About the founder and owner of Pall Mall Barbers – Richard Marshall Entrepreneur
“In the journey of an entrepreneur, the most important thing is self-belief and the ability to convert that belief into reality”. Mukesh Ambani. Hi, my name is Richard, I am a results-driven, high-performance Entrepreneur with a restless, inquisitive mind; a natural drive, and a demonstrated ability to inspire teams. For more than 14 years, I have been the proud owner of Pall Mall Barbers; a barbershop with a long history of success providing hairdressing and grooming to gentlemen.As a Business front-runner, I have provided strategic vision, quick delivery, and compelling and insightful initiatives; leading execution against targets and driving continuous improvements that have allowed the business to successfully scale to 6 central London, Birmingham, and a flagship US barbershop based in New York. My persevering character and my desire to overcome myself have been key tools for my success, and I define myself as someone who always delivers the extra mile. I am skilled at devising and implementing high-impact initiatives that support growth, increase market share, and deliver best in class customer experiences. I am also very effective at operating under uncertainty, structuring complex issues, and making sound decisions within fast-paced environments. Pall Mall Barbers store from the previous family owners – growing the business to 6 central London stores and the beginnings of our international expansion in New York.
✔Founded Pall Mall Barbers London 2005 & New York at Rockefeller Centre in 2018. ✔Winner of RLI Global Rising Star Award in Hollywood 2019. ✔Proud Winners of Board of Trade award 2018 & Export Champions for Department of International trade. ✔Export Champions for Department of International trade. ✔Multiple Award-winning and shortlists with GQ, RLI, HJ Business awards. ✔Events with world-leading brands, Google, Champion League Final, MasterCard, Facebook, Jack Daniels & World Retail Congress, Retail Week Live. ✔Over 500 media including BBC, ITV, CNN, Sky, The Daily Mail, The Royal magazine, and many more.
How it all Started
Like many barbers starting out, my first job was sweeping the floors and making tea at a barber shop in Bedford when I was 12 years old. At the age of 15, I was forced to leave school, and told by my teachers that I would amount to nothing. I couldn’t read or write, which meant I could not go into a job where I needed those skills. My dad made me realise that I needed to learn a trade.
So, I started cutting hair at Thomas Anthony, teaching myself along the way by watching how the other barbers worked. From then on, I went to barber college at Barnfield College to get a qualification. Whilst I was at Barnfield, I won the college competition two years running, as well as the student of the year.
I won the South of England Championships two years in a row, then went on to end up in the top three at the National finals. After college, I worked at Vincenzo’s Italian barber shop, still in Bedford, where I continued to teach myself from the other barbers: perfecting my barbering skills, men’s hairdressing and speed work. But I was still determined to do more and learn more.
I moved to London at 21 and started working in Mayfair, just off Savile Row. I spent eight years building a loyal clientele, with many high-profile and influential clients. Then, just before my 30th birthday, I re-mortgaged my flat to buy Pall Mall Barbers.
Running a business was going to be a new venture, but to do that, I also had to learn to read and write. My dad had to write out the spellings of numbers so that I could copy them to write cheques. I became even more determined to be a success, and prove my school teachers wrong.
When I first walked into the store in 2005, it was an old barber shop just off Leicester square operating under a different name, in desperate need of love and attention. It had been in family hands for around 50 years, and nothing had changed since the 60s.
The family had been trying to sell it for 2 years, and when I walked in I knew it was fate – that I had to have it. The daughter of the owner was selling it, and obviously had a sentimental attachment to the shop – she wanted to see it go to someone who was just as passionate.
About six months after buying the shop, I was decorating the shop over the weekends – between cutting hair and running the business during the week – and found an old business card with the heading “Pall Mall Toilet Saloon”, dated around 1910-1914. I began piecing together the history, and discovered the business dated back to 1896! It was a really exciting discovery and made my ambitions to build a brand started to come to life. Find us on Wikipedia
Once the business was modernised and running, and I felt I’d mastered running one store, I knew it was time to open a second. I trained one of my barbers, in management skills. Since then, I’ve felt it really important to progress team members and give them opportunities.
Opening a second store was one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in business. I had to develop a way of replicating everything in another store. It was tough but rewarding. With the help of my team, I opened the second shop in Fitzrovia in 2012, and 2 more stores in Westminster and Bishopsgate in 2015.
I have kept my determination throughout. My ambition with Pall Mall Barbers is to develop a global brand from nothing. It’s already happened – but the world hasn’t seen it yet! I found that shaving products weren’t delivering the performance I needed in a barber shop environment and began to develop products. I’ve built a really fantastic team around me, with a combined knowledge of 350 years working in the barbering trade. I developed a high-quality product line with constant feedback from my team. Read More. The next steps are taking the brand global, and wholesaling the products to retailers, and barbers around the world. Even after all this work, it still feels like I’m at the beginning of a very exciting journey. It might sound strange, but I want to thank the teachers that didn’t believe in me.
It made me want to prove them wrong, and I’m able to say that so far, I have. My story is still continuing…Prince William Visits Pall Mall Barbers On February 14th 2019, Pall Mall Barbers had the immense privilege of welcoming HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, to our Paddington barbershop. Prince William visited our Paddington barbershop.
HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, alongside his wife The Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – of course, we know them better as Kate, Harry, and Meghan, but titles are titles – lead Heads Together, a mental health initiative for young people, veterans and homeless charities aimed at addressing the growing mental health crisis in our country.
A Royal Visit at Pall Mall Barbers
Prince William arrived at the barbershop with our Founder & CEO Richard Marshall, battling the crowds of Royal fans who had gathered outside to witness the Prince in person. He spent time speaking with our barbers talking about the importance of addressing mental health issues.
We gifted him with some of our award-winning products, and whilst he was in the barbershop he joked that he didn’t really need too much help in the way of haircuts anymore.
Richard Marshall later said the occasion was ‘an incredibly special one which gave him a great sense of fulfillment and accomplishment’.
In the News
The work that Prince William and his family are doing to draw attention to mental health has been incredibly valuable, and the conversations are generating plenty of press coverage.
The visit attracted global media attention with Richard Marshall being interviewed on ITV News London whilst General Manager spoke live on Sky News. The Royal household covered the visit, with tweets and articles from Kensington Palace and the Royal Family as well as the Heads Together initiative. Additionally, the Daily Mail, Channel 5, Hello, People, and the Daily Express all reported on this momentous occasion. The news even travelled as far as Australia and Canada!
Our Mental Health Solution
Modern lives are exhausting, and full of anxiety – working in London can be particularly taxing on our mental health. Stressful jobs, long commutes, expensive rents and the increasing phenomenon of loneliness which can be exacerbated through social media – all builds into a perfect storm. And on top of that, men are less likely than women to visit a doctor and receive treatment for their mental health conditions, click www.royal.uk to find out more about the visit of Prince William.
The Pall Mall Barbers Story
Since 1896, Pall Mall Barbers have been at the forefront of men’s haircuts and male grooming and have set the agenda for style-conscious gentlemen for over 123 years in London. To this day, we are driven by our dedication to giving the highest quality experience for our clientele, for each of the 63,196 haircuts we delivered last year.
Our relentless dedication to deepening our knowledge of styling techniques and traditions across the globe has given birth to a world-class suite of products and services that combine cutting-edge London styling with the very best global male grooming techniques. This focused approach has led to us becoming the largest and most awarded independent barbering business in London with over 52 haircutting seats and 23 award-winning products. Read More.
BBC Group Chat
Poppy from BBC speaks to Richard from Pall Mall Barbers about the barbershop experience, why it matters to men – young and old, and everything that comes with the barbershop experience. The safe place to be who they can be, the barber who is exclusively yours, cheating on your barber, and the dilemmas this brings. Richard Marshall founder and CEO of Pall Mall Barbers joins the conversation around the importance of barbers being present for their customer’s mental health needs and much much more. Click www.bbc.co.uk to hear the group chat.