BARBERING apprentice and emerging folk musician Harry Lamb says his two trades can be a lot alike.
Music is Harry’s first passion and one he has been learning since four years old.
Coming out of high school, Harry was unsure exactly what he wanted to do as a ‘day job’ and as the son of a hairdressing trainer and salon owner, he fell into what is a fast-rising field. Training to become a barber turned out to be exactly what Harry had been looking for.
“We built this barbers’ section (in The Cutters Chair) with the intention of hiring barbers. Mum could see it was a real up-and-coming trade,” Harry said. “Guys are becoming more interesting in fashion. We could see the trend coming from Melbourne.
It’s so cool. Guys come in and have a beer, they hang out. A lot like to talk about music. I like being really creative and barbering is a type of art.
The 19-year-old has been training at the prominent BIBA Academy in Melbourne in what is a new apprenticeship. Hairdressers, including all those at The Cutters Chair, are trained in men’s hair cuts but Harry said specialising as a barber required a different skill set, including beard and moustache trims and a lot more clipper work.
Harry said a lot of guys are now coming in looking for their beards or a whole shave high-end experience.
Coming off training on mannequins, Harry could hardly wait for a big year ahead as he gets the chance to step up his client base from the end of this month– right as his music was taking off.
Harry has been supporting artists like Shaun Kirk and Jordie Lane in backyard parlour gigs. This follows one night playing at The Mallow when a manager from Lemon Tree Music heard Harry playing and signed him up.
Learning from established guys in the industry has been an “insane” experience for Harry, who has to keep reminding himself he is no longer busking.
Both pursuits work in with each other for Harry, who is often working in the salon into the evening, then racing off to play a gig.
But getting more involved in the salon and his barbering has also translated into Harry’s music. Learning the art of easy talk while working, making clients feel relaxed and at ease, is a skill Harry has been keen to improve.
“I love the people most about the job – I know it’s a cliche to say,” Harry said. “I’ve learnt a lot about how to talk to people...I’ve almost got more confidence in my music. I was always quite shy as a muso.”
A place for men to talk is a big feature of the modern move towards barbershops.
Musket and Bayonet owner Jimmy Morrison formed a partnership with headspace Ballarat and Zambrero to run a proactive men’s mental health program in his barber and shaving saloon the past two years.
Arms and Armour offers support for young men, from young dads to new guys in town or those feeling a little lost, to have a shave and chat over a burrito.
- READ MORE:Call to Arms and Armour
Mr Morrison, on launching the program, told The Courier he often had clients share their life stories in his chair. He listens while he works and it was this that prompted him to find a way to help men talk more.
The Cutters Chair has its barbers chairs in a space behind the bustle of the hairdressing salon. Harry said his mum had considered opening up a separate barbershop but felt the space worked well as a men’s retreat.
He looked forward to making his own modern mark in the traditional trade as more Ballarat men started to realise benefits of a good spruce.
Comfort the main objective, barber says
Every man deserves to feel like a VIP what getting a haircut says barber Richard Thach.
Dressed in a back vest and kangol Mr Thach’s is told The Courier he aims to deliver this experience with his new business, Mr V and Co. Barbershop.
“We look at trying to create a family environment where gentlemen can come in and relax and have a nice hair cut in a nice environment,” he said.
Only serving one customer at a time, Mr Thach said this helps deliver both a more personalised experience for the customer, while allowing himself to provide the best haircut possible.
“It's a bit more personalised service, it means we are able to spend that time with our client 100 per cent of the time, and gives us a better quality of work.”
Having entered the industry in 2001, Mr Thach has called upon his own work experiences over the past 18 years to create what he feels to be a safe environment for men to feel comfortable.
“This business has a lot to do with my career experiences, that's why we do what we do the way we do it.
Being able to relate to your clients and developing a bit of a relationship is so important, it's not just about the hair cut.
“It's about the customer, I'm classically trained, so we're trying to deliver a more classical experience to them.”
The renascence of men’s fashion and beard sculpting is a positive thing says Mr Thach as a demand for these more male specific barbers is also allowing for opportunities to talk openly.
Over his career Richard says he has had to work as an impromptu psychologist as customers opened up to him.
“It’s quite amazing, men are now wanting to get their haircut in what is a men’s shop or a men’s space. We are trying to provide a more individual experience where they can sit down, relax and leave their stresses at the door.”
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