ARTICLE FROM HENLEY STANDARD
A BARBER who launched his career as a teenager by cutting his friends hair has opened his own salon.
Ashley Giles founded AKG Men’s Grooming as a mobile business last summer and has now moved into a trading unit at Henley Self-Storage in Newtown Road.
The 24-year-old was helped in setting up by his mother Michele Cooper and stepfather Dean Cooper with whom he lives in Wilson Avenue.
They installed a new glass frontage and door and equipped the salon with two seats, a till and shelves for his equipment.
There is room to expand into a neighbouring unit if the venture is successful and Mr Giles hopes to hire an apprentice later this year.
He hopes to attract new business from investment firm Invesco Perpetual, whose headquarters are a few minutes’ walk away.
Mr Giles said: “This is a great location because it’ll be much easier for Invesco workers to come here rather than walking into town.
“There’s free parking outside too, so people coming from outside Henley won’t have to find a space in town and pay for a ticket.”
Mr Giles left Gillotts School when he was 16 and undertook a two-year apprenticeship at Kay’s Hair and Beauty Salon in Henley Road, Caversham.
He then moved to the Barber Shop Group in Duke Street, Henley, where he worked for three-and-a-half years and was promoted to assistant manager. He decided to go it alone after several customers said they struggled to find time to visit during their working hours.
He initially visited clients in their homes and is still offering a mobile service for those who can’t make it to his salon.
Mr Giles initially learned his trade by cutting tribal patterns into his hair when he was 15.
He said: “Once my friends saw the results they wanted me to trim and cut patterns in their hair.
“I realised this was something I enjoyed doing and being able to use my creative skill was a bonus.
“I have a passion for cutting men’s hair because I’m more into detailed work.
“I feel really motivated about being an entrepreneur as it gives me freedom.
I’ve got more time for myself and my clients, so I can provide a better service.”