More than £500,000 is to be invested in launching a new hair salon and barber school in Glasgow which will tackle a grooming industry skills shortage.
Sovereign Grooming – led by Best Barber UK winner Kyle Ross – aims to train 600 barbers over the next decade to counter a covid-related staffing crisis.
The hair and grooming industry is a facing chronic shortage of new talent and The National Hair and Beauty Federation believes the number of new stylists qualifying has dropped by 50% due to coronavirus.
The male grooming specialist has secured new funding to take over three floors (2,570 sq ft) of Category A-listed 38 Renfield Street, which dates back to the 1890s and is the work of Glasgow’s “other” architect, William Leiper.
Initially 20 new jobs will be created and Sovereign Barber School will offer intensive 15-week courses to equip graduates with the formal qualifications required to launch a career in the thriving men’s hair sector.
Acclaimed barber Kyle Ross, who together with marketing expert Ryan Crighton also has salons on Union Street in Aberdeen and New Waverley in Edinburgh, said the business wants to help people “make up for lost time”.
He said: “The employment prospects of many young people were decimated by Covid-19 and we want to offer an accelerated pathway into a brilliant career.
“The industry was facing a skills crisis before Covid, and this has been exacerbated by the extended shutdowns the sector has experienced since April 2020.
“Scotland’s salons need a fresh injection of talent as soon as possible and we are working with partners to deliver the equivalent of an apprenticeship, condensed into an intense 15-week full-time course.”
Mr Ross – who is also a two-time winner of Scottish Barber of the Year – will personally oversee the training and wants to develop “the best young talent in male grooming”.
Sovereign will offer luxury hair and beard services alongside a unique blend of male-focused beauty treatments on the ground floor, with the barber school occupying the basement, and the first floor serving as the group’s HQ.
In April, the ambitious business added to its original Aberdeen salon when it opened a flagship store in Edinburgh’s New Waverley development off the Royal Mile, creating 10 new jobs in what was a six-figure investment.
The business has received a fresh round of financial backing from its group of investors, led by MB Martin & Partners, which specialises in helping high-potential, early-stage companies grow.
Sovereign was advised by CBRE and law firm Aberdein Considine in the Glasgow deal and will open in the city in November.
Paul Jennings, Partner and Head of Commercial Real Estate at Aberdein Considine, said: “This is the third deal we’ve supported Sovereign on and it is fantastic to see an ambitious Scottish business expanding and creating jobs.
“Innovative brands like this are exactly what our high streets need as they bounce back from the pandemic and we wish them every success.”