We are the selfie generation; where men find dates at the swipe of one photograph and follow instagram accounts of groomed models, footballers and TOWIE cast members. With this in mind, it is no surprise that the male grooming industry has erupted over the past five years. Keen to talk to someone who knew all about this, I sat down to chat to Ky’Cut Wilson, the award winning barber. Despite rubbing shoulders with the likes of Coldplay, Ky is overwhelmingly down to earth, floating between London and the Lake District. Proving that hard work, self belief and faith in others makes anything possible, this is one man with his feet firmly on the ground.
Where did your interest in barbering come from?
I 100% believe I got to where I am today because of the people that I have surrounded myself with. Staying humble and believing in myself and those who have shared their knowledge with me is the only way to progress in this industry. Keeping the faith in humanity and always creating time for a beer.
Tell us about your first steps into the industry?
I trained in Daniel Gray hairdressers in Kendal, The Lake District. They created an in-house training scheme which pushed me in the right direction. Following my gut I moved to an old mentor’s salon in London. After a year I realised community was important to me, so moved salons to one nearer to my home in East London. I was lucky enough to be offered a position at Percy and Reed East – Adam Reed’s new baby. I continued to progress, assisting Mr Reed and the creative team. Recently I decided to go freelance and I’m now opening my own private warehouse salon in East London, and owner of a salon in the Lake District where I elope to once a month. I love going back to Kandal and cutting hair for my old clients once a month. DJ’s, beers and old catch ups are always worth heading to the other side of the country for.
What is the most important part of the job for you?
I think the most important is my own learning or education. I am continually trying to work on the creative side of my brain, helping me push myself and my client’s experience. Passing my knowledge on is the next best thing!
Good answer! What is the most challenging part then?
I would say the biggest challenge is relaying a vision you have down on paper and making it reality. It’s important to accept that you can’t do everything on your own and delegating is the only way to move forward.
How does it feel to have won awards for your work?
Being nominated and recognised for something you have spent hours, weeks or even years perfecting is amazing. It’s an honour to know you peers are excited about what you do. The main goal is to do it for yourself; it’s your passion and your heart that goes into everything you do. Without that it’s a pointless exercise and your energy is way too important to waste.
Men’s grooming is getting as important as women’s; where does your inspiration come from when it comes to cutting and styling hair?
I would say learning the basic fundamentals is key, with this you understand how the modern hairstyles have adapted and the rest is up to your imagination. I’m a very visual hair stylist and I love enhancing natural beauty; creating sustainable, timeless looks with beautiful healthy condition. My woman’s inspiration always reverts back to Brigitte Bardot and my men’s to the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley.
How do you ensure your clients love what you create?
Consultation is the most important part to winning loyalty from clients. By understanding a client’s lifestyle, face shape and problem areas you can always deliver the perfect haircut. Planting the seed for future styles and appointments is always the best way to keep exciting your clients.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I’ve been honoured to work on some pretty amazing things with some incredibly talented creative’s and friends. I’ve been nominated for prestigious competitions, and worked backstage at some of the most exciting fashion weeks around the world. I’ve worked alongside artists on music videos, including Coldplay’s Charlie Brown and endless shoots and campaigns. But for me, my proudest moment has to be when I broke free and went freelance – becoming independent you realise all the hard work and endless hours you have put in have all been worth it. All that’s left then is for you to decide what you want to do with that freedom – creativity is back to where it belongs.
Great answer! So what’s next for you?
I’m always looking to learn; following mentors around the world learning invaluable hairdressing and life skills to pass on through education to others. Creating a private exclusive warehouse-concept salon, which I will live above in a homemade mezzanine, will give me the chance to offer other peers the freedom to work alongside me. This is only the beginning for me.
Finally then, what advice would you give someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Stay humble and be yourself. No egos will get you anywhere and team work is always key. Stay educated, always open minded and take things on your own path, don’t just copy what you see.
If Ky has inspired you to learn the art of barbering, why not take a look at the courses listed on the site? Remember everyone started somewhere, and even the best never stop learning.