Elvis Simon is a barber with 33 years experience as a salon owner and teacher of barbering in London, England. He has also founded the Quality Barbers Association, QBA, which is involved in raising the professionalism of barbers. His colleagues include some famous names in the UK barbering and hairdressing world such as Rudi Page the former sales manager of Dyke and Dryden, Derek Clements, former Artistic Director of Splinters International and MK a mens stylist with Andis. He has also worked on TV and film sets, first the 90s TV show “Dance Energy, where he planned the hair styles of the DJ Normski and then a film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Until Death. Where he was responsible for the hair styling of British actor Gary Beadle of East Enders fame.
Our conversation took place when he took a break during his short visit as he explored the potential of the Singapore market. Generally everyone needs a hair cut and his introduction to someone thinking of becoming a barber or hairdresser…
If you don’t like what you’re about to do, don’t do it. because this is something that even when you want to get out of you can’t
With the average haircut taking 45 minutes and the nature of being a barber bringing you into intimate contact with thousands, Elvis has learned a thing or two about people.
I’ve been doing this for thirty years. I’ve seen people evolve from really clever to really stupid and you know in thirty years. Man has not progressed he has regressed, unfortunately. Just got thicker and thicker.
This podcast covers a lot of ground in the black barbering industry.
As well as
- Why he founded the QBA and who else is involved
- The events that led him to becoming a barber, learning from his elders and opening his own barbershops
- How and the reasons why hairstyles have changed since the 60s and links to hairstyles dating back hundreds of years
- Using hair as a tool for personal branding and the reasons why footballers such as Paul Pogba, Djibril Cissé and Matteo Guendouzi.
- Being judged by your hairstyle and the effects of cultural biases
- Why Singapore is now looking attractive to an entrepreneurial barber from London
- The favour that got him into teaching and new opportunities
- The latest trend in men’s hair care scalp micro pigmentation
- Traditional black barbershop culture and how it is evolving to provide health information to the community
- The limits in China for black haircare in the 90s and early 2000s and the DIY and self-help approach
- Teaching and training other nationalities how to cut black people’s hair and what NBA players do in China
- The request for a (free) haircut
- Working in TV and Film and the challenges it posses
- Barber—client confidentiality and a story he can tell us
- The wisdom, knowledge and advice coming from the barber
- How to approach embarking on a new and challenging venture
Thanks to Elvis for that great insight into his plans for the future in Singapore and the business world of Black Hairdressing. We wish him all the best
You can follow Elvis Simon on Instagram @ebs748