Following the ‘barbering boom’ in recent years, fresh new faces are appearing in the industry like never before!
One up-and-coming name you may have heard of is Hayden Cassidy. With almost 5,000 YouTube subscribers, a huge Instagram following and her own education programme, Hayden is proof that hard work really is the key to success in the barbering world.
For this edition of Ask the Expert, we asked her to share her thoughts on how to make it big in the industry…
Hi Hayden! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career in the barber industry?
Yes of course. I started cutting hair in 2015. Initially the reason I started barbering was because I loved to travel and I knew if I learned a craft like this I could cut hair anywhere in the world with a scissors and a comb, that was the selling point of the career.
After I started I became so obsessed with it and fell in love with it that it started to take over every aspect of my life. I’ve had some amazing opportunities in the industry. I began as an apprentice in a shop in Dublin, eventually moved to Berlin to work with one of my inspirations and to push my skill set.
After a couple of years working in different shops in Berlin, and gaining more experience, I eventually decided to make the move to London.
Over the last few years, it feels like my career has been on a complete roller coaster and I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve been a Global educator for Andis for the past 3 years, and have been on stage in over 25 countries educating. I just recently opened my own studio space in Hackney, East London. I plan on building my brand, online content, education, fashion work and so much more in this space and I’m so excited for the next part of my journey.
What made you want to become a barbering educator yourself?
I think for me, educating was always a big part of what I wanted to do. I used to be a dance teacher, and I studied elementary school teaching in the US when I was on a football scholarship in UNI. Teaching is a massive passion of mine.
When I started in the industry, I realised a lot of the way things were taught made barbering and hairdressing seem so complicated. So, I’ve tried to find a teaching style that could be easily understood and would appeal to any level. Breaking things down in hair is hard, but I knew that if I felt overwhelmed starting out, then a lot of other young stylists probably felt the same.
I relied a lot on YouTube and social media when I first started. I’m self taught, and honestly couldn’t afford to spend thousands on education! I think because I gained so much knowledge from people online, it really pushed me to give back and start helping others.
I started by creating videos, posting information and eventually creating a YouTube channel (haydencassidyhair) to help anybody who needed it. I think it’s because people enjoyed learning things in a laid back but informative way that my “educator” career took off – maybe a bit earlier than I expected too!
I got on stage for the first time when I had been cutting for one year, and although looking back I didn’t have as much experience in hair as most, I knew what I was trying to get across and I was also extremely comfortable talking to a crowd. I did everything to try and really gain as much knowledge as I could over them first few years, and I still constantly educate myself too. I don’t think you can ever stop learning in this industry and that’s one of the things I love about it!
How did you feel the first time you got on stage to showcase your barbering skills?
I was so nervous! I had been asked to get on stage by an amazing educator, Alan Beak, who really has always believed in me. After meeting him at one of his workshops, he convinced me to get on stage in Glasgow at a Great British Barber Bash show.
It was such a busy show, with over 500 attending and I knew I was out of my depth! I think the barbering scene was just at the beginning of the boom – and people had been asking to see more females on stages.
I got to go on stage with three other barbers who were also good friends of mine – and way more experienced at stage than me!. They helped me through it so much, calmed me down and really took me under their wing.
I became more confident as the time went by, and getting off the stage I remember thinking how I would love to do it all over again. That was definitely a day that really made me realise how many amazing opportunities there were to get. I decided to push myself from that day forward – fast forward four years and I’m pretty happy with how well things have taken off – it’s been a dream!
How important do you think it is for the barbering industry to push boundaries?
I think we’ve seen over the last few years how much the barbering industry has grown. There is so much respect for barbers and hairdressers nowadays, and people are really starting to understand the art and creativity of it all. I’ll always push boundaries in my career, and I think it’s important for every barber to realise there are no limits. With hard work, dedication and passion you really can get anything, anywhere you want.
Do you think social media is now an essential platform for budding barbers?
Yes, definitely. I think it’s so important to use social media, especially nowadays. It’s become like the hair stylists portfolio. Even for salons, it’s free advertisement and can be used for so many things. I started using social media more for a diary of my progress. If you go right down to my first post, you can see my progression and journey through the years – and I love that about it.
I’ve had so many opportunities from social media and I’m really thankful I started using it when I did. I think as long as you have a balance, and a healthy relationship with social media, it can be such a positive thing for your career.
What direction do you see men’s hair and grooming trends going?
I think men are becoming more open with their hair and grooming. Each of my clients completely trust me and give me free range in anything I do. I think that’s so important for us stylists. We understand the hair, the face shape, the trends and having trust with a client will allow us to create things on a different level then what it used to be.
I see things getting more creative, and I definitely see such a merge of mens hair and hairdressing. I think having that fusion means there will be a lot more natural looks, softer trims and beautifully shaped haircuts. I’m excited to see what trends will come next, and nothing really surprises me at this stage!
What would you say separates a good barber from a great barber?
I always say the most important thing for me is DETAIL. Detail is everything, and it’s definitely something that separates a good barber from a great barber.
I also think passion has a big impact. I love cutting hair, I love teaching, but most of all I love giving my clients a service. Once you love that, your passion, detail and skillset will continue to grow.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone just starting out in the barbering world, what would it be?
I would say be patient, trust yourself, ask questions and most of all, stay humble.
What is next for your career through 2020 and beyond?
I have so much planned for 2020! The studio I have just opened (unit8byhayden) has been such an incredible move for my career. I have the freedom to create, to push myself and to continue building things. I want to focus a lot more on creative projects and I already have so much lined up. To stay up to date with my projects and movements check my website www.haydencassidy.com – and my instagram @hayden_cassidy! I will say one thing – watch this space!
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