Hearts & Minds – Barber Emporium
Our journey began while Danny was stationed in Wales as part of the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) whilst serving in the Royal Marine Commandoes and Laura was working as a hairdresser from home in 2015.
While I was still serving and really enjoying the work, travel and adventure of the Marines I knew I didn’t want to do it forever and I wanted better for my family. I started to look into different avenues like most guys do which were in the security world. The options were really, Close Protection, Body guarding, Maritime security or Surveillance. I went searching for answers to help find out what avenue I wanted to go down by speaking with guys, going to networking events and directly to the companies themselves but never felt thats were I was going in my life.
All this was going on whilst being extremely busy and constantly being away whilst Laura was at home looking after the kids and earning more than I was, cutting the ladies around the barracks hair.
As a man of faith I sought God for direction, feeling slightly exasperated, the next day after another networking event I literally woke up with barbering on my mind. Barbering? But with it was a whole vision! What about a cool, manly place for men to come relax, talk and get the haircut, somewhere that they forget about the stresses of being a man. I thought to myself I could do that! Hang out, chat shit with guys after all we spent some time doing that as it was ha ha …all I had to do was learn to cut hair!
So I asked Laura to show me. I asked next door neighbours kid (11) to come round for a cut. The little legend sat there for 2 hrs while I fumbled around cutting his hair but somehow it turned out decent and I felt pretty confident doing it! I was hooked!
Straight after that we headed to Oman in the Middle East for 6 weeks of training. In between getting thrashed around the desert I was offering the lads free haircuts just to try and improve with the guidance of a Paratrooper, who was a former barber before he joined.
From then on all I did was cut and shave guys relentlessly. I came back and did a small barber introduction course and with the guidance of Laura and Tim (Paratrooper) I set up in my garage and cut as much hair as I could in my spare time.
The toughest thing about being a soldier can be leaving. Yes, its hard, yes your away from your family, yes its dangerous and the money isn’t great. But you love the lads, the lifestyle and the security of the job. What if you leave and it all goes to shit? The plan doesn’t work out? God is on our side, Laura and I decided Lets do this!
We decided I was going to get qualified and train with the Gents of London Barber Academy before moving our family across the world to open a barbershop, as I told my Commanding officer whilst he looking in shock at me! Haha! Your mental Banford.
But that was the plan. Scared, yes but if I didn’t do it i’d still be in, unhappy.
Well I excelled at the training and got offered a job before I finished the course at Cardiffs most popular barbershop “Keep the Faith social club”. I worked there whilst finishing off my time in the Marines before moving my wife, 2 stepsons and new born baby to a country they’ve never been to before!
We arrived in Toukley on the NSW Central Coast in 2016 with a suitcase each and gratefully moved into my families rental property.
With the help of my father I converted the garage into a barbershop and quickly got busy. After 6 weeks of trading a received a knock on the door from the council informing of a few extra changes I had to make to continue trading. Absolutely gutted and unsure how to provide for my family I wasn’t sure what to do. Laura was keeping us afloat working at a local hairdresser.
Amazingly the local barber who had been there for 18 years approached me as he was retiring. We came to an agreement and we took over his shop some weeks later.
Well, that was the start of everything. It was meant to just be me but immediately Laura and I were all in, working flat out 6 days a week, to now we have a team of 5 great guys working in our new shop that we opened just before Christmas. We feel truly blessed, humbled and love everyday with our team and more importantly our customers. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t easy, but its worth it to follow the calling I am so grateful to have been given, to be In a position to help lads when they’re down or uncertain/confused, facing challenges I may have experienced myself already etc thats a privilege in my eyes that they trust me, and my aim is to make a difference in as many mens lives, one haircut at a time ! thats were we are at.
Where to now? Well, we aren’t anywhere near finished and have a massive thirst to develop and deliver our vision to the men of central coast, we are concentrating on building a strong team, like family we want to nurture, invest and help our guys grow in the areas they are drawn towards within the Industry! We truly admire our teams talent, commitment and loyalty. We are also in the midst of renovateons for our up coming coffee bar addition, we just want to make it a cosy but quirky place to to hang out have a chat a haircut a complimentary beer, or a coffee! Play chess, play cards play sudoku, play the guitar, Listen to tunes on the juke box from a range of different eras, We will strive to continue to make people smile with our work and by speaking with guys. Our ethos hasn’t changed. Either in a garage or bigger shop its all about a place for a man to get away from the stresses of life, talk/don’t talk and just chill for 30 mins. It’s his time.
Well thats our story.
Thanks for reading.
Danny and Laura
Hearts and Minds Barber Emporium.