Having met a few of our team over the past few months, we thought it was about time you found out a few interesting facts about co-owner Robert Braid.
Not only is he a barber with over 20 years experience, but he also creates all of our promotional photos, has a Dive Master certificate and has even won a martial arts world championship!
When did Braid Barber’s open?
My dad opened our first hairdressing salon in Birmingham in 1976 and then started a gent’s barbers in 1988 in Milton Keynes. We now have a further barbers in Leamington to add to MK, with further expansion plans in the pipeline.
How has hairdressing and barbering changed over the years?
Hairdressing hasn’t really changed, though the techniques have and the industry has become more accessible to everyone. However, barbering has changed dramatically! It’s become far more fashion lead and less about basic in skill.
Did you ever want to do anything else?
Up until the age of 30 I always wanted to do something else. I wanted to own a cocktail bar, then I wanted to be a scuba diving instructor in Thailand or Australia. Then I considered a career as a travel photographer. I sent a lot of my photos from Mongolia, China and Cambodia to Lonely Planet hoping they’d hire me as one of their team. I considered being an ‘off the beaten track’ tour guide for Asia and even a martial arts instructor. Basically anything BUT hairdressing to begin with! ha ha
Tell us a little about your passion for traveling and photography?
I just love experiencing new cultures, meeting new people from all over the world and setting new challenges every day. Living out of a rucksack; no responsibility. Being a free spirit I first went travelling 14 years ago, and a lot of the places I visited in Asia were completely untouched. I was so inspired by my experiences that I wanted to capture them on camera. I found myself liking photography more each day and being an imaginative person, it was a great way to express my creativity.
Tell us about your martial arts? Not many world champions cut hair!
I’ve been a huge Bruce Lee since I was young and I needed a new challenge to focus on when I initially returned from travelling. I took up Bruce Lee’s martial art ‘Jeet Kune Do’ and my instructor Roger Barnes was a stick fighting champion. He entered me into some stick fighting championships and I managed to qualify for the British team for the WEKAF (World Escrima Kali Arnis Federation) World Championships. These were held in the Philippines in 2008 and I managed to win the world stick fighting for my weight in the single stick category. I couldn’t believe it!
What makes you happy?
Always being creative. Challenging myself to new goals – work, photography, training, martial arts and now parkour. Listening and discovering new music, watching movies, spending time with my family and socialising with friends.
Where do you see braid barbers/salon in 5 years time?
To carry on making a name for ourselves, expand to a couple more shops and keep the Braid legacy going all the way to our 50 year anniversary. Man, that makes me feel old!