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Celebrity barber Mark Maciver talks to ME & MY MONEY

by Press room

Barber to the stars: Mark Maciver is better known as SliderCuts

Celebrity barber Mark Maciver was once paid £5,000 to give a client a haircut – which took him less than an hour. 

Maciver, who is better known as SliderCuts, is one of the country’s most famous barbers and cuts hair for Stormzy, Anthony Joshua, Janet Jackson, author Reggie Yates and rapper Tinie Tempah. 

The 37-year-old is married to artist Lakwena Maciver and lives in Stoke Newington, North London, with his two young children. His book, Shaping Up Culture, has just been published. 

What did your parents teach you about money? 

My dad wasn’t around to teach me anything about money. But my mum, who had been born and raised in Nigeria, taught me and my three siblings that we needed to work hard to earn a living. 

When I was young, she owned a newsagent’s. When I was four, she was robbed and everything was taken. She didn’t have insurance. I don’t think she even understood things like that. She ended up having to close the shop. 

Then we got kicked out of the flat we were living in above the shop and became homeless. We had gone from being comfortable to living in a homeless shelter, virtually overnight. Eventually, we were given accommodation by the council. 

But we had to move constantly because the accommodation was only temporary. Every time I made friends at a new school, we had to move again. My education was disrupted and no one realised how behind I was with my reading. 

By the time we got a council house, I was ten and had been to five different schools. We lived on benefits and free school meals. Money was tight, but we survived.

Did you always have enough to eat? 

No. I remember once, just before we were made homeless, all we had to eat was two slices of bread between five of us. My mum said, ‘Split each piece in half, and each of you four children take one. But my older brothers refused. They said that me and my younger brother should have a slice each instead. It’s not the hunger I remember. It’s that moment in the kitchen with my brothers. I’ll never forget that. 

Have you ever struggled to make ends meet? 

Yes, five years ago I bought a three-bedroom flat in Stoke Newington to live in with my family and needed to fix it up to make it liveable. 

It was a stretch to buy it in the first place. Then I lost money on various builders. I was also investing in my business at the time, buying the lease for my hair and beauty studio. 

I maxed out my credit cards, took out payday loans, borrowed money from friends – and friends of friends – and secured loans against two rental properties I owned to make ends meet. I had lots of interest to pay and in total I ended up £350,000 in debt.

Have you ever been paid silly money? 

Yes. I once gave one of my high profile clients a haircut – a skin fade – which took 45 minutes. He told me to invoice him £5,000 for it. I won’t say his name as he might not want people to know. 

What was the best year of your financial life? 

Last year. I’ve earned more money over the past year than ever before in my life: a six-figure sum. As well as making money from my business, I also give talks to companies off the back of my book, Shaping Up Culture, and do brand collaborations.

What is the most expensive thing you bought for fun? 

It was a black, second-hand Mercedes C Class car for £14,000, 11 years ago. I only owned it for two years. I sold it when my older brother passed away to pay for his funeral and other expenses. He’d lived in Germany, so it cost £5,000 just to bring his body back to England. 

What is your biggest money mistake? 

I tried to create a booking app for barbers in 2017. I invested £30,000 in the project and then discovered that to get it to launch would cost another £30,000. 

I realised what a mistake it was because the market was competitive and I was in over my head. I pulled the plug. 

Celebrity status: Maciver cuts hair for Stormzy, Anthony Joshua, Janet Jackson (pictured), Reggie Yates and Tinie Tempah

Celebrity status: Maciver cuts hair for Stormzy, Anthony Joshua, Janet Jackson (pictured), Reggie Yates and Tinie Tempah

The best money decision you have made? 

Buying a flat in Dalston, London, for £160,000 in 2012 – and then selling it for £310,000 in 2019. Lots of people told me not to buy, but it’s thanks to that property that I was able to buy my other properties. Selling it helped pay off some of my £350,000 debt. I am still in debt to the tune of over £100,000. But it’s more manageable now because my business has taken off. It’s easy by comparison.

Do you save into a pension or invest in the stock market? 

Yes. I started saving into a pension when I was 21 and have been saving regularly ever since. I also invested £2,000 in Amazon shares at the beginning of lockdown which are now worth more than £4,000. A customer advised me to buy the shares and it has proved a good investment. 

Do you own any property? 

Yes, the three-bedroom flat in Stoke Newington, my family home. I bought it for £405,000 in 2017 and it’s now worth £520,000. I also own a three-bed flat in nearby Tottenham Hale which is rented out. It cost £270,000 in 2015 and is now worth more than £400,000. 

What is the one luxury you treat yourself to? 

I like a bottle of cherry cola. It costs £1.70 and I like the taste so much I have it every day. I think I need to take a detox. 

If you were Chancellor, what is the first thing you would do? 

I would increase funding for schools in deprived areas. I think working class children deserve just as good an education as children in richer households. I would also increase Universal Credit to what it was during the pandemic. 

Do you donate money to charity? 

Yes. I donate monthly to a dozen charities, including Red Cross and my church. I also sponsor a child in Africa. 

What is your number one financial priority? 

My family. I want to make sure I have enough money not only to educate my two children, but to allow them to do activities such as learning a musical instrument, gymnastics and swimming lessons. 

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