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Groomed Academy Interviews Mike Taylor

Eric Way, founder of Groomed Academy South Africa, is currently in the UK. His first stop was at the magnificent Mike Taylor Academy in Poole, where he interviewed Mike himself. Mike is a massively experienced barber and businessman, who brings his expertise to the online courses available through Groomed Academy, which are run in conjunction with the Mike Taylor Academy and now offer dual certification in South Africa and the UK. This means even more career choices and exciting international prospects for barbers who graduate!

To find out more about completing an intensive, dual certification online barbering course, click HERE

To find out more about the awesome Groomed Academy photographic competition offering a trip to the UK as the main prize, click HERE

Read the interview with Mike Taylor below.

Eric: Congratulations on the phenomenal wins in the Modern Barber Awards!

Mike Taylor – Winner: Best business leader in Modern Barber awards

Academy – Winner: Best training in Modern Barber awards

What does this win mean to you and what gave you and the academy the winning edge?

Mike: The Modern Barber Awards are the perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate the quality of training we deliver. Winning for the third year in a row really validates all of the hard work that we put into our education and it’s great to show that not everything is in the big cities!

We work really hard to differentiate ourselves from other academies and ensure that our training is the perfect example of how education can meet commerciality. We don’t work like a conveyor belt system, we care for each of our learners and believe we have a personal responsibility to train them to a high enough standard to get a job when they leave.

Eric: Why did you start the academy and what it has taken to build Mike Taylor Academy into what it is today?

Mike: Mike Taylor Education has been developed over a number of years and I believe that is what has made it successful. We have taken no shortcuts, we’ve developed slowly over time to ensure it’s done right. We’ve grown a good client base to ensure our learners have enough clients and we will never overbook our courses so that we can make sure that all of our learners are getting enough practical experience throughout their course.

Eric: What are the most important qualities and skills for a modern barber to succeed?

Mike: I believe that the most important qualities and skills are having strong foundations. Too many new barbers aren’t taught the basics. It’s all well and good knowing how to fade now but short hair won’t be in fashion forever so understanding the foundations will put you in good stead for life - not just the next few years.

Eric: What is the skill that most barbers lack and the one that needs most work in today’s market?

Mike: Apart from the above - Hygiene! I really believe cleanliness is so important in the barbershop and not enough barbers keep their tools clean and sterilised and keep the shop clean and tidy. With the COVID pandemic, one positive thing that may come out of it is that peoples’ levels of hygiene have hopefully improved.

Eric: How have barbering trends evolved over the past few years?

Mike: I can definitely see more of a men’s hairdressing vibe coming back into barbering. Colours and perms are big with men currently and being able to do a blow-dry is vital in today’s barbershop.

Eric: Let’s talk about post-pandemic services. What the client is expecting in these times? How can today’s barber fulfil their needs?

Mike: I believe that cleanliness is key. Not everyone looks for the cheapest barbershop around - people want quality. Throughout the past 18 months hygienic and cleanliness in the barbershops has improved massively and in my view, many of these changes should stay - and will stay in my shops and academies. I think as a whole, we’ve all been educated on how easily germs can spread and many people will be more conscious of cleanliness and infection prevention moving forward.

Eric: How can barbers take a more business-minded approach to their daily work in order to increase their turnover and client retention?

Mike: Barbers shouldn’t be afraid to speak to their clients about what would/wouldn’t work for their hair and offer advice on retail and other services. We are the professionals and most clients like to be educated on what will work for them. I always explain to my learners that men are happy to pay £100 (nearly R2,000) for a nice aftershave so why wouldn’t they want to spend £15 (R295) on a hair product?! Usually, it’s not that clients don’t want to spend the money, it that clients just don’t understand why they need this product or that shampoo etc.

Eric: In South Africa we are currently faced with Level 4 Lockdown which has resulted in many clients not returning to the Barbershops and salons, what would be your suggestion on how to keep South African barbers and hairstylists motivated during these tough times and name a special offer you feel could be very attractive to lure clients back in to the premises?

Mike: I think its key for clients to feel safe. If you are wearing the correct PPE, social distancing properly, washing hands between clients etc then you are doing all you can for your clients. In the UK we have many clients that feel socially responsible to support small businesses and throughout lockdown our barbers received messages of support from their clients asking to buy gift vouchers or prepay for appointments to help financially support them. In these times people want to help people so as long as you’re doing everything you can then the clients will return.

To stay motivated - make the most of these lockdowns and quiet times and up skill. There is so much online education around at the moment including our online Education Zone so even in lockdowns you can update your knowledge, watch new techniques and get inspired.

Groomed Academy Online Courses

Sign up now for an online course with Groomed Academy and benefit from the wealth of international expertise that can supercharge your skills and business.

To find out more about completing an intensive, dual certification online barbering course, click HERE

To find out more about the awesome Groomed Academy photographic competition offering a trip to the UK as the main prize, click HERE

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WhatsApp: +27 71 352 3202


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