Josh O’meara-Patel better known to the barbering community as Josh O.P, has opened his first training academy. The Stourbridge based barber’s work is acutely his own, not in the sense of any pretention but in the unique execution he showcases. There’s a subtlety counter-balanced by hardlines and striking texture complimented by bold colour and an air of natural showmanship.
This shop itself is the quintessential modern barbershop. The cream walls and light wooden panelling contrast beautifully with the darker furniture and flooring. All of these features work to create a breathable and comfortable environment; in essence, the shop has a fresh air to it. Aesthetically there’s a distinct sense of minimalism to the interior design, nothing being out-of-place or overwhelming any other element. The final result being a space that is dual parts modern chic, warm and inviting.
It would be hard to argue that there are many better environments, nor better mentors to immerse yourself with than Josh O.P. His confidence and ability are clear throughout, without even a single moment of hesitation. Josh is a man who knows his mission and moreover himself.
In our conversation with Josh, BarberNV asked him what inspired the academy, where his career is leading to and what he can offer students.
BNV: Has education always been a priority for you?
JO.P: To be honest, no. I try never to set out specifically to become anything or achieve anything other than simple happiness. I find setting specific goals can set you up for frustration, disappointment and self-loathing. Whereas, if you set out only to be happy you will find yourself at a constant level of contentment with your achievements, and in turn will become more successful. So, simply trying to be happy and better myself everyday lead to becoming an educator.
BNV: When did the concept for the academy come about and what was your inspiration?
JO.P: In terms of concept we wanted to build something that reflected myself and my philosophies. Something relaxed and home like. I wanted to create a home for modern barbering and men’s hairdressing, so the homely feel was something we were keen to capture. Much of the interior design was done by my better half Verity-Rose Greene who took my concept on board and brought it to life.
BNV: What was it like from concept to actuality with the academy?
JO.P: In terms of translating our concepts to real life, I didn’t find it much of a challenge. As previously stated, I try to never set exact goals as to minimalise any restrictions and limitations. Maintaining a clear vision of where we’re going, without limiting it to an exact path to follow I can be confident the end result will look good, then I find that the journey is a lot easier.
BNV: How was it building your brand to this point?
JO.P: Building the brand. Where to begin? It was around two-and-a-half-years-ago now that I began building my brand from scratch. Dropping out of university and buying a pair of clippers and cutting hair in my kitchen – I was full of passion and energy. I had fallen in love with the craft, the industry and the feeling of being a free artist. For a while this raw passion fuelled much of the growth. The next year would take me from working in my kitchen for free to a very reputable barbershop.
Only six months after this I was asked to educate for the first time. Travelling to Rotterdam, again riding the wave of raw passion and what I can only describe as an unpredicted hidden natural talent. I will be the first to admit at this stage looking back I had very little knowledge and understanding not only of how I cut hair but of myself as a person. However, upon returning from my first trip I received an unprecedented number of messages in regards to me offering education. And so, in my eyes, my true journey and my true career began.
I had fallen in love with barbering on a whole new level. And so, determined to build on my foundation of passion and raw talent I began to study. I took time out after work for weeks on end analysing myself, my mind and the way I worked. In doing this I managed to build on my foundations and begin to gain psychological solidarity. Which, for me is maintaining a clear and confident mindset aligned with a true understanding to my techniques and processes. It may sound ridiculous to some, but I speak from experience, without this self-analysis I would not have built my career and my brand to the level it is now. Through social media I have built @barber.josh.o.p into a global brand within the industry.
BNV: What does it mean to you to be an educator?
JO.P: To me being an educator is the greatest honour I could ever wish for. I am able to travel the world doing what I love. Being able not only to watch people grow both technically and psychologically, but also to be the cause of this growth is nothing short of an honour. I’m not an educator for myself. I don’t do this for me, I do it to help build our great industry. I do this to help everyone realise they are amazing and what they do every day is worth something. I am in this to build confidence and minimalise self-inflicted pressure. Having said this, I feel not only do I possess a natural ability within the artistry of barbering, but I also possess a natural ability to teach. I feel education is something you are born to do, so being an educator, being a psychological coach and being a friend to peers all over the globe is the most fulfilling experience.
BNV: What will it mean to attend your academy and what will the main aim of your students be?
JO.P: In attending our academy we aim to provide you with psychological solidarity. A consistently controlled, clear and confident mindset aligned with a true understanding of your techniques and processes. We aim to provide you with a platform, a foundation of simple and systematic techniques and a change of mindset in order for you to build a successful career.
BNV: What are you hoping the impact of the academy will be and how will you measure it?
JO.P: The impact I want our academy to have is to completely change the way our students think. Not only in terms of your thought processes during your haircut, but also your mindset and outlook prior to your haircuts and in life in general. We want everyone in the industry and the world to be sure of themselves.
Never full of yourself, but everyone deserves to be secure and confident in their own abilities. We want to install a new level of confidence in people. Building on the psychological solidarity, so everyone can make the most of their abilities. It is not very often that I see barbers who lack ability, but it is far too often that I see barbers who lack confidence. We want to provide people with the confidence to follow their own paths.
BNV: Is there anything you’ll offer that maybe isn’t taught at other academies?
JO.P: Alongside the technical coaching we offer bespoke psychological coaching that stretches beyond the course. We help you to truly understand your own idea of true success. Because if you don’t understand what it will take to make you happy how do you ever expect to gain true success? Education is not simply business, it’s about building relationships.