Q&A With Bethan AKA WitchFades

  • Insights from the pattern queen...

    Questions and Answers with Bethan AKA @WitchFades

We take a second to sit down with the star of recent launch content for Dark Stag’s new styling range, ASK YOUR BARBER

Welcome Bethan! 

Let’s start with a bit about your history in hair and the background to your barbering! Can you outline your barbering career, your experience and background?

I’d love to have a wonderful story about wanting to become a barber from a young age and finding my perfect job straight away… however, I very much fell into barbering.

I started out in Hairdressing purely because I had been kicked out of college and the hair department were the only ones that would go near me! I did hairdressing for as short amount of time as possible, purely because I was always compared to my sister, who is also a hairdresser.

I didn’t want to stay in hairdressing but I didn’t know what else to do. So I started to cut some of the lads hair in my parents conservatory for a fiver and taught myself to “cut men’s hair”.

After a short amount of time I went for an interview and somehow landed myself a job in my first barbershop! When I turned up with no clippers on my first day I knew I was out of my depth.

Since then I have pushed myself to learn and improve in every aspect of the job, scissor work, clipper, customer service, anything.

Now after 15 years of cutting I kinda know what I’m doing. But I still push to learn and improve at every opportunity.

Are there any key choices that led to where you are now and your level of expertise?

As I mentioned previously, my sister is a hairdresser. Being the youngest I was always compared to my two sisters and always felt like I was competing with them, especially as there’s such a big age gap between them and me.

This pushed me to be the best barber I could possibly be, or at least try to be an alright one!

However one stand out moment that I know pushed me to where I am now has to be the first time someone came into a shop I was working in and asked if anyone could do patterns in the hair. I lied… I told this woman I could and I convinced her to have something much simpler that what she had wanted. It came out okay-ish… she was happy.

That moment pushed me to want to practice, learn and perfect patterns. That was 6 years ago.

Fast forward to now and my design work is getting recognised by industry greats, shared by huge clipper companies, reposted by the biggest magazines and I’m standing on stage teaching others what I’ve made up in my head for the last few years!

It may be a cliche, but please – tell us! What do you love about barbering? 

I have the usual cliche loves for barbering. I’ve met some amazing people, both clients and colleagues. I get to make people feel good about themselves everyday. But for me, I have always been a big art lover. So the creativity has to be the best part of barbering.

I spend free time doodling and drawing, a lot of the lockdowns were full of painting for me. So to be able to create something bespoke for each person is amazing. My art gets seen by everyone that person walks past, which is incredible to me.

For a while I was stagnant and bored. I had made a point of perfecting the skin fade crop, this made my days extremely predictable. While I still had fun with my clients the cuts became boring.

Then lockdowns happened. People’s hair grew.

I decided to ask people if I could try different things with their hair, it seemed such a shame to waste so many good canvases. I also offered the occasional free trims to some people to just let me just do what I wanted with the promise I’d change it after.

I suppose some would say my specialised area would be patterns/design work. I would just say creative cuts. I have built a following in Southampton and become the known person to go to for patterns. Which is insane! It’s slowly becoming more creative cuts rather than just a design on the side/nape. It makes my day so interesting because I have such a variety of cuts in my chair now.

Tell us about some glory days!

What has been the coolest thing you have done within barbering? Is there a particularly proud career memory for you?

This last few year have been full of insane moments for me!! Here’s a list that makes me sooo proud!!

  • I had an article online with Modern Barber about barbers mental health while returning to work after lockdowns.
  • Becoming a prospect for The Lions Barber Collective.
  • Cutting with The Lions Barber Collective.
  • Placing in the finals for British Master Barbers 2021.
  • Having a printed article in Modern Barber talking all about imposter syndrome and how it affects everyone in the industry from the top of the chain right to the simple high street barbers.
  • Being part of Modern Barbers “Best Team 2022”
  • I got to cut on stage for Modern Barber twice this year! First time was at BarberFest and the second was at Salon International, which has to be the most insane thing to ever come out of my mouth!
  • Completed training with Hair Has No Gender, and have made Cresswell Barber Co THE safe place and most welcoming place for anyone regardless of the gender or sexuality.

And now wrapping up the year by becoming an ambassador for Dark Stag!

While I’m proud of all the crazy industry stuff that has happened over the last few years… The thing I am most proud of is my dedication to my clients.

I have spent 15 years building my knowledge and skills but also building my client base. I am fortunate enough to be fully booked with a waiting list every day. I have known some of these people for half my life and I’m so thankful to have such a lovely loyal bunch of humans that choose me and my chair every time.

I never take these people for granted, especially with how many barbers there are out there now a days.

Moving on to Dark Stag’s ASK YOUR BARBER range…

What attracted you to getting involved with the launch of the ASK YOUR BARBER styling range?

After using some of the Dark Stag tools and being impressed with the quality and affordability I knew their products would stand up to the reputation and they haven’t disappointed.

All 4 products are beautiful to work with, clients love them, the cost of buying stock isn’t astronomical meaning you don’t have to forward the cost onto your clients. It’s a win for everyone!

Which ASK YOUR BARBER product was your favourite and why?

It’s a coin toss between the texture powder and the sea salt spray!!! I’m a sucker for heavy texture cuts. It doesn’t matter if it’s a crop or a mullet, if it requires a bucket load of texture I’m all over it.

Both products make styling a textured cut so effortless. Which is perfect for my clients, who don’t want to spend ages trying to recreate what I did to their hair every morning.

My favourite thing about the sea salt spray is the smell, my god it’s amazing and it’s not tacky or too drying in the hair. Perfect for those shaggy messy longer cuts and mullets that are floating about now and perfect for curls.

And the texture powder is just, *chefs kiss*! It doesn’t got oddly greasy in the hair like a lot of others out there nor does it’s irritate my clients scalps from being so drying! It just works so damn well!

Barbering always evolves. Any style/trend forecasting?

I think over the next year there’s going to be a shift in the industry and the styles/cuts we have in our chairs.

With the cost of living going the way it is unfortunately haircuts are going to be more spaced out and I think we’re going to see a lot more length in cuts. Which I’m here for!

A lot more lived in texture, rugged, people working with their curls, man buns, long lions manes, mullets and shags. Of course the trusty skin fade will still be hanging around but I think a lot more people will opt for a taper fade as they are much less maintenance.

The trusty buzz cut/two grade will be a staple, it’s already creeping it’s way in at our shop. Think 90’s skater/grunge mixed with early 2000s indie and add just a dash of practical cost cutting but make it fashion.

That is going to be 2023.

I’m excited for it.

Thanks very much to Witchfades, Dark Stag ambassador and all round great barber. 

To see more expert barbering and patterns from Bethan, follow her insta on @witchfades

Check out her intro videos to all four ASK YOUR BARBER styling products in video below!

Hit the button below to register as a barber for starter deals, news, and exclusive barber pricing on the ASK YOUR BARBER range!

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