Meet the Ruffians #10: Barber Matthew Heckel from our Soho – Liberty shop


Meet Matthew Heckel (Hex to his friends) – one of our barbers from our shop in the men’s department of the Liberty London department store in Soho. Matt has over a decade’s experience of working with hair and has been a barber with Ruffians for two years.

I have always leaned towards more creative pursuits, be it graphic design, editing films or writing comics, but underpinning it all is a need for precision and quality. This is what led me to Ruffians. Personally, I carry the title of nerd proudly, loving any chance to show off my movie trivia or sketching some pop art characters‘ says Matt about himself. So what else does Matt have to say? Read our Q&A to learn more!

Ruffians: What’s the difference between a £28 and £58 haircut?

Matthew Heckel: For me, paying a higher price is a guarantee for quality. It acts as another incentive to provide the best service I can. Clients willing to pay this show they take their hair seriously so you want to create something that is worthy of their expectations and worthy of the price tag. It also allows us to do something that is more than just a haircut, we invest time to create an atmosphere that is both comfortable and luxurious, we offer a seamless experience including our front of house that keeps things running professionally and efficiently.

R: What do you look for in a good barber?

MH: I believe the most important quality is enthusiasm. You can’t teach it, and when you find someone that is truly passionate about what they do then it’s contagious and fuels an exciting and creative environment for us and our customers. I find that people will go the extra mile to help you reach your goals if their passion is present. Enthusiasm will carry you through the hard times and as a trainer this energy is key for creating a learning atmosphere. When the enthusiasm has gone, it’s time for a change.

Matt gives a customer a hot towel treatment, as part of a Ruffians wet shave. It’s a really relaxing experience… honestly!

R: How do you stay inspired to be the best barber you can be?

MH: This one is easy, it’s my colleagues. The people I work with inspire and challenge me to consistently bring my best. Whether someone has been in the industry for 5 minutes or 5 years, they will always have something that will make you look at your own work in a different way, which I find so exciting. The people I work opposite produce work that makes me think “I want to do that next time”, and that is always inspiring to me.

R: Tell us your best joke.

MH: I love a pun and am the king of the dad joke, but my current fave is this:

Did you hear the one about the Spanish magician? He climbed up on stage waved his wand and shouted “uno, dos ..”, and in a puff of smoke he’s gone without a tres!

R: What’s your idea of the perfect day off?

Spending so much time in London’s exhilarating busyness I find it very centring to spend my down time in the calm countryside I call home. So, after a leisurely breakfast I’d pack a lunch and we would set out to explore. Stopping off in one of the nearby villages to buy some coffee and a pastry we would aim for the river and follow that until we find somewhere to sit and enjoy the view.  I would stay alert for any photo opportunity I should come across, or somewhere to pause and sketch. Slowly retracing my steps home we would stop off at our local for a couple of drinks before arriving at our little cottage for a movie and dinner, top choice being my partner’s lasagne – bliss!

To book an appointment with Matthew or any of our talented Soho-Liberty barbers, click here.

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