MC Alumni Profile: Brett Kelly

brett kelly head shot

Instagram: @brett_thebarber
Favorite emoji: 🍻
Beauty must: “My blow dryer! Hands down.”
Favorite item in your wardrobe: “My bowler cap that I got from the UK!”
Favorite hangout spot: “My house with my daughters. I couldn’t think of any other hang out place that could be better!”

He’s a barber by day, and fencer and rockstar by night. As a 2012 Hairstyling graduate from MC College Vernon, Brett’s passion for the industry started when he played in a band as a guitarist. Today, he is a co owner of The Gentlemen’s Shop and Shave Parlour and a men’s hair educator.

Well that is it for the fencing season! I have been so damn happy getting back into this sport. It has been years since I last fenced. I started again back in September and I joined the @okanagan_freestyle_fencing club. Matt has been a fantastic coach who has really pushed me to get better. And it was great to be fencing with my first coach Brendan again as well. I could only make it once a week this year but next year I'm hoping to step it up a bit. I had the opportunity to do 4 tournaments this year in which I did not place but I could see growth through each one. I am truly happy where I am at now compared to where I was at when I first started. Now to keep up with training at home and private lessons with the coach. I hope everyone in the club who is going to provincials kills it this year! Thanks again for a great year @okanagan_freestyle_fencing @okanagan_freestyle_fencing @okanagan_freestyle_fencing

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Why did you decide to get into Hairstyling?
“I play in a rockabilly band and hair is really big in that culture. So while we were on tour, we could not afford hair cuts. So, we went and bought a pair of Walmart clippers and I started cleaning up the band. I was HORRIBLE at it since I had no training but I fell in love with it very quickly…I enrolled into MC College and then went on to a barbering apprenticeship after. I am thoroughly happy that I decided to go the longer way and go through the styling program as it taught me so much more about hair than I would have ever learned in barber school.”

There was no barber school around when I decided I wanted to do men's hair. I remember coming back from tour with the band and I asked my barber how I could go about it. He told me to go to school and get the fundamentals then apprentice for my barbering. Well the next day I enrolled in @mccollegegroup to start my journey. Some of the best uk barbers started out in hair school. I took the long way about it you could say but I have absolutely no regrets. I was fortunate enough to have the benefit of both teachings. I took so much out of hair school. Different cutting techniques, texturizing, razor work, short hair, long hair (even though I do very little now) and the most important thing was sectioning. Sectioning was drilled into us for the first 6 weeks in class then drilled for the course of the next year on the floor. I see new barbers come out of school who can't even section a proper line or even create a clean horse shoe parting. Styling and the use and importance of a blow dryer was also drilled and this is one of the most important things that we use in the shop. Now at times it was super hard and definitely frustrating. But I had a clear goal. I was there to further my education on men's hair. So no matter how hard up dos and finger waves were I knew I had a clear goal to get to. After school I went on to apprentice to learn straight razor shaving, more detailed scissor work and more clipper work. Well 6 1/2 years later the passion is still there more than ever and I am a proud owner of a barber shop. So to everyone in school remember your there to learn so learn and don't have an ego where you think you know more than the teacher after 3 months. Because 99.9% chances are you probably don't. Without all this and the great teachers I had I wouldn't be where I am.

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Since graduating, what would you say are your career highlights?
“Opening up the Gentlemens Shop is one of my top highlights. I opened a shop with a really great friend and we are fortunate that it has been a huge success with current wait times of over 6 weeks. Becoming an educator for the Okanagan has been another great highlight as there is not much for men’s education in BC especially in the okanagan. I’ve had great opportunities working with West Coast Beauty as well. I also got to attend a barber convention in the U.K. last year where over 5000 barbers were in attendance.”

Since being in the industry, what’s the most important lesson you have learned?
“Always keep an open mind and always keep an apprentice mentality. You don’t know it all, especially right out of school. So take criticism with an open mind and take the next step to see what you can do better.”

What’s the best part of your job? “The People!”

 

What’s the hardest part of your job? “The People!”

What do you see trending in your industry right now?
“Men’s hair is changing: from the greased down slicked back hair to more loose texture bed head type feel. Clients are wanting to look for a more lived in look instead of the always dapper on the go look… We usually look at what the UK is doing and then in 1.5 years it usually hits in the west coast of Canada. We try to keep up and push some of the trends before they start to come over.”

What’s the most important advice that you can offer MC College students who are looking to become successful in their own careers?
“Listen! Listen to your teachers. Remember you’re taking school for a reason and that’s to learn. Don’t have that ‘I know everything’ attitude because if you did you wouldn’t be in school.

Listen to your clients. A strong consultation is the key to ANY good haircut. Work on your consultation process to make sure you get all the details.

Listen to yourself! We take this career because we are passionate people who love to work with our hands and we usually love to help others. This is an industry where we enjoy making others feel great about themselves. But if we start hitting a point where you yourself are not enjoying it then something might need a change. Not in what you’re doing but maybe in how you’re doing it, where you’re doing it or what your doing about it.

Try hard and do your best.

Have a goal to work towards.

Keep educating yourself. School sets you up for the fundamentals of what you need. But after that it’s up to you to keep up with education, trends, styles and techniques. So remember to take care of yourself in that aspect to.”

Who do you follow on Social Media?
@sugarskulls @thesugarskullsloft @andrewdoeshair @Z_ramsey @stephenj.barber @manmadebarber

Tell us something that would surprise people about you!
“I am fully colour blind. So when going through school I was horrible at the colouring process. I only took hairstyling so I could get the fundamentals of cutting and go on to my barber apprenticeship. I was afraid to tell my teachers I couldn’t see colour incase I couldn’t take the school. After graduating I told my teachers that I couldn’t see colour. They laughed hard and replied “yea that makes a lot of sense now!”

What are the top things on your bucket list?
1. Travel to Japan with my Wife
2. Cut on stage at Barber Cut Dublin – Ireland’s largest barber convention

The combination of a blow dryer and @adhbrand #adhdry and #adhwet #btconeshot_men17 @barbershopconnect

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If you could makeover anyone, who would it be?
“Matty Conrad, owner of Victory Barbers. That man has an awesome head of hair that I would love to cut!”