sofie 9When I caught up with Sofie at the International Beauty Show, it was hot off the back of her having won BarberCon’s best female barber of the year award – a coveted prize which shows you the calibre of barber that we’re dealing with here.

Almost every barber has a fight on their hands if they want to make it to the top, but as a minority within the industry, female barbers often find that this struggle is amplified. I’ve met a lot of formidable women barbers, each one with their own fascinating story to tell, and I’m always delighted to share their stories with you here. So without further ado, let’s get to know Sofie.

Barbering: Something that makes you want to wake up in the morning

Sofie started as a hairdresser, but decided to transition into barbering after she found that hairdressing just wasn’t sparking the excitement and creativity that she looks for in a career. I’ve heard similar stories before from both male and female barbers, and I wanted to know more about how the transition happened and what made her jump from one side of the hair styling industry to the other:

“I started doing hair about seven years ago: the first year I got into cosmetology, and going through that first year was a little bit tough because I couldn’t find that feeling where you’re just excited to get up every day, go to work, and have a good time. So, the second year I thought before I give it all up, let me try men’s hair and see how that works. I jumped into a barbershop, and it was probably one of the most uncomfortable and intimidating moves I’ve done, working by myself as a female, with all guys who had way more experience than I have. Pretty soon after that it developed into a passion where it was challenging, it was fast-paced and it made me want to go to work and keep learning. And my main focus was just to do what I could and try to make it work – because it was fun and I enjoyed it”.

With that kind of work ethic, Sofie winning the best female barber award won’t have come as a surprise to many of you – it’s clear that she deserves the recognition. For her though, it was a total shock, not least because she had only gone to showcase her work. So how did it feel to suddenly be told she’d won a huge barbering prize?

“I was completely speechless. To be recognised after all these years of knowing how hard it is first of all to be a barber, but then to be a female which made it extremely difficult in the beginning”. I also asked her whether she had a theory as to why she’d won, and she told me that what she puts out is very real, never sugar-coating anything, and focusing on connecting with others who are still learning and giving them advice, providing inspirational content and the energy to keep going.

Of course, aside from giving a lot back to the barbering community and helping others, Sofie also crafts exceptional haircuts. “That’s the plus side, because you have to! We are the minority of this entire industry in just the barbering world alone, so we’ve got to cut twice as hard. That helped me separate myself from everyone else”.

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The rise of female barbers

So, while seeing a woman cutting hair on the barbershop floor used to be a rare occurrence, it’s becoming a lot more common, with the growth of the industry making room for a very welcome increase in diversity:

“Now I’m seeing that growth in a lot of States where women are not being afraid anymore, and they’re coming into this world and trying to hold their own. It’s starting to change where people aren’t just saying ‘oh, you’re good for a girl’ – no, you’re good, period. And that’s what it should be, it shouldn’t be segregated… ‘you’re okay for a chick’. But it’s those little things that have pushed me to where I am now; you’ve got to find those moments that drive you even further.”

Within Sofie’s own career, she’s found a lot of different ways to help people find that drive to move forward, including a YouTube channel featuring educational how to videos: “I think it’s important to show people that you’re not just taking shortcuts and making it look nice. I represent BaByliss for barbers, and it’s important for me to show that I’m actually using these tools to do things. People want to feel like it’s real and attainable. I want to break it down and make it easy, because I know what it’s like to just be handed a pair of clippers and not really know the specs or what is out there. I break down toll knowledge because I think it’s important for us to understand why we’re using it so we can do it better.”

Most of these videos can be found on Sofie’s Instagram – staygold31, where every barber should be following her work! Alongside inspirational posts, you’ll find information about the BaByliss brand that she’s an ambassador for. I know that picking up a great ambassador role is a big dream for many barbers, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to find out how Sofie landed the job:

“A lot of companies are looking for people who can already sell themselves. The first four or five years I’ve just built my page off of things that I enjoy. You have to find what’s pure to you and that’s how you’re going to build an audience, because people want to follow real people. BaByliss are looking for people who can already promote themselves. People were sceptical at the time – I was sceptical – but I took the risk and I’m so glad I did.”

BaByliss have certainly grown into a very credible brand over the past few years, and it’s great that we’re starting to see barbers embrace another set of tools -after all, the more diversity there is in your clipper collection, the more opportunities you have to provide different styles. For Sofie, this had meant taking an educational role, getting up on stage and showing what these clippers can do.

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The final element to Sofie’s work is building her personal brand, with a range of Stay Gold pins for barbers to wear on their aprons. If you want to support her work then you can check these out on Instagram, although she also has a brand new website coming soon. She’s also been focusing on taking great photos in order to better promote herself:

“It came with cutting hair. I used to use an iPhone, but with higher quality photography you can not only put your work out there better, but also study your haircuts a little more, see the details. Different camera settings, new things that you can do. Overall, create a better portfolio for yourself, and I think that’s really important as well as your presentation. You know you could be a good barber but if you don’t have good presentation how are you going to get clientele, build business opportunities. People will notice the little details, it separates pages apart because of the quality that you invest in yourself.”

Reflecting on the industry

Before I let Sofie shoot off and get back on stage, I have one final question to ask: what she thinks of the state of the industry today. Getting a professional barber’s insight on the industry today is always informative since things have changed so much in recent years. With that in mind, and to embrace the positive spirit of the International Beauty Show I asked Sofie what she loves about the industry:

“How much men’s hair has grown. Because a little while ago men weren’t into their hair as much, but that stigma for men who want to get their eyebrows done, that’s gone. Now men want to look better and feel better. Men are getting their hair cut three or four times as much as women now, so the industry is coming up to the same point as female hairdressing.”

Thanks for taking the time to get to know another wonderful up and coming barbering – young barbers like Sofie bring so much energy and enthusiasm to the career that we all have something to learn from them! Don’t forget to find her on Instagram as StayGold31.



Written by Larry the Barber Man