Celebrity barber Mark Maciver talks to ME & MY MONEY

Celebrity barber: Mark Maciver is better known as SliderCuts

Famous barber Mark Maciver was once paid £5,000 to cut a client’s hair, which took him less than an hour.

Maciver, 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 there to teach me anything about money. But my mother, who was born and raised in Nigeria, taught me and my three siblings that we had to work hard to earn a living.

When I was young, she owned a newsagent. When I was four, she was robbed and everything was taken. She had no insurance. I don’t think she even understood things like that. She ended up having to close the shop.

Then we were evicted from the apartment we lived in above the store and became homeless. We had gone from being comfortable to living in a homeless shelter practically overnight. Finally, we were accommodated by the town hall.

But we constantly had to move 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 realized how far behind I was in my reading.

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

Do you always have enough to eat?

No. I remember one time, just before we became homeless, we only had to eat two slices of bread at five. My mother said, “Cut each piece in half, and each of you four children takes 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 time 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 livable.

It was overkill 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 salon.

I used up my credit cards, took out payday loans, borrowed money from friends — and friends of friends — and got loans on two rental properties I owned to make ends meet. I had a lot of interest to pay and in total I ended up in debt of £350,000.

Have you ever been paid stupid money?

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

What was the best year of your financial life?

Last year. I’ve made more money in the past year than ever before in my life: six figures. In addition to making money from my business, I also give corporate talks on the back of my book, Shaping Up Culture, and do brand collaborations.

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought for fun?

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

What is your biggest financial mistake?

I tried to create a booking app for barbers in 2017. I invested £30,000 in the project and then found out it would cost an additional £30,000 to launch.

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

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

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

What’s the best financial decision you’ve made?

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

Are you saving for a pension or investing in the stock market?

Yes. I started saving for a pension when I was 21 and have been saving regularly ever since. I also invested £2,000 in Amazon shares at the start of lockdown which are now worth over £4,000. A client advised me to buy the shares and it turned out to be a good investment.

Do you own a property?

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

What luxury do you give yourself?

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

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

I would increase funding for schools in disadvantaged areas. I think working-class children deserve as good an education as children from wealthier 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 the Red Cross and my church. I am also sponsoring a child in Africa.

What is your number one financial priority?

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

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