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Andy Rychlowski

My Journey from Zero to Hero I’m in my forties and was looking for a new challenge that would stimulate me but I only had a few evenings free so I looked at what part time courses were on offer at my local College in Crawley. I was excited & inspired to see a Level 2 Barbering Course. I discussed this with my local barber, Firstly, he was surprised that I had an interest in becoming a Barber & thought that the course would not be good enough. After some research, I heard it was an excellent course run by an experienced working Barber sharing his experiences by practical demonstrations showing all the different cutting techniques & individual skills required to become a professional Barber.  I enrolled on the one year course with no barbering knowledge but was hooked from the first evening. At the start, I felt like I was far behind everyone else because most had a little experience in barbering or hairdressing. I was so lucky that I had an awesome tutor Tony Copeland who has been barbering for over 47 years and has a multi award winning shop, The Golden Scissors Dorking & is a founding member of British Master Barbers. At the college everyone was willing to share their knowledge. I enjoyed the course so much I decided I would speak to my local Barber, Massimo to ask if I could get in to one of his shops to gain valuable shop floor experience at Ciao Barbers. It took a bit of effort to juggle, my college, family life and a day job working in an autistic unit in a mainstream school to become an industry ready Barber, building my skill set and gaining confidence. The year flew by and before I knew it I was close to completing the course. Everyone got the offer from Dan Davies to do a work experience at Pall Mall Barbers which was on a different level to what I had previously experienced.  I was lucky enough to go to barber shows and meet so many incredible people in the industry that have really motivated me to continue and become better.  By the end of the course I really didn't know where my new hair cutting hair career could take me.  I worked for a while in an out of town Barbershop gaining more personal confidence, because I needed to get plenty of experience under my belt before working full time with the future possibility of giving up my day job. I gained valuable extra experience whilst working in these shops, watching YouTube & cutting my friends hair. My lucky break came when I was given the opportunity to run a shop on a Sunday and build my own clientele. A year has now passed since leaving College with my Qualification and I have slowly built up my regular clientele and am looking forward to the future & wondering where I will be in the next twelve months. My advice to anyone who is considering starting the interesting journey of Barbering would be to find a course that is right for you not necessarily being the most expensive are the best. Find a mentor that inspires, teaches you in a way to be the best you can. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there & get in a shop environment as quickly as possible by doing anything to help out, sweep the floors, make teas just to get that shop time, don’t get frustrated and give up because it can be tough at the start. Also invest in yourself make sure you put in the hours to learn new techniques, skills and don't stop learning. Finally have fun and you are never too old to start Barbering. Andy Rychlowski


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