People: Roberto Gelali
Although he may be a veteran of his craft, award-winning barber Roberto Gelali is always striving for more.
How long have you been in the industry for?
I’ve been barbering for nearly 25 years. It seems like a long time, but I’m constantly learning. Fifteen years ago, it wasn’t really in fashion. Now, it’s became very trendy and people are engaging with it. Between modern barbering and vintage styles, it’s changed a lot and has become really popular.
How did you get started in Paisley and how has the business progressed over the years?
I initially set up shop here 12 years ago and when I opened up, there weren’t a lot of barbers around. So, I got a lot of customers straight away and they’re still coming to me. In a way, it’s become like a little family. Some of them never miss a week, they make you a part of their life. I don’t look at barbering as just a business, I love it and I respect it. Likewise, it’s never just about paying bills; it’s my passion and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Particularly when you feel like you’re a part of the community you work in, which I really do.
You’ve competed in contests all over the UK. Is it rewarding to see your talents and years of work being acknowledged like that?
When I compete in these things, I don’t do it just to win. It’s because I not only love what I’m doing, but the local support that I got when I was heading to events in Glasgow, Liverpool and London was amazing. There were international barbers from all over the world competing, so to get in the top list and represent Renfrewshire, our area and myself was really special.
You’ve got big plans going forward. Can you tell us a little about them?
For my own business, the aim is not to just give people a haircut and send them away, I want it to be a place where they can come and socialise. We have ideas for the future about how we can really merge all of that together. Also, there’s no barbering association in Paisley, but I’d love for there to be one. I think it’s important to come together, so that’s something I intend to do.
Who cuts your hair? Francis from Francis Hair Salon and Weave Bar, Paisley
Best place for coffee? Blend
Best place to eat in Paisley? Jam Jar