Big Music Meets: Mark Maciver (SliderCuts)

Mark McIver (aka Slider) is one of the UK’s most recognisable barbers. With campaigns with Nike and Facebook, and a client portfolio that includes Reggie Yates, Anthony Joshua and Tinie Tempah, it’s fair to say, Mark is at the top of his game!

Big Music Meets: Mark Maciver (SliderCuts)

Mark Maciver (aka ‘Slider’) is one of the UK’s most recognisable barbers. With campaigns with Nike and Facebook, and a client portfolio that includes Reggie Yates, Anthony Joshua and Tinie Tempah, it’s fair to say, Mark is at the top of his game!

We caught up with the celebrity hairstylist days after he won the ‘Barber Entrepreneur of the Year’ award at the Black Beauty and Fashion Awards 2018.

Mark It’s a pleasure to meet you, congrats on all your success lately. How’s it going?

 Ah, thank you! It’s good to be with you too.

So, your publicity has skyrocketed lately, but you’re certainly not new to this game. How old were you when you picked up your first clippers?

Yes, that’s right. I must’ve been about 13 or 14 when I realised that the haircuts my brother were doing for me weren’t giving me enough style! So, I thought it would be easy to just cut my own hair… I was quickly proven wrong when I messed my hair up and had to cut it all off!

Haha- lesson learnt! And since then, you decided to just make it into a career?

Well, even before I cut my own hair, I used to draw shape up’s in the back of my notebook. So, I was already very interested in the craft. But from the minute I first picked up the clippers, I just kept trying again and again until I got better.

One day, I went into a barbers and saw how they cut hair and spotted where I was going wrong, went back home and tried again.

I noticed over time that I started building a client-list in my neighbourhood. So when people were going to the under 18’s club and couldn’t make the local barbers, they would come to see me for an impromptu haircut.

Ah cool, so when did cutting hair change from a hobby to a craft? When did you start getting paid for your work?

Okay, so I used to go to the barbershop maybe twice a year because I would usually cut my own hair.  My brother though, would cut his hair at the barbers every week.

One day, my brother came back and told me that I was better than one of the barbers in the shop. I was obviously shocked by this.

So, when I saw the manager, I just told him (as a joke) that I was better than one of the barbers in his shop Haha. He looked at me and said “if you’re better than him, come and take his place.” I was like “oh nah, nah, I’m joking!” But he took it very seriously. So one Sunday, I was invited to come and try out at his barber shop. It went well and I started working there twice a week!

After a while, I decided that I would work full-time at the barber shop until I found something I really wanted to do. I actually made a pact with myself that the minute I found what I want to do, I will leave cutting hair for good.

Since then, I have completed an ‘Access to Higher Education’ diploma in social work but later decided that I didn’t want to work as a social worker. I completed my Personal Training course but later decided I didn’t want to do that either. As time went by, I realised that I was already doing what I wanted to do.

I always tell people, no matter what you are doing, whether you know you want to take it seriously in life or not, do it to the best of your ability, because you never know where it will take you.

Great advice. There are a lot of barbers in the UK, but not many have built such a big brand for themselves like you have. How did it all happen?

I  looked up to a lot of people. They may not have been doing what I am doing now, but they were still people I admired. One of them is the barber that I work with now. In fact, he is the manager that initially brought me into the game. The key is to look up to people, but to also look past their achievements.

So, it’s great to have role models, but don’t limit your vision to what they have reached. Your goal can surpass theirs.

Mark Maciver and unified world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua

So, did you ever picture yourself being the barber that some of the UK’s highest profile celebrities go to?

To be honest, no I didn’t. I remember dreaming of having loads of clients and that’s it, but because of my mentality, I have just kept my head down and worked hard.

So, we are going to ask you a few quick-fire questions. We need you to answer them as quickly as possible. Are you ready?

Haha, okay go for it!

You have a huge portfolio of celeb clients, who’s your favourite?

Haha, my wife! My wife is my favourite celebrity!

Haha, By the way, your wife is an awesome artist! We love her art here! Why is she your favourite?

Haha, thank you and because I actually cut her hair recently for the first time ever. So, I can proudly say she is my favourite customer.

Good answer. Second question – do you remember your first ever celebrity client?

Yes. It was Richard Blackwood and it was a scary haircut! It was in the late 90’s. His usual barber wasn’t in so he said I should cut his hair instead. Honestly, it didn’t come out as great as his usual barbers cut, but I was proud nonetheless.

Good on you for trying anyway! Third question, who’s the biggest diva?

Haha – you want me to lose my clients! Okay, so Anthony Joshua is very particular about his hairline. He likes it to look very natural, but I always tell him “on your fight-night, everyone is going to think your barber did you wrong!” Haha, so on his fight-nights, he allows me to shape him up sharper than usual, but not too sharp!

Ahh! So, what’s the secret to building a portfolio of high-profile clients and maintaining a popular brand in the hair industry?

My secret may sound cliché but it’s hard work, dedication and being a student of your craft. An important tip is to separate your work into two things: a product and a business.

Offering a great product is important. In my case, my product is cutting hair. That alone will garner you a lot of clients. But to be even more successful, you need to recognise that you are also a business. Promotion, sales, customer service are all things I implement into my work.

Another tip: move with the times. Facebook and Instagram are huge right now, so I jump right on it. I make sure my social media platforms stay active.

Finally, stay a student of your craft. Don’t ever think you are too big to learn from others. Newbies can teach you a lot about the industry, so don’t be too arrogant to learn from them.

Reggie Yates

For sure. We’re done with the quick-fire questions now. You can breathe! How did your campaign come about with Facebook?

You know what, quite simply, they saw my profile and asked me if I would be interested. So far, it’s been amazing. I’m on billboards all over the country. I think it’s testament to the importance of being available on all platforms so that you are reachable.

That’s right. Finally, what should we expect from you this year?

Well firstly, watch this space! For those who don’t understand, SliderCuts is a person, not a barbershop. I work in a barbershop, but in a few months, I will be opening my very own shop in Shoreditch.

I’m also writing a book about the fundamentals of successful barbing. I am holding a few  workshops and will be attending a number of masterclasses.

Mark, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.

It’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Thanks a lot!

If you haven’t already, you can spot Mark on billboards all over the country and in the recent Nike advert. For more information on him, check out his website.

DID YOU KNOW?

Mark’s brother is celebrity fitness instructor PMAC? Be sure to check out our interview with him.