This week I caught up with one of Scotland’s best barbers, Colin Petrie of Hard Grind. He began his career in the industry over ten years ago, and since then has opened two of the most renowned barbershops in Dundee and Aberdeen. Interested in finding out a little bit more about his biggest fear, his favourite clippers, & what he thinks makes a great hair cut? Then read on…
1. Any hobbies?
To be honest since my son came along, on top of the height of the business it doesn’t leave a great deal of time for hobbies but I do enjoy snowboarding and ice hockey. I’m also a qualified skydiver but it’s been a while since my last jump with everything going on.
2. What’s your favourite movie?
I’m all geeked out in Star Wars. The debate is heavy but for me it’s still Return of the Jedi.
3. Any guilty pleasures?
I’m a big fan of the Beach Boys, I’ve even seen them in concert, with all but one, of the original line up. I don’t see it as guilty but I get slated at the shop for it a lot. Least I’m not a secret Belieber or anything though right?
4. What was the last song you listened to?
A jungle remix of SL2’s “On A Ragga Tip”, genuinely takes me back to the 90s banger.
5. What’s your biggest fear?
6. Tell us about the last dream you had?
I honestly dream about work a lot, drives me nuts. I love what I do but switching off at times would be great, so chasing me into my dreams is just straight up rude.
7. What’s your favourite insult?
Away and take your puss for a shite. Classic!
8. One word to describe yourself?
9. What’s your favourite tattoo & why?
I have my grandparents portraits on my side which are super important to me.
10. If you wasn’t doing barbering, what would you be doing?
I’m not sure but it would definitely be something creative. Be it music or film, photography, video editing etc. As long as I’m creating and inspired I’m beyond happy.
11. How long have you been in the industry?
I started out as a hairdresser ten years ago but after a year and a half decided it wasn’t for me. The scene was very different then and I was just in a small town making waves and hated doing colour etc. I took a little time out playing music professionally, and kept up doing homers and self-teaching myself more until about three and a half years ago, I really honed my skill again and took it seriously.
12. How did you come up with the name “Hard Grind”?
It was actually my business partner that came up with the name. It’s a nod to life and the industry first. Barbering can look so glamorous on social media etc. but standing back-to-back cutting is a grind for sure, plus we are a coffee shop too, so you grind the beans etc. Was a cool play on words also.
13. Who are your biggest influences?
Anyone that breaks the mould. It’s so easy to copy someone else and play the game, but the ones that change the game and break the rules to create something special really inspire me. If I had to name people from this industry it’d be Ryan and Vikki from SB Barbers, Vinnie from The Proper Barber Shop, Simon Harvey of Rebel Rebel and Ryan Cullen.
14. Where do you usually gather style inspiration from?
I can’t say I’ve ever really followed any set thing, I tend just to do what I want and wear it how I want. I rocked skinny leopard joggers and my wife would barely walk next to me. Plus I cut in flip flops like ten months of the year, on stage or in the shop. Take a lot of flak for that too but they are my happy place!
15. What are your favourite clippers?
Andis Masters are my favourite for sure. I don’t use them for every style or hair type though, but with the amount of fade work popular at the minute they are just monsters.
16. What are your favourite products?
Layrite Matte products and pomades are awesome, really enjoy working with them. It might be a shameless plug but I work closely with The Dapper Gent on our own grooming range, our latest Cola Salt Spray and Body Wash is honestly killer.
17. What do you think makes a great hair cut?
Creating something your client can reproduce himself. I think too many times the barber is thinking about the picture for Instagram and not about the client. It’ll look flawless in the chair, then you’ll see the guy the next day after a shower walking up town with it just a mess.
18. What advice would you give to anyone looking to join the industry?
Too many people look for the easy route. Crash course barbering then opening their own shops without a clue, saturating the industry with no real passion for hair. Everyone wants to be a barber right now but not all of them wanna cut hair. Every day is a school day and getting a solid education beyond learning a quick skin fade and putting in the hours is key. Walking out of even the best barber schools doesn’t make you experienced. Working everyday in a busy shop, building your clientele, your speed, your customer service etc. does. Earn those stripes and never stop learning.
19. Do you have any future plans?
We have other stores lined up and a big collab coming this year but I can’t say much about it just yet. For me, it’s very easy to saturate a brand just because it’s doing well or popular right now. I’m a believer in quality and would never push further than our means just to roll on a good thing and make a quick buck.
20. Anything else you’d like to share?
Hard Grind Home to all our apparel and grooming products!