AN ambitious barber is set to turn his fledgling business at his parents’ house into a school for young barbers after scooping a £50,000 prize for his entrepreneurial skills.
Harry Phelan says he wants to bring a ‘unique experience’ to the profession through the academy, which he is hoping to set up in Waterlooville.
These days it seems that barbers don’t really get to know their customers. I want to offer an experience where we really talk to our customers, to make them feel that they are more of a friend rather than just another person wanting a hair cut or a shave.Harry Phelan
The 22-year-old entrepreneur picked up the prize at the Young Start-up Talent showcase in Southampton
He took the top prize after sessions of speed networking and business workshops before a final video pitch.
Speaking of his triumph, Harry said: ‘The whole experience has been fantastic.
‘I’ve enjoyed every moment of it but I’m genuinely shocked as I did not think I would win.
‘I was so nervous but it looks like that didn’t show and I managed to pull it off.’
Harry, from Horndean, has been cutting hair since the age of 14 and after years of work experience and undertaking an apprenticeship, he set up Studio H in his family home in Horndean.
Looking to continue on the trail of his success, Harry is keen to open up his own barbers in Waterlooville, which will act as a school for apprentices wanting to learn the trade.
He added: ‘I want to offer something truly unique.
‘For me, I’ve always wanted to be a barber, but in order to get into the trade I had to go into hairdressing, which is a very different field.
‘I want to provide that route for those who just want to learn to be a barber.’
Harry, who already has nearly 300 clients, travelled to Rotterdam in the Netherlands last year to expand his knowledge and said his barbershop will be built around the customer.
He said: ‘These days it seems that barbers don’t get to know their customers. I want to offer an experience where we talk to our customers, to make them feel that they are more of a friend rather than just another person wanting a hair cut or a shave.’
Michael Dyer, from Verisona Law, was one of the judges on the night.
He said: ‘The enthusiasm for Harry’s business model was absolutely infectious.
‘His vision to bring in education and train other apprentices gave him the added edge.’