Sleep When You're Dead

SWYD Tattoo & Barber shop is the brainchild of Mathew Pritchard, know for his years as a professional skateboarder and his on-screen pranks/stunts on the MTV hit series Dirty Sanchez, and more recently his series of long-distance triathlon races, endurance events and competitions. 

Miles O'Keefe

How did you get started and where have you worked before SWYD ?

I got started originally because I wanted to move abroad and needed a trade, I've always been into fashion and cared a lot about my personal appearance and I couldn't see myself laying bricks so I felt barbering was perfect for me. 

Before SWYD I was working in an independent clothing store in my home town of Merthyr Tydfil, while building my people skills over the counter throughout the week. I was only working in a local barbers on a Saturday but didn't feel it was right for me and wanted a greater challenge.  I've always cared how my clients hair looked when leaving my chair and always wanted to be more than just a haircut, I wanted my client to feel an experience and enjoy being sat in my chair. Sadly where i was working worked on a very fast basis and rushing hair cuts wasn't for me. 

I always thought barbering should be a whole experience not just a hair cut, you should be always made welcome and enjoy the experience however long the haircut takes and this will encourage the client to return on a regular basis.

Did you go to college/university or are you self taught ?

I did my level 2 and level 3 NVQ in barbering through college. But also attended advanced courses with barbers I looked up to at the time. 

How would you describe what you do ?

I'd like to describe myself and my job as a men's hairdresser.. I tailor men's hair to fit their head shape and personality. You've got to look at your client before he gets in the chair, look what he's wearing, then speak to them. Consultation is a very important part of a hair cut. Ask them what they work as. It's no good giving a bank manager a mo-hawk, and vice versa and I enjoy that every day is always different.

What does your job entail ? Explain your typical week. 

My typical week begins on a Tuesday as I have Mondays off, I have regular bookings on a daily basis, that often take up my whole day especially towards the weekend, but if room allows I also do walks-ins at the shop and try to fit them in when's best for us and the client. 

What do you like about what you do ?

I enjoy meeting new people and also all the staff members I work with. I love the environment of the shop, the pressure of the work but also the relaxed atmosphere and the clients face when they're leaving my chair. 
I'm also very lucky to be working in a shop with such a great location, for this reason I find we get a lot of famous people popping by the shop also the owner Matthew Pritchard has some pretty cool friends I never though I'd get to meet.
Bernard Foley (Australian rugby captain), Sean Conway (1st person to complete the length of Britain triathlon) Brodie Retallick (all blacks player) 
And of course Matthew Pritchard (boss and owner of the SWYD but I always remember him as the nut case of MTV's show Dirty Sanchez I used to love watching growing up) 
Are just a few of the famous clients I've had in my chair at SWYD. 

How many years have you been barbering ?

I started barbering at 16 so just over 4 years now. But since starting at SWYD I've been pushing myself and my work a lot more by attending barbering and hair dressing events all over the UK

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a barber ?

I'd encourage anyone to follow their dream as long they're willing to work hard. Anything is possible. 

Share a horror story (your worst fuck up) and how you got out of it.....

While studying my trade in college I trimmed someone's beard completely off but he only wanted a trim, his face at the end was a picture. But he said "don't worry son it'll grow back and  my wife will think I'm 20 years younger!!" He still gave me a fiver. 

What interests do you have outside of work ? 

I enjoy going to gigs outside work, music is a big part of my life.  I go to as many gigs as I can work permitting.. 

I also very much enjoy traveling especially Europe but last year (2014) I was lucky enough to spend 3 months in New York and a month on the west coast of America. A trip I'll never forget.

Who inspires you ?

Dale Ted Watkins is one of my biggest inspirations and I've been lucky enough to get my hair cut on stage by him, here is a piece written by Dale - "I consider myself a craftsman and relate hair more like tailoring. You could by a £35 suit or buy a £3000 suit. They're both suits, they both have the same purpose, but there's a different ethos behind each. A beautifully tailored suit like a hair cut is made by a craftsperson. He or she understands the body, understands the cloth the hair, understand the different stitching or cut can make a man look more masculine. It's about understanding hair is cloth, the stitching is the detail, understanding it's all about the detail." 

After reading this and getting my hair cut by Dale himself we have met on a number of occasions and become good friends. 

Explain your set up and preferred brands...

At the moment my set up consists of Wahl Seniors from the U.S with a UK converter, Wahl Baldings, Wahl Detailers as well as a pair of Wahl Beret, Also have a pair of Wahl cordless supertapers for me :

On a final note I also help the homeless and vulnerable people of Merthyr Tydfil on a monthly basis by cutting hair free of charge - it's always important to give something back.

©Sleep When You're Dead 2017