Coventry barber who provides free haircuts for the homeless

Owner of Abz Barbers, Abdulghani Najjar which has been open since 2021
-Credit: (Image: Abdulghani Najjar)

A barbershop owner in Coventry gave back to the community earlier this year by giving free haircuts to the homeless. Abdulghani Najjar, 24, is the owner of Abz Barbers on Harnall Lane East in Hillfields.

Originally from Syria, Abdul left school at 13 years old and worked in construction before coming to the UK in 2016 after fleeing the war with his family. His father and uncle were former barbers, and Abdul gained experience trimming his family members' hair before opening his shop in 2021.

Abz Barbers offers a range of services from normal haircuts, skin fade and beard, taper and beard, facial treatments, special designs, and scissor cuts which 'not many barbers' in Coventry do, he says.

Read more: The Coventry hair salon that's owned by a teenager which offers 'everything' for customers

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Abz describes himself as a 'patient' barber which makes him stand out in the city. One customer in the shop says he can curate 'really good conversations' and 'ask you about things in your life' which not many barber business owners do, he said.

Abz told CoventryLive: "I do take time to take consultations because if a customer comes for the first time, I will always take care of them with a consultation. There aren't many barbers who do consultations, they usually just ask 'what do you want' and do it straight away, whereas I like to ask my clients to ensure they are happy," he said.

Despite only being open for three years, Abz Barbers has become an award-winning shop, where he won third place in Barbering of The Year in 2023 in Liverpool which he described as 'the reward is paying off' and added: "You go get ups and downs in business but I was so happy when I won, it was a good achievement.

In terms of giving out free haircuts to the homeless, Abz was inspired by the holy month of Ramadan in March this year, to give back to the community: "I do like giving and helping out people and to get rewarded. It was great to make someone else less fortunate happy with a small gesture, and I'd say it was worth it. I hope to do more concepts like this in the future."

His busy periods are Fridays and Saturdays, with his main clientele being young people between 16 and 25 as the majority of his clients source Abdul through social media.

He told us what it's like to be a young business owner: "You have to put a lot of time into your work and sometimes I don't get to spend much quality time with my family as sometimes I come early or start later. The week before Eid last month, I was at the shop until 2am or 3am, and in a corporate job it's different because after hours, it's not your responsibility, but your own business is a 24-hour sacrifice."

"As I have a young client base, many people don't just come for a haircut, they get advice from me whether it's a good or bad thing, I'm not sure but I always try to give the youngsters some valuable life lessons which can help them in the future," he added.

Since opening in 2021, the prices for haircuts have increased. A normal haircut is £15, a skinfade or taper fade for £20, a normal haircut and beard for £25, a skinfade or taper with beard for £30, and the 'Abz Special' which includes hair and beard, hot towel and 3-step facial treatment for £50.

"When I first started, people used to come and wait for two hours, but now I have a booking system so I know my schedule but the majority of my days are booked out fully, especially on the weekends," he said.

Abdul thinks if he grew up in England, he would 'not have this business' and be 'a bit lost': "I left school at 13 and moved to the UK from the war and started working in my early teens in construction. When I came to the UK, it changed my mentality, I did a hairdressing course at college for three years and learned from my family how to do barbering. It changed my mentality and made me realise I am more of a hands-on, practical person."

Abdul plans to get his 'name out there' and become better in business, and hopefully start teaching other people one day at a barbering school, he added.

Where to find Abz Barbers:

  • Location: 91b Harnall Ln E, Coventry CV1 5AG

  • Opening times: 12pm to 7pm Monday to Saturday, 12pm to 4pm Sunday

You can also follow Abz Barbers on Facebook here or on Instagram @abz.barbers. To make an appointment at Abz Barbers, visit the Booksy website here.

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