Barbershop owner looking to bounce back better than ever after the Covid-19 pandemic

Despite the unprecedented setbacks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Alessandro Calliva, the owner of barbershop chain, Capello, is determined to grow his business into a haircare empire.

Alessandro Calliva, the owner of Capello one of Cardiff’s premier barbershop chains, saw his business plans for 2020 thrown up in the air as a result of Covid-19.

After lockdown restrictions were announced, within the space of a couple of weeks, the 27-year-old was forced to put his aspirations for Capello barbershops on hold which put his business under the strain that so many in Cardiff would have dealt with in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Alessandro in action- Credit- capellobarbers

Originally, from Llandaff, Alessandro is hoping to bounce back better than ever and grow the brand into an empire.

Closing my Business was like losing a baby

Alessandro Calliva

Like all business owners who had to put their plans on pause at the beginning of 2020, Alessandro recalls that period being a scary time full of uncertainty. He was forced to not only worry about himself, but also his close-knit team of staff. Having taken over the business from his father, he maintains the same family values in his business.

“Closing my business was like losing a baby. That was very hard and very upsetting,” he said.

How he managed his Mental Health

Mental health is another issue that Alessandro had to deal with. “Initially, it was very hard to start with,” he said.

“Being isolated for that long and not being able see my loved ones for that long was very difficult.”

Relationship strains were another hurdle he had to deal with which he suggests was partly caused by being stuck indoors for extended periods with other people.

Despite the obvious stresses Alessandro would have been under at this time, he reflects on it in a refreshingly positive and optimistic way, maturely admitting that he was quite lucky compared to other people. Having to juggle three barbershops in uncertain times with everyday personal stresses, Calliva could be forgiven for letting this time affect him. Instead, he recognised the silver lining of this period. He believes the situation made him more resilient and confident that he can endure tough situations and come out the other side stronger.

“I think if a business owner can go this and come out the other end fighting, you can do anything,” he said.

Capello’s Whitchurch shop. Alessandro also runs two others in Pontcanna and Penarth. Credit- James Skeldon

He also says he used the down time as a period of reflection to evaluate his priorities and approach to running Capello. He thinks that it has allowed him to readjust and change him for the better. He suggests that prior to Covid-19, he was too business focussed and admits he didn’t appreciate his family enough. He thinks this layoff will make him more family oriented.

“Before I had the blinders on, business, business, business” he said.

Plans for the future

After not just satisfied with three successful barbershops already thriving in Cathays, Pontcanna and Penarth, Alessandro has recently launched his own barber training facility, Barbering School of Wales. His academy is an exciting prospect and fills a hole in the industry. His fast-track, 9 week course allows barbers to qualify without the years training as an apprentice whilst also creating the next generation of barbers for himself.

Alessandro says, “I’m trying to create a brand rather than just a barbershop.”