A day in the life of a Barber – How Truefitt & Hill are enabling underdogs

In the end, glorification of splendid underdogs is nothing other than glorification of the splendid system that makes them so. – Theodor Adorno

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Sadaam Hussain is as far removed from the namesake dictator, as a haircut is from a WMD. This chap, although nervous at first, smiles through the interview. Through the smile, I see the confidence that helped him land this job at the oldest barbershop in the world – Truefitt & Hill. Established in 1805, this barbershop has maintained the manes of quite a few important people – Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill and the British Royal Family.

Right about now, you might be getting to the point of wondering “So what?!”

Allow me to elaborate.

Sadaam is from this tiny district in India called Bijnor, situated at the foot of the Himalayas. He funded his education at a school by cutting hair at one of those local barber shops that charged you 80 cents for a cut. Not knowing a word in English, he moved to Mumbai because the land of opportunities drew him in. He worked at a local “salon” that his friend placed him in, looking at his slight of hand.

It was a 14 hour job.

Fast forward to 4 years later. Truefitt & Hill start scouting for talent and Sadaam hears about it through a friend. He promptly applies. To snag the job, he was made to give one of the existing staff a haircut and was observed closely by the trainers and senior barbers from UK. Sadaam managed to impress.

After going through 1 month of rigorous training from the Senior Barbers from UK, Sadaam now works a 9 hour shift, has a professionally certified skill and has learned from among the best in the business. He gets to earn incentives over his fixed pay component, has a progress chart and learning curve ahead of him.

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“I live in a tiny studio with 2 of my friends. Since we do not have a lot of space, we don’t cook.”
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“I eat all my meals at budget restaurants due to the lack of cooking space in my rented apartment.”

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“I attend coaching sessions for English, that Truefitt and Hill enrolled me for.”
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“English as a language is critical when dealing with high net worth customers.”

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“My shoes are polished at all times, my neck tie has to be perfectly knotted and my clothes, fresh.”
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Sadaam looking at the fall of my hair, preferences and balding patterns to assess what would work best.

On a side note, I noticed the socks that Sadaam wore that day were printed. Not a boring monotone one. That spoke volumes about his commitment at being presentable. Turns out, he flips through fashion magazines in his spare time to add quirky bits to his uniform. That truly is laudable.

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“I have a PF account, savings is something I never had in all my life.”

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When I walked in to Truefitt & Hill, I was mighty impressed with the set up, the customer service at the front desk, the waiting area. The works. The haircut Sadaam gave me, in the Royal suite was an experience I would strongly recommend to every man.

It began with the barber assessing my hair growth pattern and style preferences. He then washed my hair and towel dried it before commencing the cut. After the cut, there was a relaxing head massage and I did all I could, to not fall asleep. Sadaam then rinsed and shampooed my hair again. After towel drying it, he used some of Truefitt & Hill’s styling products to set my hair. I felt like a King! And it wasn’t a bad feeling at all, I must add. How often do we men, take the time to spoil ourselves? Once a month, is the least acceptable frequency we deserve.

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“They have groomed me, I always keep my breathe fresh and have my deodorant handy.”

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“It is the way I attend the clients, they must have seen that I always have a smile on my face. Also, they were impressed with my agility of work.”

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But above it all, above all the fancy elements, what really stood out was what Truefitt & Hill is doing in it’s own little way to enable folks like Sadaam. And that, is what is enriching and refreshing to say the least. Dare I say, like the 20 minute head massage at the end of the haircut.

Photographs by Deepak Singh and Ankit Kadle

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4 comments

  1. Oh great Saddam bhai nice job I am proud of you……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    ……………………………………………………………………. ……………………..Form .Kadar khan

    Like

  2. As one of the trainers for truefitt and hill I spent three months in Mumbai with Sadaam and many colleagues of his. I would agree and say Sadaam was one of the happiest and most positive barbers with a great natural talent for mens hair…this article is obviously a credit to his hard work.
    Great profile article and congratulations Sadaam.

    Like

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