We caught up with our friend Justin the Barber and conducted an interview to see how he got his start in the barbering world.
Name: Justin Albrecht
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Who: Barber at Esquire Barbershop
Mr. Pomade: What inspired you to become a barber?
Justin: Started out buzzing my head after the middle/high school grow out phase. 1 all over for a couple years then started growing out the top for a sidepart pompadour hairstyle. Always had a love for greaser/classic haircuts but never tried it due to my red hair. Anyway, started going to the barbershop again and fell in love again. Needed a job bad so i asked my barber where he went next thing i know he's taking me to the barber school a half hour away and I sign up, the rest is history.
Mr. Pomade: How long have you been a barber?
Justin: I've been out of barber school since June 2010 been working in a shop since that following September.
Mr. Pomade: What do you enjoy most about the barber culture?
Justin: Nothing better than a clean haircut and some pomade on top.
Mr. Pomade: Why do think gentleman continue to come to traditional barbershops?
Justin: There has been a big comeback for barbershops. Maybe it's brought on by the lack of skill at most large hair cutting chains. Barbershops haven't changed much since our grandfathers were going. I plan to keep it that way. Not just a place for a haircut but for human interaction and a relaxing environment.
Mr. Pomade: What do you think sets you apart from other barbers?
Justin: I'm not pumping out haircuts to make money, I truly enjoy what I do and try to give the client the best haircut possible. Taking their requests but also doing what works for their hair/head.
Mr. Pomade: What do you think gentleman enjoy most about an atmosphere at a barbershop?
Justin: A place to get away from women where you can say the dirtiest jokes kick back and relax for 30 minutes worry free.
Mr. Pomade: What qualities do you look for in other barbers that might be cutting your hair?
Justin: Passion, tapering skills, scissor skills and understanding of what I need. A good friend of mine from barber school cuts my hair mainly and i drive almost an hour, wait my turn, and hang him his $20.
Mr. Pomade: What do you make of the recent popularity of barbering and looking clean as a sort of revival?
Justin: I think a lot of it has to do with tv shows like madmen, boardwalk empire and movies like inglorious basterds bringing people in for the sidepart with short sides. A lot of bad barbers will be poppin up due to the popularity but only the true passionate barbers will survive. This isn't a fad for me, this is a lifelong investment.
Mr. Pomade: What is your message to other barbers?
Justin: Improve on everything you do, learn multiple ways to do the same haircut. Keep the barber tradition alive by offering a true traditional service.
Mr. Pomade: Where do you see the barber industry in 10, 20, 30 years?
Justin: All I know is I will be behind the chair cutting hair to my best abilities, doing the same damn thing.