If you know anything about getting a good haircut in the UK, then it’s more than likely that you have heard the name JJ Savani.
With more than a decade in the barbering game, Jeet A Savani, better known as JJ Savani, is one of the most well-known barbers and stylists in the country. From the rich and Elite of Dubai to Bollywood Film stars, JJ Savani has trimmed some of the biggest entertainers on the planet, but it’s his commitment to bettering his community that makes him so well loved.
JJ Savani personifies UK culture, and we love him for it. With more than 13,000 followers on Instagram, if you’ve taken a trip to the Ikon Man UK barbershop in Northamptonshire, you’ll know exactly why: on a day to day basis, you’ll see JJ Savani and his team delivering crisp haircuts with insightful conversation. This combination of likeability and talent has translated over to JJ Savani’s social media, and the brand’s online presence has reached international heights.
From the outside looking in, it may seem like running a barbershop is relatively straightforward, but by spending just a few hours with JJ Savani, I was given an insight into the amount of hard work, attention to detail and the thinking process that goes into running his business successfully. And now with TV Celebrity attached to his name (OTT Off the Tools with JJ Savani), Savani is adding a certain gravitas to his profession as an Indian Barber.
We met up with the self-taught creative to find out how he got to where he is today.
The origin is just as important as the end result, so tell me: what made you want to start cutting people’s hair?
JJ Savani: I grew up around Hair and Beauty in my early teens as my mum was a Beautician and working in a salon with the top floor being rented out to an Afro Barbershop. So it was natural to me when starting my Saturday job sweeping the floors I embraced the culture and lifestyle and fell in love with the industry and the rest is history. Obviously mistakes were made but it’s one of those things, the more you do it the better you will get at it! From then on I trained as a Hairdresser, Barber and Male Grooming expert.
How did the name JJ Savani come about?
The name is relatively new! I actually always worked under the name Jeet S when barbering and Jroyale when on stage Djing.
However it was only in 2020 when I worked with Menspire Salons the name JJ was thrown about in the salon and academy and since then my career has gone to amazing heights and the name JJ Savani just stuck!
You’ve amassed such a large online following—how did you do it in such a short time?
Well I have always known content is king when it comes to marketing and building a brand, so when I was Djing full time and had Barbering as a side hustle what I was doing was combining the 2 alter egos. For example if I was Djing on MainStage at a big festival, whenever I was off stage and in the green room or the artist tent, I would always have my kit with me. So I would literally just go up to an artist and offer to quickly shape them up or do their beard so they would look fresh on stage, in return I would just ask them to shout me out on their socials and this really helped boost my profile! I am nowhere near where I want to be in terms of following and brand awareness but I will continue to keep using different marketing campaigns to keep building.
When did you first realise that JJ Savani was a big deal out there?
I don’t really think this hit me up untill earlier this year. Don’t get me wrong I was always being invited out to dubai and across the world to cut hair for the elite.
However that “click” moment came earlier this year when I got a random call from Prague, Czech Republic inviting me to judge the EU barber finals. So this was a major deal for me to be recognised and honoured to Judge the European finals from a country that I have no links to. Even to the point where after the event, I was out in a club with some friend and I randomly got stopped at like 3am by some people asking for a photo and asking me to join them in VIP as they’d been following my work for years, it was a surreal experience.
You’re officially an online celeb now, too, with your Video series and podcast OTT Off the Tools with JJ Savani. What was the inspiration behind that?
This idea had been playing in my mind for some time but I was just finding the right time and platform to showcase this, which is now in the form of a video series on YouTube and as a podcast on Spotify, Apple Music & more.
My main inspiration behind this was that us as creatives always get invited to showcase our skills and craft whether it be in a video, online content or even in stage. But never have we as creatives been asked or given to opportunity to showcase WHO we are, WHY we do what we do and our JOURNEY! So OTT is a platform for us creatives to share our journey, our struggles and our accomplishments for fellow creatives and even our clientele to see and understand what we are all about.
What kind of music do you usually have playing in the shop?
I usually have a mix of old school hip hop and R&B as this is the sort of music I grew up in being a pre 2000s kid! But at the same time our music is never pumping as I like to promote conversations and discussing in the studio as I believe it’s important for a barber and client to connect on different levels and not just through a haircut!
What does the future hold for JJ Savani?
Myself I’m not really interested in franchising or creating other stores as my vision for the brand is to grow it beyond a shop. This is why I’m taking the brand down different em avenue such as content creation, to make it more of a movement and lifestyle rather than just a shop.