Photographer: Aleksi Kokora – Editor: Sems Erik
As the world of barbering typically does not witness sufficient media coverage in Finland, it became the source of inspiration for this article because our special guest, who can be called the best change maker of the year, stole the spotlights using his barbering talents
In addition to the media buzz about his salon, Karrar’s talents can be considered a qualitative leap in the field of barbering and hairdressing in Finland.
A young man of Arab origins, Karrar has forged his unique path in the world of hairdressing in Finland to become more artistic, iconic, and international. Thanks to the widely circulated posts across social media platforms, there is unprecedented demand for his salon in Helsinki.
The reason behind his popularity is excellence in services, extraordinary technical aspects, high precision, and diverse hairstyles, as well as affordable prices for everyone.
As you enter his salon, you’ll feel as if you are in Las Vegas with famous hairdressers. He has a special style and his entire team maintains it as the salon brand, making them more distinct from other barbers and barbershops in Finland.
Karrar Qasim in a nutshell
I’m 33 years old with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Sport Science. When it comes to leisure, I’m addicted to bodybuilding, jujitsu wrestling, motorcycle riding, and barbering.
I grew up in Baghdad, a small town in Iraq, which is where I first discovered my passion for hairstyling. Every day, I used to go and watch a barber cut hair in a barbershop near my home. One day, I asked the owner to teach me how to cut hair. The owner was very nice and he replied, “If your fingers can dance, then I will teach you.” I said, “Yes, they can.” Ever since that day, cutting hair has been like dancing to me, using scissors and combs to create art out of ordinary hair.
My journey in the hairdressing industry in Finland began amidst significant challenges. After finding refuge in Finland from war-torn Iraq, I faced language barriers and cultural differences, and struggled to make ends meet. While I initially worked various odd jobs, I never lost sight of my dream to be a hairdresser in this new land. My journey started with the opening of a small salon in Helsinki, which was a significant milestone achieved with savings and a small loan.
It was a modest start, but it laid the foundation for what would become a thriving business. By staying dedicated to my craft and unique styles, I gradually built a diverse clientele that helped my salon grow and establish itself as a prominent hairdressing business in the heart of Helsinki.
More than a salon
My salon in Kamppi, Helsinki is a vibrant hub for young men. Embodying diversity and cultural exchange, Fade Zone is founded with a vision to be a melting pot of styles and ideas. I wanted to blend the artistic hair styling techniques from Iraq with the unique trends and preferences in Finland, creating a fusion that appeals to a wide range of clients.
What makes my barber shop special in Finland is its commitment to embracing diversity. We cater to a diverse clientele, respecting and incorporating styles from different cultures and backgrounds. This inclusivity has turned the salon into a cultural melting pot, where clients don’t just come for a haircut but for an experience that respects their individuality. This unique blend of cultural richness and unique hairstyles makes my salon a special and sought-after destination in Helsinki. Not only does it attract young men for grooming, but it’s also becoming a favorite spot for many Finnish artists and rappers, where they can engage in meaningful conversations and build a vibrant community.
Photographer: Aleksi Kokora – Editor: Sems Erik
Honestly, not that easy
As a young business owner and immigrant in Finland, I’ve experienced the challenges that new immigrants often face in their field of work. Language barriers are a significant hurdle, making communication and understanding the work culture difficult. Adapting to a new cultural environment, with different work ethics and social norms, can also be daunting. I personally felt these challenges deeply. Struggling to express myself in Finnish and to understand the nuances of Finnish business practices was initially overwhelming. Furthermore, as an immigrant, gaining trust and credibility in the business community was a continuous effort. It took time and perseverance to prove my skills and commitment.
However, these challenges also taught me resilience and adaptability. I learned the language, embraced the culture, and gradually built a network of support. These experiences shaped not just my business, but also my personal growth, as I’ve become a stronger and more empathetic individual and entrepreneur.
Successful localization in Finnish society involves understanding and respecting local customs and values, while also bringing your own unique cultural perspective. Building genuine relationships and contributing positively to the community are key.
The ability to manifest
My decision to start my project was influenced by a combination of personal passion and the challenges I faced as an immigrant in Finland. Recognizing the abundance of foreign barbershops in Finland, I saw an opportunity to create something distinctive. I aimed to create a space that was more than a place for haircuts – a salon where young men, Finnish artists, and rappers could come together, making it a melting pot of diverse ideas and styles.
The success of my salon is largely due to a few special individuals who stood by me. Their support, coupled with my passion for genuinely connecting with and listening to my clients, has been crucial. These personal bonds have been instrumental in shaping my business into what it is today. Without these key people, I couldn’t have achieved this level of success.
As for making the next step, I have my sights set on being the best hairdresser of the year. This goal pushes me to continuously innovate and excel in my craft, ensuring that every client leaves the salon satisfied and delighted with their experience. It’s about setting new standards in hairstyling and customer service.
Special team for a special client
To guarantee the quality of services at Fade Zone, I select my team based on their skills, expertise, creativity, and strong dedication to our core values of diversity and exceptional customer service. Additionally, Fade Zone has become the #1 choice for young graduated Finnish barbers seeking internships due to our stellar reputation and commitment to excellence.
My approach of treating clients as friends, actively listening to them, and sharing jokes – rather than focusing solely on the transaction – sets me apart. This creates a unique and personalized customer experience, which has helped me integrate swiftly into the Finnish business market as a new hairdressing business founder.
At Fade Zone, we welcome everyone regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or background. Our doors are open to all who seek not just a haircut, but an experience where they’re valued and understood. Located in the heart of Helsinki, our address is Kansakoulukatu 5, 00100 Helsinki. We invite you to join our diverse community where everyone is treated like a friend.