I have been in the hairdressing game for over 10 years now. I did my apprenticeship in a ladies’ salon in Manly, NSW, as soon as I finished high school. I learnt from three strong Italian women how to cut layers, paint foils and how the business works.

But my passion for barbering started about five years ago, when I began working at a local barbershop: “Franks on Belgrave.” I liked that it was blokey and I built my confidence cutting men’s hair by watching Frank and spending hours and hours on YouTube. I’m still learning everyday from barbers around the world.

At that time, barbershops weren’t such a big deal as they are nowadays – but I remember when I was like five years old, back in my hometown in Ethiopia, there were only two kinds of hairstyles we used to get. You either went to a local barber for a flat top with one of those old-school manual clippers, or your mother would sit you down at home to shave your entire head with a straight razor, using a bar of soap as shaving cream.

It’s cool to see cut-throat shaves making a comeback here. I think barbering has taken off lately because guys are more into their fashion and looks these days. No matter what the occasion, everyone wants to look nice and fresh.

I remember being told by one employer along the way that I should give up hairdressing, that I should find something else to do. But I kept learning. With the encouragement and support of my family and friends, I decided to buy my own business. I’ve been owner of “Al’s Place Hairdressing” for over two years now.

The vibe I’m looking for in my shop is cool, funky, chilled and happy. People like to come in for a chat, and everybody who comes in or walks past the shop always gives me really nice feedback about the look and feel. When I hear that, it just makes me more motivated to keep doing what I’m doing.

35 Belgrave Street, Manly NSW 2095      (02) 9977 4667