Many of our readers will already know Alan from his columns in BarberNV, but for our new readers, Alan Findlay is one-half of the masterminds behind Glasgow barbers Rebel Rebel and the MADE barbering academy—established to train and inspire the next generation industry creatives.
Alan has had an incredible career in the industry working backstage at festivals, attending to athletes at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and educating on stage at barbering shows across Europe.
BNV: How has it been running MADE and have you always seen yourself as an educator?
AF: It’s been a lot of work putting everything in place to make sure we’re providing the standard of education we set out to do. All throughout my career I’ve wanted to share my knowledge and what I know.
For myself, I learn techniques that would work in a modern barbering sense, because the old ways of doing things were very fast and furious. This meant the standard was really poor and obviously in that type of business you have to charge really cheap prices and you were doing quantity over quality. This meant you weren’t getting any loyalty from your clientele and you were always chasing clients.
I’m really excited about what we’ve done so far and I’m happy with the way the education is going. I think young people coming into barbering are spoiled with the amount of choice they have when it comes to education.
I didn’t want them to do it just for the money, I wanted them to do it because of their love for the industry. I think when you’re passionate about what you do and you love what you do, and the money side of things comes anyway. We wanted a training academy that incorporated our Rebel Rebel ethos with the education.
BNV: What are your biggest inspirations?
AF: I think my biggest inspiration comes from the beauty and creativity in things—it can come in any shape or form. I think from a creative point of view you’re always thinking about how you can show off your barbering skills in a cool way.
I’m always looking at things in nature, things in TV and film, or music and subcultures. You know what’s going to be the next big thing. Cool stuff always starts off very underground.
This year we’re going through a bit of a renaissance, we’re trying to develop our art team and build the creativity and inspiration to produce amazing images and share them with the rest of the industry.
The other aspect is from somebody who has a lot of experience, I’m trying to share that experience with our younger guys, in hopes they are inspired so they inspire me. By taking the shackles off their creativity, to not be scared of making mistakes or being judged for what they’re doing. Having a fearless attitude towards producing something different and edgy. A lot of the younger guys in the industry are coming in with a fresh set of eyes, so they can show me things that will inspire me to create new looks and trends.
BNV: Rebel Rebel is such a recognisable brand. How have you shaped your identity over the years?
AF: It probably goes back to the first meeting I had with my business partner Colin. We sat down and tried to work out what we wanted to call ourselves. We had this idea of creating a brand that stands for being different and breaking the rules. Doing things in a way that breaks away from conveyor belt barbering.
We wanted to take more time, charge more money, have better-educated barbers, and have more pride in what they do as a barber. That’s where the name Rebel came from. Rebel Rebel is there to set a trailblazing path for barbering that hadn’t been done going back ten years ago.
BNV: What advice can you offer the next generation of barbering talent?
AF: I think people should come into this industry because they have a real passion for being creative, getting a job that gives you self-satisfaction, where you can put a smile on somebody’s face.
Don’t do it for the money, do it for the creative side, be an artist at what you do. If you try and blend skills that will make you better than the people around and give you pride in your work that you can’t buy with money.
I’ve been doing this ten years and I still wake up in the morning and enjoy what I do, and there are not many people who can say that about their job.
e-chair.com | Work anytime, anywhere, any place