Added on: 14th November, 2019 by O1
From humble beginnings, Senol Erdogan has become a successful entrepreneur and highly regarded barber, travelling across the world cutting hair for high end clients.
He has also opened three shops in Orpington town centre, creating eighteen jobs, and still has plans to expand. We caught up with him in the first of his Orpington shops, Barber King at 184 High Street, to hear his story.
O1st: Hello Senol. So, where did it all begin for you?
Senol: I was born in Turkey, in a small city called Mazgirt, but I grew up in Izmir, on Turkeyís Aegean Coast. My father was a barber and I began helping him in his shop when I was just 8 years old. I had my first shop in Izmir at age 14.
O1st: What first brought you to the UK?
Senol: I was studying Economics back in Turkey and I wanted to learn English. So, I moved to the UK when I was 19 years old - 13 years ago now! I opened my first UK barber shop in New Cross within a year.
O1st: So, how did you end up here, in Orpington?
Senol: From New Cross, I moved to Tonbridge and my cousin had a business in Orpington so I would often visit the town. I liked the area, so I decided to open a shop here, Barberking. That was six years ago, and I moved to Orpington shortly after. I love it here, the town is getting better and better.
O1st: And Barberking was followed by two moreÖ.
Senol: Yes, two years later I opened My Barber on the High Street, just south of Knoll Rise, and then last year, Family Barber & Hairdresser in the parade leading to ODEON Orpington.
O1st: What would you say your USP is?
Senol: My passion. I absolutely love it. Itís in my blood and I treat each haircut as if it were my own. I never let a customer leave unhappy.
O1st: Do you have other interests?
Senol: Iím a big football fan and played for Hildenborough and Tonbridge for a while...
O1st: And we understand some of your well-known clients are from the footballing world?
Senol: Yes, Iíve been fortunate enough to travel across Italy, Spain, Israel as well as back to Turkey, and cut hair for some great players. But also here in Orpington, Rio Ferdinand has been a customer and friend for a while now. He recommended me to Cristiano Ronaldo whilst he was in London so I had the pleasure of meeting him.
O1st: Some would say the greatest of all time Ė doesnít get much more famous than that! Could you have imagined that as a young boy in Izmir?
Senol: I have come a long way, for sure. Growing up we were poor and Iím glad to be in a position now where I can make a difference for others. I sponsor the education of two students from low income families back in Turkey. Hopefully they can make a better life, too.
O1st: And whatís next for you?
Senol: Next Iím hoping to open a place in central London, Marleybone, perhaps Mayfair, and keep doing what I love.
Check out Senolís Instagram: barberking62