Your family was also in the hair industry...How many years of experience have you had in the industry?
Barber Ball: My grandfather was an OG Shanghai barber. My grandfather, father who was a stylist and my mother all worked together. I naturally grew up in the barbershop and have been cutting hair since 1999.
Handsome Factory went from you being the only barber to 27 and counting…It’s really expanded in the past 5 years and you’ve been a teacher and leader to so many new next generation barbers. How did it all begin?
Barber Ball: I was already comfortably working as a top stylist in a very reputable establishment with a large client base. I remember my friend Brian approached me to start working as a barber at Handsome Factory and although this would mean starting from scratch as a barber in a new shop, I trusted in him because we had known each other for quite some time and I really wanted to see the authentic classic barbering culture happen in Hong Kong. I only requested a bare minimum salary, flew to Toronto to learn from the best and the rest is history!
Can you tell the next generation of barbers what the key is to being a good barber?
Barber Ball: It’s important for all barbers to be punctual and serve the customers with all their heart. Every day is a learning process so you need to be passionate about what you do, love what you do, give all your heart, have the desire to improve yourself, travel to different places to learn more and combine all the skills you have and the new skills you’ve learnt to improve on yourself and be able to be the best barber for your clients.
There’s a huge new trend on barbershops popping up. What makes Handsome Factory different?
Barber Ball: At Handsome Factory, we have a very strong back end of things: management, marketing, shopkeepers, a really good team, the combination is good. Our barbers are passionate about improving themselves and becoming better barbers. The vibe is amazing. We are like 1 family from the bottom to the top…. we all work so hard! Our common goal is to promote the authentic barbering culture!
You’ve studied the art of barbering from some of the best from Canada and London. What did you learn and what did you find was different?
Barber Ball: In Canada they do a lot of old school fading.
Myself personally, I’m a fan of the old school classic cuts.
In London I saw a lot more trendier haircuts: crab cut, bowl out fade, more scissor cuts for the top of the hair, etc…
In Hong Kong I combined everything I’ve learnt from all my experiences all around to make it the best combination I think is good for my customer. I also want to say that after going to these places I’ve realized that our barbers are the same as the places I’ve visited.
I’m proud to say that our standards are on par with world class standards. When I was in London I got to meet a lot of new friends of different nationalities and they said it’s really amazing what we’re doing here.
Even though people feel barbering has become a trend the last 6 years, I want people to know that this barbering culture is not a passing trend. It’s here to stay and it’s been around forever. People just forgot about it and only recently have they thought it was a trend.
What’s something you want customers to know when they come to handsome factory
Barber Ball: When you come to Handsome Factory, we treat everyone equally as good….to make them feel comfortable, feel happy, and to give them the best cut/services we can.
Have a better idea of what you want before you come in, consult with us on the style you want.
Sometimes it’s not possible to achieve that particular style with your hair type so we’ll give them a detailed consultation to explain their particular situation on their head shape, hair shape, type of hair, skin type (ie if a skin fade is suitable) pompadour, wet shave etc…..we need to consult thoroughly so it’s important to really talk it through with us. Communication is key!