Fresh Between the Ears Podcast (Ep 02) The Barber Club Melbourne

Fresh Between the Ears Podcast (Ep 02) The Barber Club Melbourne

 

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. 

The Barber Club Melbourne Docklands (Milkman Stockist)

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. 

The Barber Club

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.

barber using Milkman beard oil

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: Probably 15 years now
      Ben: When did you open your first shop?
        Alex: 12 years ago 
          Ben: What is the hardest thing about being a barber?
            Alex: Staff, they have a mixture of feelings between being passionate or just turning up to work
              Ben: What inspired you to become a barber?
                Alex: I’ve always loved doing hair, I did both men's and women's hair, but I got out of women's because I am much better at men's hair 
                  Ben: What are you finding that clients care about the most?
                    Alex: Clients care about the service first, the attitude of the barber that will be looking after them is very important. Obviously followed by the quality and everything else. Really the whole experience from when they walk in the door is important. 
                      Ben: Can you tell me about a time when you felt really proud to be a barber?
                        Alex: When we won the award in 2016 for the Best Barber Business of the Year I felt pretty proud, because the award was not based on another pretty fade or anything but in fact the actual business and it’s success.
                          Ben: Can you give me one piece of advice (that we can pass on to barbers)?
                            Alex: Get a better job! In seriousness, respect the industry and be a part of it.
                              Ben: What is your greatest challenge right now?

                                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 from the barber club melbourne stockist of milkman beard shave and moustache gear

                                  Ben: What advice do you have for anyone thinking about becoming a barber?
                                    Alex: Start tomorrow! It’s a great trade, we need more good barbers in the industry, but do it properly, not in a garage.
                                      Ben: Do you use social media much to learn about new techniques and styles?
                                        Alex: Social media is the way to go now, in my day it was all about watching VCR and cassette tapes. Now it is fantastic you can access a lot of education and really quickly, through both Instagram and YouTube
                                          Ben: Any hot recommendations of channels they should be watching?
                                            Alex: I enjoy just watching general traditional men's haircuts, watching the guys that invented fading and layering and things like that is really awesome 
                                              Ben: How do you find barbers to work for? What do you look for?

                                                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.

                                                  Other articles that might interest you:

                                                  1.  Fresh Between The Ears Podcast (Ep 01) Lefty's Barber Shop

                                                  2.  The importance of trimming your beard

                                                  3.  How to deal with beard itch

                                                  4.  How to trim sculpt and shape your beard

                                                  5.  Top 5 dishes every guy should know

                                                  6.  Optimise your daily potential

                                                  7.  10 Beard Mistakes you Should Avoid

                                                  8.  Tips for Patchy Beards

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