Issue 2 – Stirling Needs You, Part 1

Hello again you lovely so and so’s!!! Liked what you read last time, did you now? I assume you did and well, I appreciate that.

In this issue of “Freehounds, The Blog”, we’re going to be battling with the ever frustrating subject that is – Stirling. Why you like this, Stirling?

Some of you may have heard me go on about this in the shop. It is a matter that I take pretty seriously. And so it should be, if Stirling is where you lay your weary head! And the matter in question is a big one. Why is there such a severe lack of cool, indy businesses and culture around here? We have a fairly decent sized population, plus the Uni which brings another 11000 or so individuals. A lot of which are used to a, shall we say, less boring community. I have some thoughts on the matter, anyways.

I, like many people from Stirling/similar towns, had the same ambition as most younglings – get the f**k out. ASAP. I wanted to find a job at one of the coolest shops in the coolest cities. Once I did, I’d stay there “forevz”. I eventually did find that job, but I did not stay “forevz”. Why? Because there was a much more lucrative position that I could be in. A bigger, better mission. One with actual purpose. Stirling never had any of these kinds of barber shops that I had spent the last few years working in. But me, I could be the guy that made it happen. I did make it happen, and you’re welcome. This brought me much more joy than any job in any other well renowned shop that wasn’t mine, or wasn’t even in my own town, could. Besides, what was the point in making clients in some city I probably wouldn’t end up staying in? Then I was just doing it for money. And the money wasn’t that good, let’s just say that.

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I understand as much as anyone else, the feeling that you need to “spread your wings” or you’re a total loser. A nobody. So, what? Moving 30 miles down the road to Glasgow makes you a cape-wearing superhero? I dunno. Why add to an already thriving community, when the one at your doorstep needs you? These big cities have plenty of aspiring entrepreneurs. What makes you think that a big city will bring you instant success amidst the competition? Somewhere like that, you are just another option. Somewhere like Stirling, you’re the option. You stand out. Your advantage is that you are the shit – and you had the “cojones” to go for it. Spreading your wings can come after you successfully smash your niche market, anyways.

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I’ve actually cut people’s hair in the shop, from around here, with a great business idea that Stirling could benefit greatly from – then watched as they took that idea to Glasgow. I never understood what made Glasgow the place to open up, not being from there. And why Glasgow spelled “success” clearer than Stirling did – enough to take on the further risk involved. If the only purpose of that is to make more money, money is relative to a lot of things – for one, business expenses. Rent is far greater through there. And if money is the only driving factor for doing something, I’m not sure that factor is quite enough for real success.

So do people open businesses in Stirling, or not? I haven’t seen very many in recent years. So I looked it up. Turns out they do. A total of 364 small businesses started trading in Stirling, in 2016. You’re probably thinking the same thing as I am – “Say what now?” I reckon 95% of those businesses would be things like tradesmen, accountants, small shops, probably more plain barbers/hairdressers, and a whole tonne of other boring kinds of businesses, but I couldn’t get any real info on that. And by boring, I just mean… not fun. Is that better? Not really, sorry. Obviously, my shop makes an exception to the barbers and hairdressers part – being that its super cool and edgy, not to mention the epic haircuts, right? Why, thanks.

Anyways, why aren’t there any cool and exciting small businesses opening up and offering us the things that we so desperately want, and need, to give our little town some culture and diversity? I think the main reason is not that there aren’t any of these kinds of people here, but more that there is a lack of belief that anything could live on and succeed in our town. I would really like to stress that I believe the polar opposite. We see things open and almost instantly close again because of one solid fact – they sucked. Think of all the kinds of businesses that you would love to see open up around here, and ask yourself this – if our town had all of these things, would you use it more? Would you commute to the other, bigger cities less? Are there a lot of people you know that you wholeheartedly believe feel the same as you? Same here. Amongst clients, family and friends – hundreds, actually. If there is even ONE person out there, that maybe read this blog, that’s from Stirling, that has an awesome business idea, that was thinking of betraying us (wow, Kenny) and reading this made them think about maybe keeping their awesome ideas at home to benefit our community and culture – then I have succeeded, you guys. I have. Let’s flush out the long list of wishy-washy chain businesses and make way for real hipster shit. You know you love it.

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Thanks for reading, the next part to this blog will entail words from a couple of guys that in some way feel the same, or are making some difference in one way or another, to our wee town! Until then, it’s over and out once again from me!

Feel free to comment with your thoughts/feelings and what kind of businesses you’d like to see open up in Stirling!!!

Kenny Simpson

Freehounds Barber Club

01/10/2018