Complete with a full bar and speciality coffee, Nomad Barber is by far the coolest barbershop in town. Not just adding a hangout space to stand out, the team of skilled barbers here really know their stuff, and both the service and style of cut you’ll get is far from what you might find elsewhere in the city. Founded by Miguel Gutierrez and having first set up shop in London’s Shoreditch, what’s also fascinating is his background in travel and his popular barber-travel videography that has gained a loyal following online. We popped a few questions to Nomad Barber’s Ailish Trimble to find out more.
Barbershops are everywhere… but Berlin’s Nomad Barber is undeniably different. What aspects are you most proud of with it so far?
Opening a shop in Berlin was a big step for us as a company. From starting out as just one person exploring the ways in which barbering culture connects people around the world, to having a dedicated team of 10 people spread over two countries.
Since the opening of our shop in Berlin last May, we are most proud of the dedicated hard work displayed by our team every day. There have of course been challenges setting up shop in a new country, especially with a different language and new culture, but almost a year in, and we’re proud to be constantly growing and developing our space.
In the last couple of months we have been fortunate to re-build our cafe and bar spaces and have also installed new workstations in our barber area in order to expand this aspect of our business. Nomad Barber is different because we don’t just value an impeccable service, but we are also open to exploring different methods of creative outputs in regards to barbering, travelling and culture. Our aim is to combine all these different avenues and give our clients a distinct experience.
Miguel travelled the world learning about different barber traditions and styles, captured in his documentaries HERE. Has much of this influenced the Nomad Barber cutting style and what surprised him the most during this travel?
The Nomad Barber brand really took off when Miguel begun his year of travelling and filming the documentary series. Really one of the main ideas of the webseries was to show the connections between barbering cultures across the world, representing it as a skill which bridges cultures, people and countries and this has definitely had an impact on the styles and techniques used in our shops.
For example, in Turkey the barbers complete their shaves using lemon cologne and in India they do head massages using navratna oil which leaves a cooling sensation on the skin. We take an assortment of these techniques and try to combine them to create our unique service.
Surprising aspect of travel? Miguel says for him it was probably the similarities between people the world over and the ways that they value their trade.
Whilst many stylists focus on pampering & prosecco to make clients feel at home, you’ve opted for a more contemporary approach with craft beers and flat whites. How important is this to the customer experience?
We want our customers to feel comfortable to come by (with appointment or without!), to relax, have a chat, a great cup of coffee or beer and watch the guys in action. It’s also a chilled and friendly atmosphere to just sit and get on with some work.
We recently moved our cafe upstairs and so it’s now more accessible than ever! We use coffee beans roasted locally by the lovely folk over at Bonanza, and have finally got a licence to set up some chairs and tables outside! Our bar is undergoing a re-development and we are looking forward to opening again for more evening events and workshops!
In terms of the service we offer, it is definitely a more luxurious service, all our haircuts, beard-trims and shaves are accompanied by a hot towel and a head or neck massage using special blends of oils and techniques. We want our clients to leave feeling great about themselves as well as refreshed, relaxed and ready to tackle the day, evening, weekend, meeting, wedding, whatever it may be!
What made you choose Berlin to set up the second outlet over other cities?
In some (though, not all…) ways, Berlin is reminiscent of the East End of London where our first shop is located. There is a similar creative, welcoming and buzzing energy to Berlin, and especially here in the Graefekiez where we are located.
It feels exciting to be part of a kind of collaboration of creative people here in Berlin and we hope to be able to bring our own distinct style to join the growing scene in this wonderful city.
We also felt Berlin was lacking a really great barbering scene and we want to help shape and grow this industry over here in a creative, dedicated and forward thinking manner.
What were the main challenges in launching Nomad Barber in Berlin compared to London?
There were many challenges that came about setting up Nomad Barber BLN. Especially in regards to bureaucracy and all.that.paperwork! However, it has allowed us to learn a lot about running a business in Germany, how to deal with repetitive and grumpy officials in charge of licences and official documents – and it must be said, we are definitely glad to have come out the other side of most of those challenges!
Germany doesn’t quite have the same emphasis on barbering as a trade in the way we do in the UK. Therefore finding qualified and passionate barbers from Germany has been a bit more tricky. That being said, we have managed to build up a fantastic team of people over here and we are looking forward to expanding our team even more in the coming months!
And how do the hairstyles differ in Berlin differ to the ones in London?
In Berlin we tend to get a lot more guys in for beard trims and shaves than we do in London. We’ve heard that typically in Germany you go to see a barber for beard care or shaves rather than a haircut or full treatment. This means sometimes people are surprised when they realise we also offer high quality haircuts and styling alongside our beard care and shave services.
You also have a great selection of high quality barber products, people can purchase. What do you look for when picking what to showcase in the shop?
We only take on products that we use ourselves in the barbershop and believe to be of the best quality.
We stock a variety of products to suit every budget and style, starting with the classic, cheap and (very) cheerful Turkish shaving soap, Arko, which many clients say takes them right back to their grandfather’s shaving rituals.
The products then range through to brands like Mühle, supplying high quality shaving brushes and razors as well as luxurious shave and skin care products.
We also love brands like OAK, a local Berlin-based beard care brand producing beautiful organic products. In the shop the barbers use the Kevin Murphy shampoos and conditioners as well as their styling products which cater to lots of different looks and are of fantastic quality.
Our barbers are very knowledgeable on all the products we stock and are available to help clients find the right products for them!
Are you planning to open more Nomad Barbers around Berlin or even the world?
Good question… simple answer, yes… cryptic answer… where and when?!
Where do you like to eat, drink and play in Berlin?
As a team, we love all the wee bars along and around Weserstraße. We haven’t quite caught all their names but ‘Jungle Bar’ is a good one! We are also fans of Cocolo Ramen, Zola Pizza and Le Bon – just down the road!
When we’re missing East London too much , Chutnify is a great option for authentic South Indian dosas and we also love us a bit of Angry Chicken! A local shout out has to go to Olivio across the road from us who keep us going with delicious (and filling!) pasta dishes for lunch!
Coffee from Bonanza is our favourite, but we also love many other great coffee places like Five Elephant and The Barn! There’s so many amazing places in Berlin, we could keep going…
Complete the following sentence, ‘” For me, Berlin is…”
the most vibrant and welcoming city in the world!
Are you in need of a haircut, beard trim, some grooming products or just want to stop for a cup of coffee? Then make sure to head to Nomad Barber in Kreuzberg soon!