For decades, Kurvin Spence was a household name among many Bermudians, young and old. If you wanted a flawless haircut, you would head over to Union Street and you were guaranteed to leave satisfied.
Kurvin started cutting hair at the tender age of 10, under the tutelage of his father, the late Eugene Spence. His family is well-known for its hair dynasty. At one point Kurvin and his four siblings ran a successful hair care business.
In 1983, he was featured in the world renowned Jet Magazine as one of the youngest barbers in the world. Aged 13 at the time, Kurvin was captured cutting the hair of the late legendary coach, Harold “Doc” Dowling. The image can be found online at https://books.google.com/books/about/Jet.html?id=6bYDAAAAMBAJ
At the age of 40, Kurvin decided to retire from barbering: “After doing the same thing for 30 years I got bit tired. I also took on some additional responsibilities—my wife, children and my own home which required more time at home and a more stable income.”
Kurvin says he welcomed the change as, among other things, it allowed him to enjoy small pleasures he couldn’t before.
“The break actually felt good. Working at Belco was different from what I was accustomed too, working from 8-4 and off on weekends was a first ever for me.”
In July 2016, Kurvin and his family moved to Nottingham in the United Kingdom and seven months later he decided to dust off his clippers: “I fell in love with cutting hair again. It doesn't feel like work but more like a hobby that I enjoy doing.
“Initially it was hard to build a clientele due to the British people not being familiar with me or my capabilities, but there were some who did give me a chance and they were pleased and then once the Bermudians in the UK heard that I was cutting they came from various places in the UK, some spending hours traveling on trains, buses and even taxis to get a Top Kuttz haircut.”
Earlier this year, Kurvin did something that he had never done before in his career; he entered a competition.
“When I entered the market out here, I promoted by barbering under the Top Kuttz brand. The Instagram page took off right away with numerous likes and followers and one day I got a direct message which stated, ‘I came across your page as I am looking for talented barbers for the Afro Hair & Beauty LIVE 2017, Luster’s SCurl Battle of the Barbers in London, on May 29. Message me if you would be interested.’ So I gave it some thought, since I have never competed before in my 30 plus years in barbering, but after long thought I said why not and entered the competition.”
Kurvin says he didn’t know what to expect but the competition saw him vying for gold against six top barbers from across the UK. He came away with a well-respected third place.
No matter how many years Kurvin has been cutting he says he still makes sure he doesn’t make the worst mistake a barber can experience: “Using a guard on the machine and it mistakenly comes off and the blade goes straight to the scalp causing a terrible patch in the customer’s head.”
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