Meet the Ruffians #12: It’s Derek Shortall, from our Covent Garden shop

Meet Derek Shortall. Barber at our Covent Garden shop. Derek hails from Dublin but has been living and working in London since 2011. He loves a fade, tapers and doing creative scissor cuts. We picked six questions out of our… let’s say hat, to help you get to know Derek…

What makes Ruffians special? 

Ruffians, for me, is the perfect balance of prestige with no pretension. What really makes it though, is the team… their talent and passion for their craft is really inspiring! 

You work in Ruffians CGN. Where’s your favourite place to eat nearby?

As much as I love working in Covent Garden, the food options are ruining my beach body hopes haha. I’m oddly really repetitive with food. I’ll pick one place and eat there every day until I absolutely can’t stand it anymore!

Derek Shortall at work in Ruffians Covent Garden

Who is your all-time hair icon?

Sooo many! Love the classics… Brando, Dean etc but aesthetically I really love 80s looks too…. Think more David Bowie than Pat Sharp though. 

What’s going to be the next big thing in men’s hair?

As much as I love to fade, I’m really enjoying the softer scissor looks that are coming through , wherever I can combine the two, that’s ideal for me.

If I was going to give you a thousand pounds to spend in one shop, which one would you choose?

Anyone that knows me would say the honest answer would either be hundreds of ASOS parcels arriving at the shop… or maybe a clear out of the local Tesco’s Jaffa Cake stock!

Getting a haircut is a great way of taking some time for self-care. How do you like to treat yourself to some ‘me time’?

Me time …. Light some candles, run a bath, play some Marvin Gaye… and eat all those Jaffa Cakes! Seriously though, putting the clippers away and being with family or friends. Sure, alone time is great but it doesn’t beat company.  


To book an appointment with Derek or any of our talented Covent Garden barbers, click here.

Meet the Ruffians #11 – the glorious and gorgeous Ian Fallon from Ruffians Edinburgh

Meet Ian Fallon, frustrated actor and Ruffians Edinburgh’s resident photographer, he has been cutting hair for 18 years – presumably since he was three or something; he’s tried his hand at other creative endeavours, so you may have caught him in a show or two, but he always comes back to ensuring the men of Edinburgh are always looking sharp. He has a particular interest in natural, undone hair and  – think beyond the abs on a Hollister campaign and to those all-American, beachy hairstyles. In contrast, he’s also a fan of the traditional 1940s pompadour style.

You work in Ruffians Edinburgh. What’s your favourite thing about the area?

The people locally. There are a lot offices in the area filled with stressed men who see Ruffians as a sanctuary and who also typically don’t have their hair too short, so it suits my style of cutting. My fellow Ruffians are superior to me in the fade department, but I love a longer cut. Also, I love a man in a suit.

Where should Ruffians open its next shop and why?

Melbourne, Australia. It’s my hometown and it’s super-cool.

Who is your all-time hair icon?

Redken Global Creative Director, Guido Palau. I personally couldn’t keep up in the world of session styling and being a creative director, but I love watching backstage videos of Guido working. He is a sculptor that uses hair as his medium.

How do you stay inspired to be the best barber you can be?

My clients are my directors, I just suggest solutions for their hair issues. Sometimes I make up names for their cuts that will stick in their heads – and mine – so when they ask for it, I know exactly what they want. Also, I love the idea of them telling their mates the names of their hair cuts! Some of them are a little cheeky, I won’t give you any examples right now!

Getting a haircut is a great way of taking some time for self-care. How do you like to treat yourself to some ‘me time’?

I like slow jogs. We have some fantastic walking and cycle paths around my part of Edinburgh. I also like walking while listening to audio books however, I recently leant that’s not the best idea when something devastating happens in the story. Literally doubled over, holding my stomach crying because of ‘Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller in the middle of a cycle path.

If I was going to give you five thousand pounds to spend in one shop, which one would you choose?

Alas, the shop I could have easily spent £5K was the Taschen Book Store in New York but it has closed. I love big hard cover books and also the mystery of how much a book is worth. You could spend £7 on a book or £1,300 on a book and they could both be the same size. It’s so decadent! 

To book an appointment with Ian or any of our talented Edinburgh barbers, click here.

Meet the Ruffians: Matthew Heckel from our Soho - Liberty shop

Meet the Ruffians #10: Barber Matthew Heckel from our Soho – Liberty shop

Meet Matthew Heckel (Hex to his friends) – one of our barbers from our shop in the men’s department of the Liberty London department store in Soho. Matt has over a decade’s experience of working with hair and has been a barber with Ruffians for two years.

I have always leaned towards more creative pursuits, be it graphic design, editing films or writing comics, but underpinning it all is a need for precision and quality. This is what led me to Ruffians. Personally, I carry the title of nerd proudly, loving any chance to show off my movie trivia or sketching some pop art characters‘ says Matt about himself. So what else does Matt have to say? Read our Q&A to learn more!

Ruffians: What’s the difference between a £28 and £58 haircut?

Matthew Heckel: For me, paying a higher price is a guarantee for quality. It acts as another incentive to provide the best service I can. Clients willing to pay this show they take their hair seriously so you want to create something that is worthy of their expectations and worthy of the price tag. It also allows us to do something that is more than just a haircut, we invest time to create an atmosphere that is both comfortable and luxurious, we offer a seamless experience including our front of house that keeps things running professionally and efficiently.

R: What do you look for in a good barber?

MH: I believe the most important quality is enthusiasm. You can’t teach it, and when you find someone that is truly passionate about what they do then it’s contagious and fuels an exciting and creative environment for us and our customers. I find that people will go the extra mile to help you reach your goals if their passion is present. Enthusiasm will carry you through the hard times and as a trainer this energy is key for creating a learning atmosphere. When the enthusiasm has gone, it’s time for a change.

Matt gives a customer a hot towel treatment, as part of a Ruffians wet shave. It’s a really relaxing experience… honestly!

R: How do you stay inspired to be the best barber you can be?

MH: This one is easy, it’s my colleagues. The people I work with inspire and challenge me to consistently bring my best. Whether someone has been in the industry for 5 minutes or 5 years, they will always have something that will make you look at your own work in a different way, which I find so exciting. The people I work opposite produce work that makes me think “I want to do that next time”, and that is always inspiring to me.

R: Tell us your best joke.

MH: I love a pun and am the king of the dad joke, but my current fave is this:

Did you hear the one about the Spanish magician? He climbed up on stage waved his wand and shouted “uno, dos ..”, and in a puff of smoke he’s gone without a tres!

R: What’s your idea of the perfect day off?

Spending so much time in London’s exhilarating busyness I find it very centring to spend my down time in the calm countryside I call home. So, after a leisurely breakfast I’d pack a lunch and we would set out to explore. Stopping off in one of the nearby villages to buy some coffee and a pastry we would aim for the river and follow that until we find somewhere to sit and enjoy the view.  I would stay alert for any photo opportunity I should come across, or somewhere to pause and sketch. Slowly retracing my steps home we would stop off at our local for a couple of drinks before arriving at our little cottage for a movie and dinner, top choice being my partner’s lasagne – bliss!

To book an appointment with Matthew or any of our talented Soho-Liberty barbers, click here.

meet the ruffians 9

Meet The Ruffians #9: Operations Manager, Sam

Introducing, Ruffians Operations Manager and self titled “Wolf of Wigmore Street”, Sam. Having started as a barber in Marylebone, Sam climbed the Ruffians ladder and now oversees the management of all five of our shops whilst also still cutting hair three days a week! Here’s what he had to say about his time at Ruffians.

How long have you worked for Ruffians?
For 3 years now – I started as a barber at Marylebone, then manager of Marylebone and now I’m the group operations manager of the company.  

What’s the best thing about being a Ruffians barber? 
Working in a store where every member of staff brings something different to the table from personalities to talent and I am fortunate enough to call many of them friends

Describe Ruffians in three words
Passionate, Meticulous, Exciting 

Tell us about your most memorable day at Ruffians 
I always love the Friday before everyone leaves for Christmas – we have a full team, everyone’s firing out Christmas specials, the customers have the ultimate Friday feeling, the shops fizzing and I get to work with everyone!

What inspired you to get into barbering?
I’ll be honest, I went into hairdressing originally because it was a room full of girls, I was 15 years old so that was my main focus. I realised soon after that I actually quite liked cutting hair luckily but preferred the technicalities of men’s hair, I wanted to cut all my friends hair. I also have a strong case of verbal diarrhea so can’t stop myself talking all day so I definitely needed a career that this could work for. I wanted to go to work with a smile and leave with one! Couldn’t have gone better to be honest – I’m a firm believer in the idea that, if you don’t like your job, don’t do it. 

Who is your all time hair icon? 
All of the rolling stones. They’ve had it all and even at their ripe ages they’ve got some serious pelt. 

If you could get your work featured in any magazine, which would it be? 
GQ – I grew up reading it, taking advice and trying to look cool. I know it’s a place many people go to for all their questions and info on all things men’s fashion! 

If you could cut any celebrity’s hair, who would it be? 
I’d like to give Boris Johnson a good trim. The guy needs some serious help and maybe I could chill him out abit. 

How do you stay inspired to be the best barber you can be? 
The people around me! I also like to go on at least one course a year which doesn’t have to be men’s hair. I’ve learnt some amazing techniques from hairdressing courses too. I also am fortunate enough to know my clients really well, I want to deliver the best cut every time. 

What’s your idea of the perfect day off? 
Wake up – bacon and sausage sarnie, then I’d walk down to the pub have a pint in the sun and probably stroke someone’s doggo. At this point I’d be pretty snoozy, so, head back –  have a nap probably after watching some Border force Australia. In the evening, meet some friends for dinner, something BBQ related. Inevitably give myself meat sweats and head home. I’d wake up the next day hangover free – obviously. 

Do you have any tattoos? Which is your favourite and why? 
I’ve got quite a few – I don’t really have favourites but if I had to pick it’d be the tiger on my knee  – it does have 3 eyes for some reason which I became aware of after the fact, but it works – although I certainly won’t be getting the other knee done for a while.

Getting a haircut is a great way of taking some time for self-care. How do you like to treat yourself to some ‘me time’? 
I like to take a long walk, I like to look around me, clear my head and listen to music. I love walking through London. 

What’s your favourite song of all time and why? 
Lucky Man by The Verve. It reminds me of a lot of great memories and great people – I also like to think that I’m incredibly lucky, right place right time kind of guy.

To book in with Sam or any of the talented barbers across our five shops, click here