THE BIRTH OF A MASTER BARBER IN DERBY
Shane O’Shaughnessy, owner of Derby’s newest and biggest barbershop, reveals that his Master Barber status and love for cutting and styling hair was no accident, and for his family no surprise. At the age of just 10 years old he began a unique ‘early-years’ apprenticeship under his grandad, dockworker, David Keithley.
No matter how gruelling the working day, David would keep his friends and colleagues finely coiffed, providing a barbering service whenever he could find the time. When he wasn’t unloading the ships in dock, or readying colleagues for the weekend, he was mixing up hair treatments and oils – the young Shane watching closely on.
By just 13 years old, Shane had managed to emulate his beloved grandad, and was proudly cutting and styling hair for his own friends and family.
His early career took a detour into the world of IT until, in 1996 and aged 26, Shane decided to go back to his boyhood roots and rekindle his love affair with hair. After a full apprenticeship and several years running his own mixed salon on Peel Street in Derby, he move to a new barbershop on Nuns Street in 2007, working with locally renowned barber and friend, Craig Evans.
Shane and Craig quickly developed an infectious chemistry, which helped to create the perfect ambience for gents from all walks of life. Business was booming and Shane was still looking two steps ahead.
Recognising the rising popularity of male grooming, in 2011, Shane dusted down his old notebook and started developing new recipes for his own range of traditional grooming products. “Thanks to my Grandad, I knew how to make basic balms, soaps and lotions – I just needed to work in some more modern fragrances and new properties that I value myself as a barber and a customer.”
After a year of developmental work (initially in the O’Shaughnessy family kitchen) Shane and Sherri launched The Dandy Gent – a brand new range of high-end male grooming products, in 2012.
The branding, unique back then, was so well received that a year later Shane re-branded the Nuns Street barber shop in line with his now flourishing products range and business went from strength to strength.
“I always tried to revive the good old fashioned gentleman’s barbershop, with a kind of ‘gentleman’s club’ atmosphere. I knew this was already bringing in business, but the strong new branding so early in the ‘grooming boom’ really did put the icing on the cake.”
The team of two at Nuns Street soon became four, then five. Shane’s prediction of a growth in the industry and the demand for the traditional barbershop had started to pay off.
In late 2016, Shane invested in more sophisticated manufacturing equipment to meet product demand, and a large new manufactory was opened up in Derby. The Dandy Gent range of products now boasts 25 popular shaving, skin care, hair care and whisker products in its portfolio. A growing number of barbershops across the UK are using and stocking The Dandy Gent range and it is shipped to retailers worldwide.
In April 2017 Shane finally realised his vision in ‘glorius technicolour’ when he opened the doors to his second, now flagship, shop in the sought after Cathedral Quarter of his beloved Derby – with a team of four barbers, led by Shane, it has become THE place for gents of all ages to get a haircut.
The Dandy Gent on Nuns Street continues to thrive too, with Craig and a team of three, looking forward to a forthcoming refurbishment to adopt the same Victorian styling as the city centre branch.
“I am pretty pleased with how things have gone so far,” said a typically laid back Shane. “Of course I want to make a good living for myself and my family, but I am generally content and extremely proud of where all of us at The Dandy Gent are heading together – watch this space.”
(To keep abreast of developments at The Dandy Gent, follow your preferred branch on Facebook or visit: www.thedandygent.co.uk to see its full product range and online booking details.)