There is a a new barber in Yorkton and at present he is the only one in the city.
Sean Craib-Petkau is the cutter behind the Parlour Barber Shop, located in Cab Clothing on Broadway Street.
Craib-Petkau, 23, said he ended up becoming a barber based primarily on seeing a local opportunity developing in the city.
“When I heard Tony was retiring (from Tony’s Barber Shop), that kind of got the wheels turning,” he said.
So Craib-Petkau took the chance and headed off to school to learn the trade.
“It turns out I really enjoy it, which is nice,” he said with a grin.
That said, Craib-Petkau admitted heading off to school was “a pretty big leap” in the sense at the time he was not sure what to expect.
“After the first week at school I kind of knew that it was what I wanted to be,” he said.
As for training, Craib-Petkau had to travel about as far as is possible in Canada, taking a course at Eastern College in St. John, NB. He explained the college has a barber program and while there might be some smaller programs out there, he chose to take the trip east.
The six-month course was far more diverse than learning how to clip hair.
Craib-Petkau said he learned about the range of conditions of the scalp, skin and hair, and about the muscles, nerves and veins under the scalp and in the face.
And of course he learned about cutting and styling hair, mostly for men, as well as using the famed straight razor to do shaves, as well as facial and scalp massages.
“The books go through things you might want to incorporate into your business,” he said, adding at present he is concentrating on hair cuts and shaves.
When it comes to cutting hair, Craib-Petkau said the barber has to be aware of the condition of the client’s hair, the hair type, the contours of the scalp, and then take those factors into consideration when trying to provide a style which will suit the customer.
“There’s a whole visual check list before starting a hair cut,” he said, adding making sure he goes through that list is something he still has to make sure he focuses on.
In the end, a barber’s job is to cut a client’s hair in a way which compliments “what their personal style is,” said Craib-Petkau.
So what was it like to do his first work on someone in the chair, especially the first shave with a straight razor.
“I wasn’t nervous because I had shaved myself,” said Craib-Petkau of his first experience at the school. “I’m not sure what the other guy was thinking,” he added with another smile.
As it turned out the school actually had a great volunteer to learn shaves on.
“There was this grizzled out guy that would come in three times a week,” said Craib-Petkau, adding getting a free shave at the school seemed to be something he did to just enjoy life. “It was good because his skin was just leather.”
Once his course was complete Craib-Petkau returned to Yorkton and quickly found a home for his first chair.
“Two weeks after I approached them (the owners of Cab Clothing) I was actually in here cutting hair,” he said.
The idea of setting up a chair inside an already existing business was one spurred by economics.
“I wanted to be downtown,” said V. “But I knew I couldn’t afford to lease anything that was available.” He added what was up for rent was simply too large for a single barber chair business.
But Craib-Petkau said he saw that being part of a men’s clothing store could be a good fit. In fact, Cab Clothing for a time had had a barber come into the store for a couple of days a month as a draw.
It was a situation which worked for both existing business, and new barber.
So far the response has been great.
“It’s everybody,” Craib-Petkau said of his clientele, “from kids that are only three to gentlemen in their nineties.”
“It’s been really busy. Some days I haven’t had a chance to stop for lunch, which I don’t mind.”
Craib-Petkau said he had expected being in a clothing store focused on the young set that he would attracted the under-40 man, but was not sure older men would seek him out.
“But they love it,” he offered.
And shaves are proving popular as well.
“I’ve done quite a few already, two today,” he said, adding that is not surprising to him either. “I knew it (having barber shaves) was coming back. Guys are looking for it.”
Craib-Petkau said having a shave done by a barber is a way for men to pamper themselves and in a way connect to the world of their grandparents when it was much more prevalent.
“I knew it would be a draw,” he said.