Michael McCarthy aka Stylish Duke is a multi-award-winning barber and educator, and owner of award-winning barbershop Stylish Duke & Stylish Duke Hair Products based in Coventry. He shares his inspirational journey with us.
Hi Michael. How has your brand grown over the years?
I am very lucky to have grown my business and The Stylish Duke brand so quickly in just under three years, winning British Master Barbers Shop Interior 2019 after seven months in business. I would say a lot of my success with the shop is due to the loyalty and support I have received over the years from my clients. Without them, there would be no shop. They have helped me gain the number one spot on the Google ratings in Coventry with their amazing reviews. And now, Stylish Duke is a brand that everyone is talking about with over 650 active clients. I will be forever grateful for that.
You’ve previously featured in our mental health issue. How does mental health play a part in Stylish Duke?
Mental health awareness is a huge part of Stylish Duke. I cannot stress this enough; You never know what people could be going through in their life. Carrying around so many emotions and being too afraid to talk about them in fear of being judged is a lonely place, believe me. I’ve been there.
That’s where we, as barbers, come in. From the moment they walk in to my shop, I make sure they feel welcome. I work on appointments-only, so they know they’re in a safe environment. What they say goes no further than me. So nine times out of ten they talk with me about their problems when getting a haircut. I mostly listen to them and support them in any way I can, sometimes putting them in contact with charities that can give them the right support.
What are your plans moving forward?
I am in the process of gaining my level 3 in education and training. So, I can open Stylish Duke Hair Academy next year. I will also be opening another barbershop. I’ll be cutting at a lot more hair shows next year, working with more magazines and continuing to grow my profile in the industry I love.
Are there any general thoughts that you’d like to share?
Never give up, never give in. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you from achieving what you have set out to achieve. Negative comments will only come from those individuals who are not willing to do the days and long hours of hard work it takes to be successful. Even now, some people have no idea how successful I really have become in the industry. It just makes me smile. I believe in you now, all you have to do is believe in yourself.