How did Download come about? I was actually on my way to Barber Connect when I got a call from Simon (Bones) Bethel of Sandyman Chop Shop in Exeter. He hosted a pop-up shop at Download last year and wanted to help me raise awareness and money for Armour to Barber – a movement that I run that’s helping former service personnel to find new careers in the barber industry. I practically bit his hand off at the chance to attend Download! A sincere thank you has to be given to him.
Is this your first pop-up? I’ve experimented with pop-up barbershops before, especially at beard and moustache championships and with education with my friends at The Bluebeards Revenge, but Download is by far the biggest I’ve attended. These events always create great opportunities to mingle with like-minded barbers and learn more about the talent that’s out there. I’d highly recommend them to anyone that hasn’t tried it before.
Can you tell us about the experience? We spent more or less a week at Download, including set up and pull down. I slept in my van at night like a true festival fan! The days were great fun, with guys and girls coming in to the guest area where we were based for fresh haircuts, undercuts and beard trims to try and cool themselves down and escape the heat. We even had a few of the bands stop by for a freshen up, including the guys from Bury Tomorrow. To help raise money for Armour to Barber, we were also selling festival must-haves by The Bluebeards Revenge – the antiperspirants and sea salt sprays were a massive hit! I even got a chance to catch Guns ‘n’ Roses which was a real highlight. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and remind myself how lucky I am to work in this industry.
What did you get out of the experience? These kinds of experiences always help to keep my passion for barbering alive. They remind me of how exciting this industry is and how many opportunities it can provide. I’ve always enjoyed the conversation and buzz of working in a barbershop, but sometimes you have to change your scenery; pop-up shops are the perfect escape. I spent the week with a bunch of barbers that are masters of their trade and when you spend time with this calibre of talent you always come away with a few new tricks too.
Are there any plans for future pop-ups? I’m always on the hunt for new and exciting pop-up opportunities, especially if it means I get to meet new and exciting people and raise more awareness for Armour to Barber. The next venture for me is to the Southwest Beard and Moustache Championships in Paignton. After that, who knows, maybe Boardmasters? Or even Glastonbury?!
- Armour to Barber FB @armour2barber T @armourbarber IG @armourtobarber
- Hamilton’s Elite Barbershop FB @hamiltonselitebarbershop T @Hamiltonsbarber IG @hamiltonsbarbers
- Sandyman Chop Shop FB @Sandymanchopshop T @sandymanchopshop IG @xandymanchopofficial
- Bluebeards Revenge FB @bluebeardsrevenge T @thebluebeards IG @thebluebeards