Yucel Olmezkaya, from Gould Barber in King’s Lynn, is among the latest group of elite cutters and shavers to be employed by premium education service the Great British Barbering Academy (GBBA).
On May 21, the British master barber of 10-years was hand-picked by the academy after performing an outstanding demonstration on the GBBA stage at Barber UK – one of the UK’s largest barber trade shows.
Yucel was presented with this opportunity after successfully making it through an application phase that included hundreds of the UK’s finest barbers; only 10 of these elite hairstylists were invited to display their talents.
The appointment of the 46-year old is made even more impressive by the fact that he only returned to his beloved trade four years ago after suffering from mental illness. He said: “I had a nervous breakdown and went through a phase of feeling suicidal. But after I was discharged from hospital and my treatment started I decided to return to the barbershop and continue working.”
In four short years Yucel has quickly got himself back into the flow of things. “I had to start from the bottom again as I was away from the trade for many years. I had to touch up my skills and needed to catch up on the current fashions,” he explained.
Upon his return to the barbering the former policeman “wanted to build a profile and become recognised within the industry.” He achieved this by winning the coveted Hall of Fame award from the British Barbers’ Association in August 2016 and by being named as 2017’s South East England Regional Champion in the Britain’s Best Shave competition – an accolade that he says is a “highlight of his career.”
Having previously run his own mobile barber training business, Yucel joins the academy with plenty of teaching experience. “I enjoyed visiting barbers in their own shops and teaching them to shave,” he said, “especially as shaving is what I know best.”
On his new role as an educator for the Great British Barbering Academy, the state registered barber said: “Since I returned to the male grooming industry my goal has been to become an educator. Barbering saved my life and has helped me to see that delivering my knowledge to others is my passion. Because of this I’m very excited to start teaching with the GBBA team in the coming months.”
Yucel will be leading bespoke barber training courses in barber shops and designated Salon Services stores within a 50-mile catchment area of King’s Lynn. These expert courses cater to all abilities and are supplied exclusively to the Great British Barbering Academy by premium men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge. Each course is designed to improve the knowledge, confidence, and essential skills of all participants.
Yucel’s recruitment was determined by the GBBA’s Head Educator Mike Taylor, who said: “I was blown away by the skills, knowledge, and confidence that Yucel displayed at Barber UK. He is a testament to how far barbering has come in the modern era and I am very excited to welcome him into our team.”
The recent appointment of new educators to the GBBA highlights a noticeable increase in how frequently men are visiting barbershops. According to Taylor: “This increase in attention illustrates the growing acceptance of male grooming and is part of the reason the GBBA was launched in January 2017: to give people an affordable opportunity to learn new skills, improve current techniques, and join a lucrative industry that is only getting bigger and better.”