Paul Hewitt brings his internationally acclaimed band of barbers back to the Brighton Tattoo Convention for the fourth year running. Bigger and better than ever, The Barber Expo sees the AONO Brighton local step it up a gear. We caught up with the man himself to get the lo-down on all things Barbering, Brighton and BTC…
It’s such a pleasure to have you hosting the barber expo again at Brighton tattoo convention, what can attendees except this year?
After last years success, we plan to add more this year, with the same set up – we have barbers flying in from all over the world. We just want it to be more accessible for visitors; they can watch, ask questions and just hang with all the barbers. We will have product stands, DJ’s, Q & A’s, and much more
How do you find barbering fits into tattoo culture and lifestyle?
5 years ago myself and Brad Cowan ( @hbad ) found ourselves attending tattoo conventions and seeing all these amazing hair styles walking around, from classic Pomps to on trend styles. I have many tattoo artists as clients and we wanted to bring the barbershop to the convention to showcase our skills and lifestyle – it just worked instantly….Now after 5 years the Pop Up Barbershop has grown from strength to strength.
Our motto is ‘bringing traditional barbering into the modern world’. Men over the last decade have taken more pride in their appearance, and now with the rise of the barbering industry, it’s okay to go back to the barbershop and get the cut and service you desire…..you now see pop up barbershops at tattoo conventions all over the world, they almost go hand in hand.
With barbers travelling from all over the world, who can we expect to be working alongside you?
We have some of the world’s most respected barbers from Shane Nesbitt (San Francisco) Khalil Malamug (New Jersey) Barber Fabian (Miami/Portland) La Shaperie (Paris) Julius Caesar (LA) Brad Cowan (Bristol) and many more – this is about bringing like minded barbers together from all over the globe to cut, hang, party and showcase the barbering tradition and lifestyle.
Will you be taking bookings or walk ups for the Barber Expo?
Both, we will be using a booking system called Resurva…. they will be at the event too from Canada…so we have everything covered
There seems to be such a great community amongst barbers, similar to ones within tattooing. Can you tell us more about your ‘family’ approach to it?
This was drilled into me years ago after working in LA, I couldnt believe the close knit community in America between barbers – I loved it…..We have the same here now. Having a strong support network is key, barbers can guest spot all over the world, same as tattooists. We never stop learning and experiencing new cultures, it’s key to keeping this industry going….Never stop learning.
You’ve been a part of the barbering scene for 11 years and that time certainly hasn’t been quiet, can you tell us more about your journey through the industry?
I started in hairdressing and crossed over, at that time barbering wasn’t on trend like today. It was super hard to build a clientele as barbering was a forgotten trade in the UK but slowly slowly it started to build…the birth of social media made it easier to reach out and the community started to grow…
I didn’t just want to be based in the shop. Yes – I needed to service my clientele but I knew I wanted to take what I was doing in the shop to events and industries I was passionate about…
I pitched the idea to Woody at Brighton Tattoo Convention and our first pop up event was born! Shortly after the success of BTC, I was asked to work back stage at a music festival and then the ball started rolling..
5 years on, myself and Brad have traveled the world with our Pop-Up Barbershop. We are part of the Vans, Electric and Monster Energy family and we have lots more trips planned this year…
Your own tattoos are quite unmissable, which artists have you been tattooed by and what are some of your favourite pieces?
I’ve had most of my biggest pieces done in Brighton by Jason Mosseri owner of Into You, Adrian Willard at Tigerbones and Sergi Besa.
My favourite ones – my head done by Adrian, and my eyebrow ‘forever’ done by Justin Burnout from last year’s Brighton Convention. I have my kid’s names on me from Dan Smith, and I try to get little reminders from my travels around the world. I have a few spaces left so ill keep them for the new conventions and travels
Do you get much time to check out the tattoo artists at the Convention? Any you are looking forward to seeing or getting tattooed by?
In between cuts I try and go say hi to the traders and tattooist I’ve got to know through social media and the conventions – It’s great to just say hi and see how well everyone is doing.
I want to get another face tatt this year, but my daughter says I have enough….!!
You are of course based in Brighton… Can you tell us a bit about your businesses here? Why do you love the place? Are you born and bred Brightonian? You travel the world but what keeps you here in Brighton?
I have two shops in Brighton: AONO & Co being our newest location based on London Road, it’s over 2 floors…coffee/barbers/streetwear and tattoos. I’ve had the original AONO Barbershop on Lewes Road for almost 3 years now, it’s a great street barbershop – you have to experience it to get the full understanding…Just great customer service and timeless cuts.
I also have a shop in Cologne, Germany.
I love Brighton, I’ve been here for 15 years now……both kids were born here and this is our home, the fact I can have multiple businesses running is amazing. It’s so liberal and diverse, anything goes. That’s why we love it so much…. And my front garden is the beach!!
Catch Paul Hewitt and the full Barber Expo at the 9th edition of the Brighton Tattoo Convention happening April 30th – May 1st 2016 at the Brighton Centre. Purchase your tickets for the event here.