Opening your own Barbershop: Q&A

Chris Todd of Todd’s Chop Shop, North East England

We chat to Chris Todd, owner of Todd’s Chop Shop on the process and lessons behind the journey of opening your own barbershop

If you had to distill opening your own barbershop into 3 key steps what would they be?

Do your research. What do customers want. Appointments, walk ins? Both? I spoke to my regulars, because at the end of the day, they pay your wages. I’ll do appointments, my partner does walk ins. Best of both. This caters for both the busy working guys, and the lads who just want a quick trim.

There’s a lot more to it than just opening up. Make sure you focus around your customers. I found that keeping my clientele comfortable through the transition from old shop, to home cutting building up to opening my own place, was a massive help for me. It keeps you sane through the stress too!

And finally, enjoy it. Take the stressful parts on the chin, and work towards that end goal.

What tips would you give to other barbers looking to open a shop?

  • Plan it properly. Find out what steps you need to take. 
  • Don’t try to skip things. They’ll bite you in the ass. Be patient. Don’t rush it. 
  • Be prepared for the setbacks, they happen. 
  • Don’t be afraid to take the jump. It’s all about having the balls. 
  • If you’re a decent barber with a good bit of crack on with customers, people will come.
  • From cutting at home, to opening a new place. Keep your customers comfortable. People go where they want to go, and they tend to stick with their barber. 

Have you learned any important lessons from the process?

Not everyone who says they’ll support you, will actually support you. Don’t let that set you back. I have previously put my trust in the wrong people, so if anything I’ve learned a lot about friends as well as running a business. I also found that relationships with customers are absolutely vital. A lot of my customers, I could go for a pint with now. That’s what I want: A place for people to come for a bit banter and a laugh, not just a hair cut in-and-out. 

Any unexpected triumphs?

Yeah! I have been pleasantly surprised at how much support I’ve had throughout. Despite cutting from home, I’ve been blown away at how many people have followed me. It’s always nice. I was always told people will go where they want to go. It’s the best feeling in the world having people stick with you and to build relationships and friendships with people who just came for a hair cut. To us. It’s more than just a hair cut, it’s a bond. 

Finally, a bit about Todd’s Chop Shop…

So, Todd’s Chop Shop. It’s been a name I’ve loved since I told my mates I was going to train as a barber, and now me and my partner have stuck with it. I trained at SB Barbering Academy, funnily enough, by my missus. She’s stuck with me now so I must have been doing something right! I’ve been cutting coming up to 3 years now and my partner has been on the tools for well over 10 years. She’d kill me if I said the exact amount of years! We wanted our own shop where people can come and chill. There’s nothing worse than the tense environment where people are scared to talk while barbers are working. It’s all about the vibe of the place. I have such a wide range of customers from kids to elderly gents. The main thing for the shop, is that they all feel comfortable, that is what it’s all about for me. Enjoying what you do, and having others enjoy it with you!

Thanks to Chris Todd for his insights. Stay tuned for future pieces on the process of opening your own barbershop…

Until then, tight fades

Dark Stag Team

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