Chester hairdressing boss Robin Langley aims to put himself a cut above the rest by operating a revolutionary mobile barbers – with the help of a Flintshire trailer maker.
Ifor Williams Trailers recently hosted a fanfare launch for three innovative new products, including a unit which can be used as a mobile business.
The business in-a-box trailer can be tailor made to suit the requirements of a variety of businesses enabling them to set up shop in different locations.
First to put the business in-a-box idea into action is Robin Langley, who already runs successful hair salons in Wrexham and Chester.
He wanted to try out the new trailer as a mobile barbers and really get his business on the move.
According to Robin, who founded his company Ego Xcentric Ltd seven years ago, the business in-a-box trailer has enough space within its stylish and compact body to provide a two-position barbers shop at the front plus adaptable living accommodation at the rear.
It caused quite a stir when he showcased his smart blue and white trailer, complete with barbers pole, in Wrexham’s busy Queen’s Square.
Robin, 42, said: “My business currently operates from three sites, including a unisex salon in Overton and barbers in Wrexham and Chester, and I was looking for a novel way of expanding my operation.
“Ifor Williams Trailers looked around for a hairdressing business with a similar ethos and drive as themselves and when I saw business in-a-box I knew immediately it was for me.
“Some of my stylists and myself then worked closely with the Ifor Williams technical team to come up with a version which meets my specific requirements for a well thought out and stylish interior. I now call it my barbers pod.
“There’s enough space for two complete styling stations with chairs, mirrors and storage areas for their equipment such as scissors, combs and hair products. There are also plenty of electrical power points available to plug in things like hairdryers and a TV on the wall.
“At the rear of the in-a-box, accessible through a small door, is quite a spacious living area fitted with two beds, a table, seats, a cooker, a sink and another TV fitted to the wall.
“Everything is nicely fitted out to make it as comfortable as possible for the staff and customers who will use it.
“Ifor Williams Trailers also took care of wrapping the trailer in our corporate colour of blue with a big white X for Ego Xcentric on the side.”
Robin added: “The idea is that the trailer can be used to take your business wherever you want it to be.
“I’ve been thinking of perhaps setting up a temporary barbers shop at big festivals like Glastonbury or the Royal Welsh Show .”
He explained he had tried out the in-a-box throughout December and now plans to take it to places such as Broughton Retail Park in Flintshire and the Greyhound Retail Park in Chester.
Robin added: “If it works out all right my eventual aim is to order quite a few of them from Ifor Williams Trailers and operate them on a franchise basis.
“The initial try-out in Wrexham town centre proved to be very successful and the trailer did everything I wanted it to do.
“I think it would be the perfect solution for all kinds of businesses who want to get things on the move.”
One of the first to put the mobile barbers shop to the test when it parked up in Queens Square was 10-year-old Ewan Higgins of Hope in Flintshire, who popped in for a quick short back and sides while he was out shopping with his mum, Michelle Higgins.
Michelle said: “We were in town when we spotted the mobile barbers and just thought we’d pop in and give it a try.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea and should catch on. It’s amazing how they have been able to fit a decent-sized barbers shop and the living accommodation into such a small space.”
Ewan said: “It’s certainly different being able to come to a great place like this to have your hair cut and I really like it.”
Cara Wilson, 28, from Ruabon in Wrexham, who has been working with Ego Xcentric since leaving Yale College six months ago, was resident stylist for the Queen’s Square trial.
She said: “I’ve never cut hair in a trailer before but I think it’s a really great idea.
“The way it’s been fitted out is so trendy and smart that I think customers will want to come in and use it. It’s a completely new experience and should bring in lots of new business.”
Andrew Reece-Jones, the design engineering manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, was delighted the trial run had proved such a success.
He said: “The business in-a-box concept is a new one and we were very pleased it received such a positive response at our international launch.
“Robin’s experience has underlined our confidence in the potential of the trailer and its versatility which will make it popular with a new type of customer, the entrepreneur who needs their business to be mobile.”