Last month, Sheffield barbers Lawrence Wheen and Brendon Biggin packed their bags and made a trip halfway around the world to China, where they shared their skills and industry knowledge with aspiring barbers in Chengdu.
Lawrence, who opened the award-winning Kelham Barber in 2017, had built up an online rapport with the team at Butcher Barbershop, which is situated in the bustling Jinjiang District of China’s sixth most populous city. This connection led to an inviting cross-cultural experience, with Stephen, the owner of Butcher Barbershop, visiting Sheffield to experience a bit of UK barbering culture first-hand. Subsequently, plans were set in motion for a two-week exchange, during which the Kelham Barber team would conduct in-store training sessions and deliver insightful talks at a prominent barbering conference.
“The idea was essentially an exchange of barbering cultures and skills,” says Lawrence. “Modern British barbering is held in high regard across the world, so it was amazing to travel to Chengdu and get the chance to share some of our insights into the industry.”
As well as teaching the technical side of cutting hair, the duo was asked to give advice on setting up a business and how to succeed in barbering. “We spoke a lot about the importance of discipline and teamwork in running a shop,” says Brendon. “We work around the idea that the team is just as important as the quality of the haircut. There’s a lot of talk out there about ‘good barber culture’ without anyone really defining what it is. We tried to share our thoughts on the effort and discipline involved to do well in this industry.”
Moving forward, Lawrence tells us that the idea is to continue building these types of partnerships across the globe. “We’ve made a tight friendship with the guys at Butcher, and we hope to do this sort of thing in other countries too, taking Kelham Barber international to share barbering knowledge and skills across the globe.”
Keep up to date with all the latest goings on at Kelham Barber on their socials @kelhambarber