A conversation with SHARPS Barbers
31 Jul 2016
Originating from the States, SHARPS pioneered the movement in new-school barbering in the UK. For them, “Grooming sounds stuffy and boring,” so SHARPS does “PREP.” Why? Well, according to SHARPS, being prepared in life makes all the difference.
Since first launching with a store in Fitzrovia, SHARPS has expanded with stores in Soho and residencies in TOPMAN on Oxford Street and Ben Sherman. Not only are they considered one of the best barbers in the world, but they also serve up a pretty decent coffee too.
We caught up with the SHARPS team at their flagship store to find out what they love about what they do and running a business in Fitzrovia.
Introducing, Ricki McBride the General Manager, Al Wildblood, Coffee Shop Manager, and Millie and Nick, the Barbers...
Tell us a little bit more about a typical Sharps customer?
Ricki: Fitzrovia professionals are savvy; we aim to attract those with a keen eye for well crafted coffee and cuts.
And what’s the difference between ‘grooming’ and ‘prep’?
Ricki: Grooming is the art of finishing preparation.
How has coffee enhanced your offering?
Al the Barista: We aim to take the same care with our coffee as with our barbering. Our coffee is roasted by Europe's best at the Barn, Berlin, and it's brewed on a rare Kees Van Der Westen Triplette Machine. The coffee bar has a reputation as one of London's finest specialty coffee shops in it's own right. It's great to be looked after properly.
What’s the best bit of your day?
Al the Barista: Early Morning when I'm dialing in the coffee recipe for the day. Fitzrovia is quietly sleeping, and I have it all to myself.
Tell us about the best conversation you’ve had with a customer
Millie the Barber: Mine has to be a pretty lively debate with a client, which resulted in the positive decision to get rid of a Trump comb-over!
Al the Barista: We have a team of documentary producers in every day creating a series on the origin of life. The stories of unbelievable chance that have led us to our present continue to astound us.
What do you love about this location?
Ricki: It's the local feel in the heart of the city. Fitzrovia isn't your number one tourist trap, so everyone coming here is a Londoner working in and for London. There's a warm community unjaded by the speed of city life.
Has the area changed since you’ve been working here?
Nick (the longest standing barber who’s been with SHARPS from the start): The central streets of Goodge and Charlotte have changed the most with the small boutique shops and restaurants being squeezed out by bigger chains. However, Windmill Street has held onto its independence!
Discover more about Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia and what makes it unique in our Destination Guide.