Barber Connect Meets: Jim The Trim (Autism Barbers Assemble)
After a video of him laying on the floor cutting hair went viral in 2015, James Williams aka Jim The Trim has made huge movements with the charity Autism Barbers Assemble. Their aim is to provide a service to children who find it terribly difficult to have a haircut because of Autism. We chat with James about the future for ABA and how he is eradicating the stigma behind Autism.
Not too many people are aware of Autism and how people, especially barbers, should approach it. How are you breaking the stigma behind autism?
I’m breaking the stigma by treating them the same as I would treat every other customer. Being kind, understanding them and having the patience is how other barbers or hairdressers should treat people who suffer with Autism. Some have been doing it for years and haven’t been given the recognition for helping but I want to help give them that by joining together to spread the awareness across Great Britain and further.
How do your pop up events differ to a regular barber shop? What should we expect at your event in Ystrad Mynach on April 19th?
Our pop up events are only every few months and are different to the regular day at a shop. The day is dedicated to only autistic children getting a haircut and giving familes a chance to come somewhere where they can feel accepted and not judged. Somewhere where they wont be refused for being classed as ‘hard work.’ The most important part of these days is us giving the money we make on the events to local charities that need funding.
For our event in Wales at Ystrad Mynach we have 60 children booked in on 1 hour appointments. It will be separated over 3 floors at Spirit Hair Salon who are allowing us to use the shop to make this day happen. We’ll be helped by 14 other stylists who came forward to help do the haircuts, and there will be sensory toys for the children all supplied on the day by Modern Barber Magazine’s very own Rachel Gould.
After going viral in 2015, what are you doing to spread the word and ensure ABA will be a lasting success?
To spread the awareness I do live videos on Facebook and on my own personal page. It give familes a chance of happiness watching a child get a stress free haircut. To any parent this means the world as a haircut is so simple to us but things like hair touching the skin, seeing sharp scissors or vibrations can make a child go into a meltdown. I find approaching with different methods is key: using iPads, water spray and toys tends to keep the children busy rather than making them feel pressured to sit in the chair. Working around the child can make the experience a whole lot easier.
ABA has grown massively over the last year and we will continue by putting on special events and getting at any hair show to spread the awareness. We get a lot of support from barbers saying they will be an ABA supporter by putting our sticker in their shop to say they are autism friendly. We also have leaflets to hand out to give barbers an idea about ABA & an introduction on autism.
What does Barber Connect mean to you and ABA? Has it helped in the past?
Barber Connect is the biggest hair show for mens hair, which helps us get our message across. We really appreciate the support they have given us not only last year but also this year too.