24 hours in Manchester with… Ross Parlane

Having moved to Manchester in 2007 to start my hairdressing career, I fell in love with the buzz and energy of the city and have never looked back.

When I decided to start my own business in 2015, it was a no-brainer for me to open up my first barbershop, RPB, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, followed shortly after by a second shop in 2017.

An adopted Manc, I love everything about living and working in this city. With more and more businesses setting up camp here and the increasing investment in city centre development, there’s never been a more exciting time to be in Manchester, the heart of the Northern Powerhouse. There’s simply not enough hours in the day to visit all of my favourite places in Manchester but I made sure to fit in as many as I could in my last 24 hours…

9:30am: Breakfast at Siop Shop

Whenever I’m working at RPB Tib Street, I always start my day with breakfast at Siop Shop, a great new addition to the Northern Quarter. Owner, Iwan and his team have been bringing the breakfast A-game to us at RPB for almost a year – their food is ace and we couldn’t ask for nicer neighbours. Today I went for the halloumi, confit tomato and egg on pollen 28-hour sourdough with a flat white followed by one of their hipster doughnuts, which never disappoint.

10:30am: Drop-in at RPB Tib Street

On my days off, I always drop-in to both shops to see if my team need an extra hand. I opened the Tib Street shop in September 2015 after deciding to go it alone having gained experience working for other hairdressing brands. My experience working in such a busy, vibrant city was the inspiration behind my decision to become Manchester’s first barbershop to introduce an online booking system for customers. With the majority of RPB’s clientele being modern-day males with hectic schedules, the online booking system has driven the way I run my business, ensuring people are sat in the barber’s chair rather than waiting around for an appointment. For me, Tib Street is one of the most unique streets in Manchester due to the variety of small, independent businesses that have set up there – this comes with a real community vibe so when deciding where to open my first shop, I knew Tib Street was where I wanted to make my mark. I intentionally designed the shop’s interior with the Northern Quarter’s industrial, urban feel in mind.

11:30am: A browse in Oi Polloi

A quick visit to Oi Polloi, an independent menswear boutique located in the heart of the Northern Quarter and my go-to shop in Manchester. The store’s style is Manchester through and through and it stocks some very niche labels including some of my favourite brands: Folk and Our Legacy. I love how unique their stock is so try to make time whenever I can to nip in for a browse. Working in the male grooming industry, I’m a firm believer of taking pride in my appearance and maintaining good style through the clothes I wear. Oi Polloi is definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in classic and contemporary menswear.

12:00pm: Drop-in at RPB Newton Street

A pre-lunch drop-in on the team at Newton Street to see how they’re getting on. Great to see the shop buzzing with customers – some regulars and some new faces. One of my regular clients stopped by whilst I was there so I picked up the scissors for a quick tidy up for him. Opening RPB’s second site on Newton Street last year has been great for the brand. People questioned me when I decided to open the second shop so close to Tib Street but due to demand, if one shop is fully booked, the second is just a four minute walk away for our customers.

13:30pm: Lunch at Mackie Mayor

Being from the seaside town of Lytham St Anne’s, it can be hard to get a decent fish and chips in the city but Mackie Mayor always deliver. I had a large haddock and chips, washed down with a beer. It’s great that it’s based in the Northern Quarter, just a short walk away from RPB. The Grade II listed old market building on Eagle Street is now home to a number of local, independent food traders offering everything from pizza to steak to steamed bao buns. This food hall has something for everyone with a vibrant, sociable feel down to the long communal bench tables and rustic interior.

4:00pm: A stroll around the Christmas markets with Marlow

Made sure to check out some of the new Christmas market stalls with a walk through St Anne’s Square and King Street with my dog, Marlow. The Manchester Christmas markets are spread out across the city centre and seem to be growing year on year. I prefer walking round the markets during the week, especially if I have Marlow, as they get so busy with crowds of people at the weekend. It’s great seeing so many different local businesses setting up stalls and the hustle and bustle of the markets, especially in Albert Square where there’s a 16m high bar, ‘The Windmill’ selling German beers and mulled wine, creates a real buzz around this time of year. Manchester definitely go all-out for Christmas so the markets are hard to avoid if you’re in the city. I treated myself to a crepe with Nutella which went down far too easily. Having this right on the doorstep can be dangerous but everything in moderation!

5:30pm: Create a scent at Le Labo

Always love a visit to Le Labo, an amazing New-York born fragrance brand which has a concession at Selfridges in Manchester’s Exchange Square. I’m a huge fan of the brand’s concept of handcrafted aftershave and perfumery which is blended freshly right in front of you in store, making a purchase more of an experience. Every bottle of Le Labo’s fragrances are individually unique and customers are even able to have a say in the design of the fragrance bottle. The aftershave is long-lasting, which is ideal for me being on-the-go all day. I’m all for businesses with fresh ideas, who do things differently, it’s where I get my inspiration for my own business and this brand has got the customer experience nailed.

7:30pm: Dinner at Hawksmoor

Any excuse to go to Hawksmoor for dinner and I’m there. Located on Deansgate, this is my favourite restaurant in Manchester by a long shot. The team there are amazing and always look after me and make me feel at home. I love that I’m able to return the favour as a lot of the team now get their hair done at RPB which I think epitomizes the Manchester community spirit we have here. I went for the Sirloin steak with triple cooked chips and stichelton and anchovy hollandaise with sides of macaroni cheese, onion rings and buttered English greens – amazing as always. You won’t find a better steak in Manchester!

10:30pm: Head home

After dinner, I finally headed home to my flat, conveniently located a short walk away from the restaurant to call it a day. I love everything about living in the city and how close I am to work, the shops and some of the best bars and restaurants but at the end of a busy day, I’m always ready to get back to the flat for a bit of down time. I spent the rest of the evening chilling with Marlow before bed to recoup for the events of the following day.

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