BOSS TALK- Feb 2020

What started as a hobby for Daniel at the age of fourteen, is now the reason he is recognised daily.

How did you get into barbering?

The Christmas after my father passed at the age of fourteen, I was given a pair of clippers to save money by cutting hair from home.

We were a household of eight and a regular haircut wasn’t financially viable. My kitchen became my first salon, looking after my family and friends’ hair. Many mistakes were made as you can imagine, but cutting hair after school was something I looked forward to.

One day I was treating myself to a haircut at my local barbers with the money I had earned. During the haircut, the barber and I spoke about the craft of hairdressing and I thought to myself ‘he talks to his friends all day long and makes them look and feel amazing.’ I went from a Saturday boy to missing school to learn hair (not recommended), but I was addicted.

My passion only grew and so did my skills. After getting to grips with the basics it became clear that I could ‘create’ every day. I could shape and craft with the same artistic standards, but the positive re-enforcement I received from family and friends after a cut was instant and addictive.

Looking back, I would not have chosen to pursue anything else.

What is a ‘stand out’ moment for you?

One moment that stands out is in my first few years as an educator on stage when the audience gave me a standing ovation after I finished my two-hour seminar. With every clap my heart lit up. The feeling that I had connected with so many barbers and hairdressers was terrific.

Sometimes cutting hair means so much more than a haircut, it’s a memory, an imprint on your life.

A moment I want to share is when I cut my brother’s hair for the last time. He died very young, a young rock star. He had an open coffin, and at my mother’s wish I cut a lock of his hair for her to treasure. I styled his long, blonde Kurt Cobain hair one last time. A sad moment but such a special moment in my life.

What advice do you wish you’d been given?

I wish someone had advised me to stick out the early days, and to understand it just gets better and better. Knowing this would have stopped me worrying all the time. The worry of never getting any good at cutting and colouring and continually questioning if I will remember all of the techniques.

Tell us about your appearances on TV.

With my first salon, I had seen a competition. After queuing up at an audition challenge in London with 500 other hairdressers, I was chosen to be one of 10 that had such a wild adventure filming a 10-part series called Great British Hairdresser. An experience that I will never forget and one day my great-grandchildren will be able to watch.

I love working on and being behind the scenes on TV. It’s a short documentary of your life and your career I guess.

My next onscreen appearance was then on the show Body Fixers. We filmed 20 shows and what a ride that was — tears, fears, laughter and smiles. Adrenaline moments with deep anxiety moments too.

I would face daily challenges which you would rarely come across day after day, client after client. From heart-wrenching hair loss to a desperation to feel beautiful and feel normal, I learnt a new skill to give confidence back. Obviously I was nervous that home viewers may see me fail live on TV if my client was unhappy or I couldn’t help them, but it was a great experience.

Every time I revealed the mirror to the guests I was overwhelmed with emotions and thanks, which you rarely get at a till. The people I got to meet were incredible, from survivors of life-threatening illnesses, to a transgender person, to a reality TV star.

If an opportunity comes along and someone says ‘can you do this?’ Always say yes, and if you don’t know how to do what they are asking to, go to learn and practice it and come back with something amazing.

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