranged meeting with the CEO. It’s a great aspect of the job as you always have to be on your toes, ready for a change of plan. 

There’s often different things going on in the shop too - fashion pop-ups, drink promotions etc. so it always feels fresh and different even though the bones of the operation are familiar. 


The last client of the day is wrapped up and it’s time to clean down my station and tools so that they’re ready for the same again tomorrow. 

In years gone by this would commonly signal a short stroll across the road to The Bricklayer’s Arms for a well-earned Guinness and a chat about the days happenings. However, these days; due largely to a combination of age and family life; it’s far more commonly time to get back on my trusty steed and commence the journey home. 


The most common train service back to Brighton that I embark upon. More writing followed by the final bike ride of the day. 


Home, where my fantastic partner often has some food waiting for me. I try, and often fail, to resist the temptation to follow it up with more confectionary of some form.

We watch something low-key on TV and at least one of us inadvertently falls asleep on the sofa. 


Bed. Time to get some sleep in before the next load of trims tomorrow. 

If you feel like barbering could be the career for you then there are a number of companies providing career change courses including London School of Barbering and Total Barber. We’re always here to chat if you’d like any further advice. 

At times Ruffians do take on keen and talented Graduate and Trainee Barbers who are looking to start their career, keep an eye on our website or socials if this is something that may be of interest to you. 


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