Written by Shaun Lim
Thursday, 24 March 2016 09:15
Editor's Note: It's a classic story. Someone has an idea. The idea is fed by imagination. The imagination transforms into action. Action is rewarded. The rewards give birth to more ideas. The cycle continues. That's Stay Traditional Barber and Shop's story. In this feature, we talk to head barber Bryant Leong. Follow their journey on Instagram here, but for now, read on.
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Bryant Leong, and I cut hair at the Stay Traditional Barber and Shop. I majored in Audio Engineer with dreams of being a producer and song writer, to tour in punk bands and just get my message out to the world with music. But it all changed as soon as I realize how the industry that I loved so much and that I was pursuing, is almost nonexistent in our country, therefore thinking of the next best career to move on in life. Either taking up an apprenticeship as a tattooer or the Singaporean Army. Never would I imagine myself "cutting hair".
When did your interest begin?
It was November 2012, whilst walking down the streets of Oxford. My observations became imaginations. It occurred to me that the Brits had a nice slick side parts, very high and tight on the sides. Cut the long story short, I decided to buy a set of Remington clippers, thinking I could cut my own hair. I grew fond of the hairdo, products and blowing techniques it took to form the look. Until one afternoon my friend said he was in need of a haircut, so I suggested he gave me a go. The rest is history.
How did you start developing your skills?
Started off trashing up my friends hair, from toilets, to outside of their houses and to eventually my garage, where I built my amateur career as a self-taught barber, learning only by trying and watching how other barbers achieve what they called a 'Fade'. The power of social media played a very big part of what made me who I am today. Posted a few pictures on Instagram, asking people who are willing to give it a try. And one by one, people started showing up in my garage, where I stacked four plastic chairs under a florescent lamp and a stand fan, with my cutting tools. Basically I started cutting with no basic knowledge, but just a lot of trial and error to get where I am today.
Who are the Stay Traditional Team?
Team Stay Traditional consist of seven of my closest friends who came under my apprenticeship, my senior barber Singhaw, my three junior barbers Hafiz Salim, Eleazar Relex and Ryan Elicay, my shop manager Lester Ong, marketing guy Nafi Amir and myself as head barber.
How has the response been?
In the three years of picking up barbering and eventually opening my own shop, teaching my closest friends to cut hair, and building the name, the response has been overwhelming. It was a challenging move to quit my day job and focus on something I taught myself to do, but it was worth it due to the amount of support I've received from friends, family and clients.
What are the challenges faced?
The only challenge I faced during the whole process of running this shop, is hiring the wrong person to join the team. Always build your dream team, don't settle for someone who can just work, settle for who fits your team best.
Anything you'd like to say to be public? Both those who has been and yet to pay a visit to the barbershop?
We are proud of what we do and who we are, what you see is what you get. How you see us at work or outside, is who we really are. Just real people. We strive in giving you all the best haircuts and the best service. Barbering is all about taking care of the people and that's exactly what we do, not from a script, we do it the way we do it.
For those who haven't had an experience in our humble shop, we are the nicest scariest looking people around.
We are located at Spg 21, Gadong Central, Menglait, Unit 03 (Next to KFC).
Any future plans for Stay Tradional Barbershop?
The future is now, we are currently building our second shop located at Rimba Giant in order to reach a wider audience. And to give the people what they want. we will be launching our soft opening on the 16th of April 2016.
So what are ya'll waiting for, #getyourdamncuts today.