Pop-up barbers opens on A1, Colsterworth, to fight mental stress
A barber has opened up a pop-up barbershop to combat mental health after suffering from stress and depression.
Theo Agyeman, 34, from Milton Keynes, opened BarberStop at the A1 truckstop, Colsterworth, at the end of last month, after working in the IT industry as a project manager for six years, which left him on the verge of a breakdown.
Theo said: “I worked all the hours under the sun and didn’t take a holiday in six years. Eventually it all got too much and I knew that I needed to leave the industry.”
With time on his hands, Theo, who is still learning to become a qualified barber as well as a shop owner, found himself watching a documentary on the history of the A1, which featured the Truck Stop, in Colsterworth - a popular stopping-off point for the masses of trucks using one of the key truck roads from London to the north and Scotland.
Theo added: “I have always dreamt of setting up my own chain of barber shops and the Truck Stop seemed like the perfect location to pilot my first one. The Truck Stop attracts around 200 truckers every day with 150 regularly staying over.”
After meeting with the owners, Albert and Margaret White, Theo set to work transforming an old container unit into a modern, mobile barbershop and giving it an urban feel.
At the same time as setting up BarberStop, Theo also created a blog page and an Instagram page, dedicated to promoting young and up coming barbers and giving them a platform.
He also hired two local part-time barbers, who are passionate about their work.
Theo added: “It’s about being able to support young talent and giving them somewhere to learn and grow.”
Since opening on Wednesday, March 28, trade has already been steady.
Theo, who grew up in South London before attending Bournemouth University, added: “I wanted to open a barbershop with a bit of a difference, so we are open noon until late to enable truckers to visit as they work long and late hours. We have been doing about 12 hair cuts a day despite our target being 10.”
Despite the early success, Theo is keen to offer more than just haircuts, adding: “We want to become a place or a hub where people that may struggle with having the right company around them or simply looking for someone else to chat to, can come and interact with people that may be able to encourage them in the simplest of ways. I believe the barbershop is one place where you can literally forget the stresses of life and have genuine conversation with a human being, which is rare these days.”
Theo also plans to take his team to Smokeys Barbers in London as well as many other big names in the industry, in order to enhance his team’s barbers skills and techniques.
Theo added: “Everything has started to happen. I’d hit rock bottom but the only way from there is up.”