Ipswich barber’s incredible rise – after starting in mum’s back garden shed
- Credit: Baba-Z
Starting a barber shop in your mum’s small back garden shed might seem an unlikely route to success.
But Zeaur Rahman has proved that hard work and dedication can lead to great things – after becoming one of Ipswich’s most popular hairdressers, from the humblest of beginnings.
Zeaur today runs Baba-Z Barbers, in Foxhall Road, attracting customers from all over the country - including some professional footballers.
However, the 38-year-old's success did not come on a plate.
Starting work in a small barber shop aged 17, Zeaur – one of seven siblings, born and raised in a household with financial struggles – taught himself the tricks of the trade.
Driven with ambition and the belief that sheer hard work was the only way to a brighter future, at 19 he set up his own barber shop in the unlikeliest of places – the small back garden shed of his mum’s house in Alderman Road.
You might think that would be a tough place to get noticed.
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Yet the shed soon became a hotspot for young men, and not just because Ipswich Town’s Portman Road stadium was nearby.
With the internet still in its infancy when he first picked up his scissors in the early 2000s, Zeaur attributes his success to building a good reputation by word of mouth.
“We didn’t have Facebook or Instagram,” he said.
“It was different back then. My clients were a walking advertisement.
“I wanted people to see their hair and almost demand to know who cut their hair. I still use that strategy in my work today.”
Baba-Z was officially established in 2004 with premises in Felixstowe Road, before relocating to Foxhall Road in 2006.
Zeaur has passed on his skills by training a new generation of young barbers and also developed the iQueueBarbers app system with friend Ady Jacinto in 2012.
The app helps people make appointments on their smartphone and track their position in the queue.
Zeaur, who won Businessperson of the Year at the 2017 Suffolk BME Business Awards, believes community support has been the foundation of Baba-Z's success.
It is more important than ever amid the fall-out of Covid-19, he believes.
While he says Baba-Z is “forever grateful” its clientele has continued to support the store during the crisis, he said: “It is so important to stay positive not only in business, but in general life today.
“Local businesses need their people now more than ever.’’