What motivated you to start your own business?
The ambition was always there to start my own business, the motivation came from wanting to create a unique space, with my own style and music. When I first started out as a hairdresser, I was working in some really sterile stale environments, listening to the same mainstream music on repeat daily, music I hated!
I always dreamed of opening a punk rock shop where I could intertwine my love for barbering, retro art and music. A shop with a lot of character and loud, fun music cranking all day.
How long have you been in the industry and what did you do prior?
I have been in the hair industry for 20 years. After leaving school at the end of year 10, I began a hairdressing apprenticeship, then transitioned into barbering when it became more mainstream and popular again. Barbering is definitely where my passion lies.
What is/was the biggest challenge in opening your shop?
Taking the risk into the unknown. Opening a shop with punk rock vibe isn’t going to appeal to everyone, so it was always going to be a gamble – but whilst the music and decor may not fit everyone’s vibe – I also wanted the atmosphere and cuts/service provided to be second to none.
What is your vision for the business?
My vision ultimately is to continue to grow the business and keep the vibe fresh and relevant in todays barber society. It was always our vision from the beginning to have a traditional barbershop with a punk edge feel to it. A place where everyone feels comfortable and welcomed, and walking out having had the most top notch experience.
Eventually I would love to add a tattooist and some live music.
What inspired the shop design and feel?
The shop design comes from my love of traditional barbering, music, collectables, trinkets art and retro design.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is getting sober, without this I would never have made it to where I am today, bettering myself daily to become a better person, businessman and father.
Opening the barbershop and seeing it grow to the place it is today with amazing clientele who have been coming back year after year, my own place and space to be creatively free and earning a living whilst doing something I love.
What are your favourite brands, and why?
Ratbags is all about supporting local businesses! We stock amazing local brands from Queensland.
King Brown and Bearded Chap are two of my personal favourites. These brands tick all the boxes for me, using the best quality ingredients for hair and beards. Their ranges are kept simple too, which is why the products sell themselves.
What are 3 items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
Most importantly, a radio! Music is my sanity. Then I would say a fishing net and a box of matches.
Share with us an interesting story from your youth?
I grew up in country Victoria, where I spent most of my youth rolling around at the skatepark and playing drums in bands with my mates. My local barber was fella named Rod who cut my hair for years – fast forward 15 years later, I relocate to the Sunshine Coast and randomly reconnect with Rod who was also living on the coast, we begin talking shop and thus the birth of Ratbags Barber Shop together.
What hair trends do you see currently and how do you adjust to it?
I’m seeing much more softer textured styles with choppier fringes rather than hard blunt fringes for crops… the mullet has definitely been the most current trend through our shop of the last 2 years. Trying different techniques to achieve texture, moving to dryer styling clays and powders has helped me adjust for a more shaggier natural finish.
How do you recruit, retain and motivate your team?
At Ratbags we look for barbers that are creatively talented with an eye for technique and current styles, who will add to the dynamics of the shops vibe. Energy is important with our barbers, we want barbers who continually want to learn and grow their barbering skills with our support – we believe offering support is the foundation of a good team, this is what our team is built upon and without it we cannot thrive.
What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
If I’m not at the barber shop you can find me at the beach with my dog Bazz, or climbing mountains and chasing sunsets. Music is also a big one for me, so concerts and gigs when there are good bands playing! Adding to my ink collection is also a fav past time, so you can also find me getting tattooed on days off.
What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
The best professional advice would be, be the first to arrive and the last to leave. Stay true to yourself and your business – never stop learning.
General advice that has stuck with me over the years include;
Live your life, not someone else’s.
Be confident, yet humble.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yeah! Drop in to Ratbags Barber Shop for a chop and a beer!
Shop 2 14/18 Duporth Avenue. Maroochydore QLD