In Conversation With Cut Throat Pete’s Barber Shop

In Conversation With Cut Throat Pete’s Barber Shop

Founded by Pete Cranfield, Cut Throat Pete’s is one of Liverpools most recognisable barber shops, serving up fresh cuts to an array of clientele, celebrities included. We are joined by Pete, to discuss his story.

First off, give us a little Cutthroat Pete story so far. How has the brand grown over the years?

I was representing Great Britain as a shot putter but I wanted a career. I needed something that was going to make me money. I’ve never been massively academic, so I wanted to do something more practical, creative and hands-on. It wasn’t an easy start; I was on £35 a week as an apprentice. That’s a low wage, especially when you’re at an age when you want to be going out, socialising and buying clothes. But I knew that if I stuck with it for a year or so, I’d start earning a proper wage.

I knew my end goal right from the start. I knew where I wanted to be, what part of barbering I wanted to be involved in. I set about learning from old-school barbers and city salons. All of these experiences, all of that knowledge gained, helped me move towards that goal. Back 2013, I had an idea to start a brand, Cutthroat Pete’s. At the time, I owned a shop with my brother. We were working together before I moved into town to open the first Cutthroat Pete Shop. I’ve always had that end goal in sight, I’ve always just done whatever I needed to do to achieve that.

Other than the ability to cut hair, what makes a good barber in your eyes?  

You need to be a good listener. Over the last 19 years of cutting hair, I’ve heard the craziest stories. You don’t even have to offer up any solid advice, if you can just be an ear for people to talk to then that’s the main thing. Especially now as mental health has become a more talked about thing. I do find that a lot more people will sit down and open up about their experiences with mental health. Having had little issues myself over the years, I’m always open to sharing my experiences.

Being patient is important too. People think you can go to college and study barbering for nine months and you’ll have a celebrity client list overnight. Instagram has made the job something that people want to get involved in, which is great. But it gives people the impression that it’s a quick and easy path. If you’re going to be a barber you need to be in it for the long run, you need to be keeping up with the latest trends and styles, and constantly looking to learn and better yourself. I’ve been a barber for 19 years and I’m still learning all the time.

You’ve got a few celebrities on your client list. How did that come about? Was it a conscious effort?

A lot of people ask me how I ended up with famous clients. The advice I always give to them is to just be true to yourself – do the best job you can and one day you could get a little push in that direction. That’s what happened to me. I pride myself on being a loyal and private person. That’s part of my service. Unless any of my more high-profile clients actively say to me ‘let’s get some content for your social media’ I never push it. For me, the most important thing is having them as a client – having their trust. It’s not about showing the world that they’re my client.

What do you do to chill out in times of stress? How do you look after your own mental health? 

A lot of people thrive off the long hours. They enjoy being at the chair every day doing their trade. I’ve found in my mind that that way of doing things wasn’t really good for me. In working shorter hours and getting out and about to change my surroundings is the best way to keep my mind at ease.  Outside of work, exercise and meditation are the biggest things. I meditate every day at some point, whether that’s first thing in the morning or last thing at night – I’ll always take 10-15 minutes to sit down and relax. I’ve got a busy lifestyle; I travel a lot and I’m constantly doing something – I think finding a point or two throughout the day to just keep yourself grounded and to relax your mind is vital.

Outside of barbering you’ve developed a passion for photography over the years. What drew you to it in the first place?

My grandad was into photography, and he used to show me his old photographs and the stores behind them. He’d tell me all about how he’d developed them in dark rooms and there was always something about those old processes that really fascinated me. Nowadays it’s another great creative outlet for me. I was speaking to a photographer a few weeks ago, actually. He told me that there was no such thing as a bad photograph. I like that. You have your eye; your preference on how you want things to turn out. It’s a very personal, meditative thing.

And finally, what’s next for Cut throat Pete?

I’ve got this vision of where I’ll be when I’m 50. I don’t know what it’s going to take to get me there, but I do know that I’d like a few more shops. Maybe something a little further out from Liverpool. I also want to make sure the brand gives the barbers who work with me the foundations to build something for themselves. I always tell the people who come to work with me that they don’t work for me – they’re a part of the brand. Both myself and the brand will always be behind the great barbers that decide to come work with me. It’s all about personal growth.

Watch more In Conversation With edits over on our YouTube channel now.

Credit to Will Halbert, Essential Journal.

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