Wilfred Collinge began his training in barbering in 1910 at Browns, Cambridge Arcade, Southport. In 1920 he joined the SS Apapa as the ship's barber. The Apapa, owned by the Elder Dempster shipping line, sailed regularly from Liverpool to the West Coast of Africa, picking up raw materials for the Lever Brothers' (now Unilever) Port Sunlight factory on Merseyside.
The start of war in 1939 led to the Apapa being commandeered by the Navy and Wilfred looking for a new job.
In 1940, Wilfred, with his wife Molly, opened their own barbers which was situated in West Derby, a suburb of Liverpool. The salon was simply called Collinges and was the start of the family salon business.