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tommy the barber

a story about a barber

the 28-year-old tommy cunliffe ditched his biomedical career to become a barber. with a passion for hair, innovation and details, he started sweeping the floors at one of ruffians’ popular barbershops. today he is the shop manager in ruffians, shoreditch. 

“sometimes, you go on a holiday and you’re having the best time of your life, and then you come back and no one will even know that was a holiday you were on – no one cares”. 5 years ago, tommy cunliffe had enough of his university career. he has a degree in biomedical science, but as a man that loves sociality and people, the anonymous university way of living was not enough for him. he wanted to meet people, talk to people and make other people happy. with a passion for hair and flair for details he wanted to try out the life of a barber.


”you know what? i’m just gonna do it”

“a part of me said: don’t go! go spend your money on seeing places instead. but actually, i just really wanted to do it”. after lots of research and consideration tommy spent all his savings on getting one step closer to becoming a barber. he went to london school of barbering and came out with a basic understanding of how to cut men’s hair. but he also realised that there was so much more to learn.

tommy is a man of details. he used to get the top of his hair done at a hairdresser and the go to a barber afterwards to get the sides done. he wanted to be a part of something that could handle both. a place where they paid attention to both the top and the sides but also the person sitting in the chair. 


the top of the tree

with passion, ambition and a little bit of stubbornness he applied for a job at ruffians – an award-winning barber shop. “i didn’t really know how to get the job, because i obviously didn’t have a professional cv in the hairdressing world”, says tommy, knowing that he had aimed for the top of the tree. ruffians is known for its attention to details, innovative thinking and customer oriented service. that inspired tommy who explains: “I would rather be somewhere that cares and is trying to do something new, instead of being somewhere more established and therefore a bit boring”.

for tommy, ruffians was the place to be, and he would do anything to get a job in one of their barbershops. “they actually told me that i couldn’t work there. so i started sweeping the floors and did whatever work that i had to do, and happily started from the bottom”.



the social man

today, tommy is shop manager at the ruffians shop in shoreditch, london. he first started in the shop as a floor sweeper, then he started cutting hair “and now i have the privilege of managing the shop”, he says and emphasises that he loves his job. 

everyone at ruffians has a thing they are good at. they love what they are doing, and they have fun while doing it. “we have some of the most beautiful, interesting and funny personalities at ruffians - everyone is individual”, tommy says and elaborates: “the one thing that is keeping everyone together is their genuine love for hair”.


in ruffians, they care about their customers. they listen to them and their needs regarding their hair, but they also strive to make the customer feel better. “i’m good at reading people”, tommy says. he likes to know what people are doing outside the shop and he enjoys spending time with his colleagues and customers. they ask him if he had a good holiday when he gets home from one. the social culture in ruffians is what tommy has always wanted, but the thing he loves the most about his job is that he makes people feel happy – and that makes him happy.

check out tommy's and ruffians style pics here - ruffians favorites
read more about riffians x minimum here: ruffians x minimmum