With big brand names like Toni & Guy dominating the European hair scene, the skill of Afro-Caribbean barbering has until very recently gone largely unrecognised on these shores as both a skill and a service.
Now, Mark Maciver, better known as SliderCuts, is at the forefront of establishing Afro-Caribbean barbershops as a place for creativity and culture. After working in the trade for 18 years, SliderCuts has stacked up a powerful client list including Anthony Joshua, Stormzy, Tinie Tempah and even NBA legend LeBron James during London 2012.
With over 50k followers on Instagram, SliderCuts has become synonymous with elite-level barbering.
VERSUS caught up with the man behind the SliderCuts brand Mark Maciver, where he gave aspirant barbers and entrepreneurs – from all over Europe – the inside track on how to build a big-brand barbershop.
VERSUS: Your client list is crazy. How did you build up a reputation as the guy in the UK barbershop scene?
Mark Maciver: A lot of these relationships developed from maintaining a good standard of barbershop fundamentals. Respectful service can serve you in the long run. I started cutting Anthony Joshua, Reggie Yates and Tinie Tempah as they’d seen my work on my Instagram, liked what I did and how I conducted myself and my business.
Your work even spread across the Atlantic to LeBron James?
I ended up cutting Lebron James and ultimately the whole USA Basketball team during London 2012 as one of my regulars got a scholarship to play basketball in the US and later went on to play in the NBA. And when some of the players were looking for a
good, local barber whilst they were in London for the Olympics, he recommended me.
Stormzy is another big one…
Stormzy and I connected because of a project I was working on with Maya Jama. He saw one of my videos, which then led to a text saying, “Are you available bro?” – and I guess the rest is history.
Have you got a favourite moment from your career so far?
There are so many memorable moments, but I think that’s because of all the friendships I’ve made as a result. As a barber, you are genuinely invested in the lives of your clients. You aim to serve their needs during all the major events in their lives, so you naturally form a real bond. You hear stories of the good and the bad. From graduations, engagements, and league matches; to divorces, business failures and family losses. Some of my longest customers have been with me for about 15 years, so I both celebrate with them and mourn with them, as you are real part of their lives
– and vice versa.
What technical advice do you have for aspirant barbers?
Always cater to the client. Afro hair is very different to European hair. People with European hair can take a clean shave, whereas people with Afro hair can’t. The general rule of thumb is to not use the razor blade on black people’s skin! And don’t get caught up focusing on or trying to perfect one area. Move on, finish the haircut, then come back to that area at the end with a fresh eye.
One thing people always mention to me is that they often see these “celebrities” sitting in the shop alongside other customers. But I think that’s down to the environment of the shop, the shop is a free and equal space, so people feel comfortable enough to be themselves. The environment is always respectful. The environment creates authentic relationships, which are key and you have to maintain; by doing the things you’ve always done. And lastly, reliability, good service and fresh trims – a necessary combination for all barbers and businesses!
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