The owner of the Barber Collective, Barry Johnson, standing outside his shop smiling

The Barber Collective – a tale of triumph and brilliant broadband for small business

  • Transcript

    Hi I'm Barry Johnston and welcome to the Barber Collective.

    At the Barber Collective we offer a range of facilities in terms of having an Xbox and a pool table.

    Obviously offering haircuts, but we're using the shop as more of a social hub rather than just an in and out barber shop.

    Upgrading to Full Fibre broadband has offered us a better connectivity to our clients and allows them to book in, also those in the calling as well, while also using the Xbox, the TV and using Wi-Fi while waiting for their appointment.

    When Openreach engineers came in and installed our Full Fibre broadband, they were fast, efficient, informative and helpful. So the engineers came first thing in the morning. It was very quick and done within the day.

    Since upgrading to Full Fibre broadband, we’ve seen a massive growth for all our barbers and in terms of bookings.

    Having Full Fibre broadband gives us satisfaction to know that we are connected and future proofed for our business for decades to come and puts us at ease knowing we have a steady, good connection to the internet.

    So if our barber shop would have a theme song it would be Juicy by Biggie Smalls. One of the first lyrics of that song is: "it was all a dream and this was built all on a dream." And we're living the dream at the minute.  

“Openreach engineers came in and installed our Full Fibre, they were fast, efficient, informative and helpful. It was very quick, done within a day.”

Barry Johnson | Co-founder | The Barber Collective

Built on ambition

We all know the transformative power of a great haircut and the Barber Collective pride themselves on consistently delivering super sharp snips that leave their loyal customers feeling fabulous.

But running a successful salon is far more than just the cut itself, and without the right broadband things can begin to get hairy.

The Barber Collective’s story began in 2020. Undeterred by the uncertainty of Covid-19 and united by a passion for hair, Barry Johnson and three friends dreamt of creating a modern barber at the centre of their community, a company that made grabbing a great cut simple for the customer, and was easy to manage behind the scenes too.  

Digital by design

No surprises then that as they opened their shop in central Ballymena, they also launched a variety of web-powered digital systems. An app which allowed customers to book appointments with ease, social media accounts to get the word out, and an online system to help them schedule barbers seamlessly.

As the pandemic began to change how we lived and worked, these remote digital tools took on more meaning for the team than ever before. But there was a hitch.

A bump in the road

Their broadband was not up to scratch. Issues with slow internet speeds and an unreliable traditional phone line made it hard for customers to book, and even meant that promoting the business online with Instagram videos and photos was a challenge.

And it went further even than this, making the special touches that defined them, like streaming music, guest Wi-Fi and console gaming for waiting customers, impossible. Something needed to change, and quickly. 

The best broadband for a small business

After some research, and delving into a rabbit hole of fibre optic vs copper cables, the team discovered the reliability and super speeds of Ultrafast Full Fibre Broadband for small business, and their decision was made.

And thankfully, after the challenges that had come before it, the installation couldn’t have gone smoother. 

A brighter future

The impact on business was enormous, not just enabling the company to survive, but to grow, thrive, and know that they’re fit for the future.

Currently The Barber Collective is nine barbers strong, and has an impressive 3000 clients on its now super speedy booking system. Customers listen to music, use the Wi-Fi and game to their hearts’ content, leaving the team proud to have created the thriving, atmospheric social hub that they imagined all those years ago.  

As Barry puts it, “If our barber shop had a theme song, it would be Juicy by Biggie Smalls. One of the first lyrics of that song is ‘it was all a dream’, and this was all built on a dream. We're living the dream at the minute”.

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