Walking into The Barber Club's shop in Docklands is a unique experience. It's location already wins half the battle. It's a wonderful area to spend time in with plenty of shops, eateries and bars dotted around gorgeous riverside locations, right in the heart of the city. From here you can easily walk, cycle or take a short tram ride to some of the city's best night spots around South Bank, The Crown Casino & the Melbourne Exhibition Centre Precinct.
On the corner of Bourke St & Merchant St sits one of The Barber Club's two shops (the other being in Bentleigh). It's a difficult shop to miss with huge glass walls wrapping the corner. Lining the walls, are shelves of men's after care products and a selection of fashion & luxury items. There are a lot of brands to choose from, including Milkman. It's a layout that helps a lot when trying to attract retail customers.
Inside it's spacious & well lit. The interior design draws from wood, brick & leather with warm colours that are accented by the gold lighting set over each of the barber chairs. The culture of the shop is welcoming & friendly. The staff take their time and they're easy to talk to. They're passionate people, and they've come from all around the world. Scotsman & resident Beard Expert, Franco, has worked with us previously on video demonstrations. Men with beards regularly walk in asking for Franco by name.
The place is owned & run by Alex Tabakman. Alex has been in the industry a long time. In 2016 The Barber Club won the AHIA Best Barber Business. In the past 2 years his stores have also won Milkman Stockist of the Year Awards for Victoria.
For various reasons I only had 5 minutes to sit down with Alex and I'm still learning the audio equipment so this is not a studio quality episode. Nonetheless we figured it would be valuable to share some insight from someone who has seen a lot of success in the barbering industry. Here's the interview...
Ben: I’m with Alex, owner of ?The Barber Club in Melbourne. Tell me, Alex, How long have you been barbering for?
Alex: To interpret and understand what the clients really want these days, because there is such a big influx of people from hairdressing salons with appointments. We are trying to understand what the customers want, whether it is fast service or everything and above.
Alex: Our salon is growing tremendously and we are growing quite a lot, good barbers actually come to your shop usually and ask you for a job. Those are the ones you really want, unfortunately there is just not enough of them around.
Ben: What is your big goal for this year, 2019?
Alex: Definitely not to open another barber shop, we already have two big ones running. Goal is just to keep improving the process, the quality of our work and the communication between barbers and their clients
Ben: Great Alex, thanks for joining us!
That's it for Ep 02. In the next episode we go to Adelaide to meet a brand new baby barber that's running his shop out of a shipping container.
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