“I’ve become like a walking Google maps" Andrew Ketteridge

"In Berlin they’re very easy with trading comfort for style” Andrew Ketteridge

About a year ago Andrew Ketteridge moved to Berlin. Without any knowledge of the German language, the hairdresser from Melbourne was unsure what he was going to do as a job. When a friend posted a message on Facebook – suggesting everyone in Berlin should get their haircuts done by Andrew – he found his calling: ‘Dead Ends’ was born. “It just developed into a really fun business, where I get on my bike and ride around to people’s homes to do haircuts.”

Back in Melbourne Andrew (28) was a hairdresser for ten years and a hairdressing teacher during the last four years. Even though they loved Melbourne, he and his wife were ready for a change of life. When they arrived in Berlin, Andrew’s business developed quite rapidly. “Especially in the expat community, everyone is so happy to help each other out. I started off cutting only expats: Australians, Americans and Canadians. But then I started getting more Germans and locals living here, so I guess that’s a good sign. That means people like my haircuts and it’s not just because I speak English.”

A walking Google Maps
Today Andrew rides on his bike through Berlin to give people haircuts at home. He laughs. “I’ve become like a walking Google Maps. When I first started doing this, I didn’t know where anything was. People would be like, ‘I live on Torstrasse’, and the next one would say ‘I’m in Karl-Marx-strasse’. I would be going back and forward the entire day, which was a bit tiring.” He adds: “now I make sure I can start my day for example in Friedrichshain, then work my way around Mitte and then finish up around my area, Neukölln.”

There are many benefits of his job. “It’s great because I can pick and choose when I work and I meet really cool people. I also like seeing how other people live in Berlin.” As Andrew visits every client at home, he gets a unique insight into people’s lives. He laughs: “I feel like, me coming over, is a reason for people to clean up their house. Often I see a big pile in the corner that obviously had just been moved because I was coming over.” 

Comfort for style
Andrew works three to four days a week. Each day he does between six to eight haircuts. Sometimes even ten per day, which is intense: “I allow myself an hour in each persons home. I need the time to introduce myself, to chat a little and set some things up. Sometimes I go over and it can be a massive share house, with five people.” He laughs: “then it almost becomes like a factory line: next, next, next!”

Of course the born and raised Aussie has noticed some differences in hairstyles. “I guess its closely related to fashion, but in Berlin they’re very easy with ‘trading comfort for style” – if that makes sense. It’s as if people think: ‘if I could get an easy haircut, or an easy outfit to wear, I would much rather do that than putting in a bit more effort it.’ Which isn’t a bad thing, you know, I enjoy the whole laid back thing.”

Requests and friendships
About two weeks ago Andrew got a special request from a guy who asked him if he had seen the Batman movie. Andrew: “he wanted his hair done as Two-Face, a villain in Batman. Well, I’m not sure if you know what it looks like, but he’s got crazy wild hair on one side, and clean on the other side. Like a mad man! I asked him, are you sure you want to get this hair cut? But he loved it. And it actually looked quite cool.” He laughs. “As cool as a Batman villain haircut can get.”

Andrew doesn’t ask much for a haircut: fifteen euros in Kreuzberg and Neukölln and outside those areas twenty euros. Compared to the rates in Australia that is not expensive at all. Andrew explains: “that’s what I kind of figured – a lot of people in Berlin don’t have that much money.” But he doesn’t mind: “it’s kind of nice actually, I still feel like I’m giving the same haircuts, but I get to cut more people. More people that I can relate to I guess. You know, somebody that is going to pay 120 dollars for a haircut is mostly not a mid or late twenty person. Now, with a lot of my clients here, I’ve developed some really good friendships!”

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