People

Published: July 18, 2021 | Updated: December 6, 2021

James proves he’s a cut above the rest as his new mobile barber shop service comes to you

James Gura-Lowe, Director, Grade 92 Barbering, with the new mobile barber shop. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A new mobile barber shop – believed to be the first on the South Coast – takes to the road on Monday with 52 appointments already booked for the first week.

Grade 92 Barbering, which has two shops in Castle Lane West, Bournemouth, and Southbourne, has invested just under £40,000 in the project.

A Citroen Relay van has been converted into a fully functioning mobile barber’s shop with chair, mirrors, fridge, TV and LED and strip lighting.

Power is supplied by solar panels on the roof, plus a back-up plug-in, with a diesel fan heater for winter and Dyson air cooler in summer.

James Gura-Lowe, Director of Grade 92 Barbering, said the idea came to him during lockdown.

He said: “You look at every successful company at the moment – whether it’s Amazon or Deliveroo – and it involves taking services directly to the customer.

“I thought why not do the same with a mobile barber shop?

“I’m really pleased with the conversion by Milo’s Custom Campers in Hordle .

“And Think Wraps, in Poole, have done a great job with the exterior and signage.

“To see my idea now become reality is just amazing.”

The new mobile barber shop service is launched officially on Monday, July 19.

James, who will operate Grade 92 Mobile himself, already has 14 bookings for the first day and 52 for the week.

Prices start from £16 plus £5.50 travel fee for kids and over 65’s haircuts.

First-time customers get a £10 discount.

Grade 92 Mobile will cover the BCP area as well as neighbouring towns, such as Wimborne, Ferndown and New Milton, and the New Forest.

It will operate Monday to Thursday 11am to 9pm, Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 8am to 3pm.

Demand is such that James will operate from 9am to 9pm on the first day.

Prepaid bookings are via the website or Nearcut app and can be made up to six weeks in advance.

As long as on road parking is available then the mobile shop can go directly to a customer even if the location is not their home.

James, 28, launched Grade 92 Barbering with business partner Kieran Birch in December 2015.

The first shop in Castle Lane West, pictured left, was followed, just under two years later in October 2017, with the Southbourne branch.

Together the two shops now have a team of seven self-employed barbers.

James, who attended Twynham School in Christchurch, only took up barbering at the suggestion of his Mum, Sue.

He said: “I didn’t know what to do and she said: ‘You’re always looking in the mirror and keen on your appearance, how about being a barber?

“I just love it. It’s dealing with people and also being trusted to look after how they look.

“It’s a big responsibility.”

James, pictured, said although another company – Trim-It – operated a fleet of mobile barber shops he believed he was the only one to offer a mobile service in addition to his shops.

He’s now talking to various companies about offering a discounted service to their staff.

And in September Grade 92 Mobile has been booked to roll up at 8.30am on the day of a wedding and do haircuts and beard trims for the groom, best man and ushers.

James, who marries his fiancée Sarah Smith in September 2022, said: “I’m hoping we’ll generate £80,000, or more, from the mobile barber shop annually.

“If it’s successful – and the response before we’ve even started suggests we’re really onto something – then we’ll add two more vans by the end of next year.

“We were originally planning a third shop but this is the way forward.

“I just can’t wait now to get out on the road.”