Making the Cut

Warren Theunis has earned the name “Mr Barber” – and is raising funds to help others through his craft. He also happens to be based in our very popular MARKHAM Golden Acre store and this is his story.

While working towards excellence in his field, Mr Barber has made helping others a central component of his mission. We talk to him about self-care, his latest charitable campaign, and every man’s secret weapon in grooming: the hairdryer.

Warren Theunis is Mr Barber, a highly skilled and certified expert in men’s grooming. He’s well-travelled and well-versed in keeping gents looking and feeling good. Markham and Mr Barber have come together, blending grooming and fashion for a unique experience: A grooming studio inside Markham’s Golden Acre store. We spoke with the man himself about self-care, grooming trends, and how he got to be South Africa’s go-to guy for men’s hair.

MKM: To begin, could you please tell us a bit about your journey to becoming ‘Mr Barber’.

Warren Theunis (WT): ‘Mr Barber’ is a nickname people attach to just about every barber when they don’t remember their name, but I guess my journey and work in the barbering and hairdressing industry has made the name “Mr Barber” stick. I am the founding member of The Western Province Barbers’ Association and served on the executive committee for the Employers Organization for Hairdressing Cosmetology and Beauty (EOHCB). Also, In 2017 I was visiting an academy in Auckland New Zealand called MR BARBER, as part of a research trip. While I was there, the owner gave me a Mr Barber T-shirt, and as you can imagine, a T-shirt attached to all the work done for the barbering industry, the name Mr Barber SA just stuck. To this day, everyone still calls me Mr Barber.

MKM: What do you enjoy most about your work?

WT: I don’t sell haircuts, I sell confidence, I sell acceptance and the ability to do that at the highest level is just amazing. The project that I’m most passionate about is the Groomed For Change campaign. It’s mainly focused on appreciation towards seniors in the form of a free haircut, but since its inception in 2018, I’ve extended it in collaboration with Heart FM to youth and the homeless through U-turn homeless ministries.

MKM: Are there any men – locally or abroad – that you keep an eye for trends or inspiration?

WT: Julius Cvesar in Los Angeles, Vea Fonua in Canada, Matt Brown in New Zealand and Peleti Oli, also from Flaxmere, New Zealand. I am inspired by how they use barbering as a platform to create change for the things they believe in. Locally Toefique from Toefaded in Observatory for his creativity and Viggo from Parted Hair in Namibia. I draw inspiration from many things around me, sometimes it’s not even directly linked to cutting or styling hair.

MKM: In terms of trends this season, where do you see men’s grooming going?

WT: With the cold, I see beards sticking around, with longer lengths and hairstyling making a full circle to mullets. I see afros making a strong comeback as well. This will be infused with really short tapered cuts, but definitely afros in all shapes and forms.

MKM: What is something most people don’t know about your industry?

WT: I think most people don’t know that it’s the oldest trade known to man. Many people still don’t know the difference between a barber and someone that cuts hair. A barber is someone that has passed the trade exam through the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and someone that cuts hair, well, they just cut hair.

MKM: How did you get involved with Markham? Has the lockdown affected the collaboration?

WT: Markham reached out to me in August of 2019. I want to believe that this wasn’t by accident, and what I am told is that someone that works for the group saw me working backstage at Menswear Fashion Week and mentioned my name. A few conversations later, we came to an agreement that has manifested into what you see today: A Mr Barber grooming studio inside a Markham Store. While lockdown has affected the business model, and the number of people in store directly, the collaboration has been the strength in the cord that keeps me going. The model may change and be adapted for the new normal, but I can’t believe that all this work will not yield fruit. Grooming and fashion have a symbiotic relationship that hasn’t fully been explored yet. So we have lots to do, as we press on post-Covid.

MKM: How would you describe your personal self-care routine?

WT: I am so reluctant to share when it comes to self-care. You would think because I’m bold, it’s easy and there’s nothing to it. And you would be right, but while I can shave my own head, I prefer not to. I love going to the barbershop and having a professional whip up some rich lather, pull out a straight edge razor (cut-throat blade) and systematically shave my head and face.  I try to have it done at least once a week, however, this doesn’t always happen and I end up doing it myself. Aside from my hair, on both my head and face, I love manicures and recently have become accustomed to pedis as well. There’s just something about taking care of your hands and feet that does it for me. Like most men, I want to smell good and maintain my individuality, so I lean towards fragrances that are uncommon to most.

Find Mr Barber on Instagram, YouTube, and at his BackaBuddy campaign raising funds for Groomed for Change.

For a fresh cut visit him at MARKHAM Golden Acre 🙂

Yours in Style.