BY TOBY PORTER
A barber’s is the only place where you have to pay more to get less.
In the case of Clapham-based Jacks of London, though, its refusal to shave the locks of one customer landed it paying for the mistake.
The person refused a hairdo was Strictly Come Dancing star Karen Clifton, who was not allowed a cut at Jack’s Wimbledon branch because she was the wrong gender.
She said on Twitter in March: “When I was told this morning by @jacksoflondonuk that I wasn’t allowed to get my haircut because I was a woman, I felt like I was punched right in the pit of my stomach and felt so angered and quite frankly in disbelief that this actually happens to a lot of women out there.”
Sue Whitehead, founder of Jacks of London, said following the Karen Clifton post: “I appreciate that Karen has alerted us to the anomaly within our policy that suggested we do not cater for women.
“The Jacks of London brand is now synonymous with quality service and outstanding barbering, but, increasingly, women have visited asking for barber cuts by our award-winning barbers and we have delivered.
Karen, herself, has had her hair done twice before at our store. “I and the store team apologise that the member of staff in question was not aware of this.
“I understand now that we must make it more explicit to our team that anyone who wants a barber cut is welcome in our store regardless of gender.
“We sincerely apologise to Karen Clifton for the treatment she received and would welcome her back to Jacks anytime.”
But the chain has taken a short cut to redemption after its branch in St John’s Road, Clapham Junction took first place in the London section of the men’s competition of L’Oreal Colour Trophy, beating the rest of the capital’s barbers.
They now have their clippers well-oiled, their razors sharp and their heads held high for the Grand Final in June. Paul Morgan and Kipp Evans swooped in to take first place in the men’s competition, beating the rest of London’s barbers combined in what will later this year be the firm’s 25th anniversary.
The victory comes fast on the tail of last month’s success when Kipp took second place in the American Crew All Stars, a competition run by the US brand to find the finest in the UK.
Kipp won the British title at the International Barber Awards last year in Germany.
Marketing manager Emma Lee said: “Our team is going from strength to strength. Kipp and Paul are on fire, and their success and enthusiasm to show they are the best is rubbing off on all our guys.
“It’s about the training, but also the encouragement and opportunities our barbers get.
Our team wins because they train hard and grab every chance they can to test themselves against others and to show how much they lead in their craft. These are not the sort of guys who get complacent and stay within their comfort zone.
They love barbering and they are determined to remain the best in their field.”
The company claims its secret is big, comfy, man-friendly leather sofas in its stores and live sports – in other words, both kinds of highlights are a mane attraction.