Issue 1 – The Legacy Begins

Welcome, hounds!!! Assuming that there’s actually anyone here right now, you’re reading the first ever editon of Freehounds, The Blog! Publication uno. The first impression. What an honour, right!?

I thought, what better place to begin “Freehounds, The Blog”s legacy than where THE legacy began!? I’ll be talking about ‘the brand’ itself. So I’ll let you in on how I came up with it all, the general ethos of Freehounds, the potential (I hope) for the brand and any good brand for that matter! I’ll also share my inspirations and maybe a little advice, as far as coming up with your own brand. Not claiming to be a business guru at all, and this isn’t a ‘start-up business’ lecture, so don’t think I’m blowing my own big old, pretentious trumpet. 

A couple of years ago or so, after I was sure that opening a shop in Stirling was the goal, I began to look into coming up with a name/brand. I had this general idea for a wolf based logo – portraying some form of ‘community spirit’ or ‘family feeling’. Seemed fitting for a barber shop. Something as obvious as ‘wolf pack’ would never cut it. It had to be completely stand-alone and unique in its own right. I never came up with anything ideal, until I asked myself the questions – ‘what does my work mean to me?’ and ‘what do I stand for?’…

Barbering, for me, was like an escape from a normal or substandard existence. It made me feel ‘free’. Like I had made my own choice and stuck with it. The wolf part changed to hound – and there you have it. Freehounds. The ‘Barber Club’ came shortly after, to echo the idea of community. And that is how the name for the brand was born!

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As my ideas for the business had grown, everything seemed to fit perfectly culture-wise, with the name. Just like the ‘Loyal Hounds’ cards that some of you saw at the beginning, and other big ideas that I have never seen before in the barber shop world. I can’t really write about these until after they’re executed. Can’t really have people ‘jacking my swagger’ now can I? But trust me when I say, I have big plans, hopes and dreams for this brand. 

I best understand the culture within my brand to be this;

Freehounds is a concept. It’s about being part of a group of individuals, a collective of people where there are no sheep – and every hound has their day. Everyone has their own strengths and identities. Because whether it comes to finding the right haircut, or living life – it’s all about being true to yourself. Own who you are, respect and enjoy the differences between people. Diversity is what makes a group stronger. 

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So, now that I have let you inside the brand, here’s whatever little advice I can give on creating one. And what inspired me.

I would say, an important factor for any brand name is flexibility. And if that didn’t make sense, by that I mean – it should have the ability to be adapted into other areas. Especially if you would like your brand to venture into other revenue streams, like I do. I want to make ‘Freehounds Apparel’ for example. And luckily for me, I have managed to come up with a totally unique brand, that’s incredibly adaptable. Also, a name that includes the service that your business provides, can be kind of cheesy. Like ‘Kenny’s Kutz Barber Shop’ not only sounds like shit, but is in no way adaptable. If you google “Freehounds” the word, the only thing that will come up on page 1 is everything to do with my shop and just one other… odd result. If nothings changed, there’s a website using the word ‘Freehound’ (singular) and they sell ‘breathe right’ strips for your nose… and ‘personal lube’. And that’s it. Nice… Anyways, I am lucky enough to have the legal rights to a copyrighted/trademarked brand. It’s like my second identity. My cooler, more badass alias. 

Think about whatever the business it is that you’re in means to you. How do you want your brand to come across? What parts of your personality and identity can you squeeze into your brand? And it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with something cool, but most of all, real. 

Don’t listen to your friends, family, or anyone for that matter. They don’t know anything about what’s going on inside your head. Whatever is going on is cooking up some goodness, that’s true to you. Don’t let people spoil it. No one liked “Freehounds” when they heard it. But that’s because when you hear something for the first time ever, it doesn’t really trigger anything. If someone says ‘that doesn’t sound like a thing to me’ or ‘that sounds weird’ or anything like that, it just means you have something unique. Once everyone saw the graphic design, they loved it. I think. Unless they lied. Who cares.

I didn’t take any external inspiration for the name itself, but some books I read gave me inspiration as far as ideas for the business etc. These were;

Business For Punks – by James Watt of Brewdog. This book is awesome. For me it was just a super inspiring read. He’s very real and to the point. It has a very conversational feel rather than textbook, and I mean, the Brewdog dudes are probably a couple of the most inspirational businessmen Scotland has seen in a long time, so I’d listen to them. Must read for a young, Scottish business starter-upper.

ADHBook – by Andrew Does Hair. This book was published on instagram. I think the first one to ever have done so. Probably only really suitable if you’re in the barbering/hair industry I would say. But, really, really good. 

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – by Gary Vaynerchuk. This one is about social media. Takes it platform by platform. He’s such a cool mofo, is Gary. Again, very unofficial feel to the writing style, says it how it is, and knows social media to the T. He’s an entertaining writer, and you’ll learn from it. Dying to read his new book actually. 

Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more – by David Hieatt. A client bought me this book! It has quite a cool, short kind of writing style – therefor it’s quite easy to take in. Definitely some wise words in there that might spark a thing or two up. If your brand doesn’t have a mission, it could be quite hard to find purpose. And if it does – it has authenticity and gives you the drive to achieve something. 

So I think that’s everything on that, for now! Thanks a bunch if you stuck this entry into the gargantuan blogging society out to the end, I appreciate that! Freehounds, The Blog – Issue 1 complete! Over and out!

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Photography in this blog by – Jodie Park Photography

Kenny Simpson

Freehounds Barber Club

05/09/2018