Falkirk barber John Hamilton never wanted to be anything else, and admits he’s “obsessed” with the pursuit of excellence in his profession.
So when he was awarded the coveted Master Barber accreditation by the British Master Barbers Alliance it was the perfect Christmas present - just a little over a year since he launched his own shop in Mary Street, Laurieston.
Called The Den Barbers, it’s his pride and joy, the working environment he always wanted when he dreamed of becoming a barber as a teenager.
In those days he practised his skills on friends while waiting to train up to do the job full time.
Now a large and growing stream of regular customers - girls as well as boys - are beating a path to his door.
He has plenty of female customers who like his approach to avant-garde, short-hair styles.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get this accolade, and I’ve had loads of support and congratulations from customers too,” he said.
“You don’t actually need a qualification to be a hairdresser, but like anything else people soon get to find out who the professional ones are.
“I’ve been registered as a barber for nine years, and had to go through quite a process to gain the Master Barber title - they watch how you go about things very carefully through video links.”
He has just completed probably his busiest week of the year, with a diary full of bookings from people seeking the perfect haircut for Christmas outings and parties - and was forced to ditch his usual “just walk in” policy for a few days.
But in a normal week he can usually accommodate customers with little difficulty, and says he’ll do the best he can to give each of them exactly the look they want.
“I do appeal more to the younger end of the market, and am passionate about style,” says the 30-year-old.
“I am completely honest about everything, and if someone asks me about, say, a hair product and I think it’s rubbish I will say so.
“I’m happy in what I’m doing and determined to keep aiming as high as I can”.
As the owner of a magnificent moustache, meanwhile, what does he think about beards?
“That’s got a long way to go yet. It’s been building for a few years now and isn’t something that will fade overnight - they’re great, and will be popular for a long time to come”.