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Derby barber opens own shop on a shoestring after losing his old job

today14 September 2022 1

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A Derby barber has opened his own shop after he lost his own job just two months ago. Lorenzo Altera, 25, opened on Ashbourne Road on Tuesday morning after redesigning the shop’s interior in the space of just one month.

Having thought about starting up his own place for years, he was finally forced into action when he lost his old job.

He said: “It was awkward. We’d been mates for years and it ended on a bad note.”

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After losing his livelihood, Lorenzo was left with not a lot of choice or money. It turned out to be the perfect time to get the idea of starting his own place off the ground. But with finances tight, he had to find ways to work around the expenses.

“Everything you see here is second-hand.



Lorenzo outside the shop
Lorenzo outside the shop

“I’ve not really spent a lot of money on doing anything. All the wood is from my dad, who’s a builder and had some spare left over. Me and him just stuck it on the wall. I think it looks wicked. It cost me £5 for a box of screws. The rest of it was free.”

The shop itself came together in around a month’s time. He enlisted some mates to help him decorate while juggling another job he’d been kindly offered in the time for took to get his own place ready.

The vision for the barbershop was inspired by his love for plants, nature and the outdoors. During lockdown, gardening was, in his words, “the only thing I enjoyed doing”.

“I love plants. Plants are my thing. If I could just get this place littered with plants, I’d absolutely love it.”

An online video influenced his decision to stick Astroturf on the walls, starting with the one behind the mirrors. It’s with a view to the environment eventually resembling a jungle, with foliage decorating the grassy background of the walls.



He did the place up on a shoestring

“I want it to look like an abandoned building that’s been taken over by plants. I want it to be unique.”

With a focus on plants and the environment, Lorenzo also wants the shop to be as eco-friendly as possible.

“I’m not having a TV or anything. I’ve looked into recycling people’s hair, too. There’s a company who sends you a little duffle bag for you to collect people’s hair in and you send it off to them in the post to use it for fertiliser. It’s mad!”

Lorenzo started cutting hair straight after finishing school aged 17. He plied his trade at Bloke, Robert Ashley, Sam’s Barbers and Cutting Edge in Derby before the opportunity to start up his own business finally presented itself.

He said after stumbling across the premises: “It was a happy accident. Everything in my life is a happy accident.”

Previous thoughts of opening his own place had all been scuppered by fear of the unknown, and the fact that he had been “comfortable” wherever he was. But the coincidental encounter got the ball rolling, and losing his old job gave him the perfect excuse.



Plants and other decoration on a shelf on the wall of Lorenzo's
Lorenzo’s love of plants has inspired the interior of his shop

Lorenzo intends to employ barber friends he’s made along the way once momentum picks up. His eight years of experience in the barbering world have taught him a lot about what kind of boss he’s going to be.

He said: “I want my barbers to be able to progress. Often, there’s not much progression for barbers. I want to develop a community and a family – one where, even though my name is on the shop, we all effectively own part of the business, splitting the bills evenly and then keeping 100% of what we each make individually.

“Rather than struggling to make money and seeing your boss rake it in, it’d be nice to see your staff going up. Everyone’s got to have their way up in life.”

As a first-time business owner, he’s not unaware of the challenges he may face, but he is certain about how he wants to do things.

“It is quite hard, no one knowing that I’m here, and starting up. But I’ll get up there. I’ve got previous clients.

“I just want it as a chill-out spot for everyone that comes in. As long as I can pay the bills and pay the mortgage and my little girl has what she needs, I’m happy.”

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