It’s nice to meet somebody that is as passionate and visionary in business as Jimmy Rod is about the business of barbering. James Rodney O’brien (good Irish heritage), started 12 years ago in his dad’s best mates, 12-chair Barbershop in one of Brisbane’s outer suburbs. 12 years ago being a barber was not cool, it was about cutting as many heads a day as possible. Jimmy has taken barbering into a new level, having now opened seven stores throughout Southern Queensland. The hip barber shops are called ‘Jimmy Rods’ and have the main frontage in many of the centres that they have opened in.
I was lucky to catch Jimmy behind the chair in The Gas Works store in the suburb of New Stead. The store was colourful and vibrant with good music playing and two chesterfield lounges full of young guys waiting to be styled. Jimmy has taken barbering back to its roots and stuck with traditional styling and methods. His biggest challenge now is getting enough barbers trained and working in the growing number of stores he is creating. He has a strict training regime that is working for him and he has had lots of success in training formal hairdressers into the barber trade.
Southern Queensland is booming, anything new and cool is being picked up by the younger Brisbane inhabitants that seem to have been waiting for some urban culture. Jimmy gets good patronage from the young fly in and fly out miners who also have that extra spending power and like a bit of pampering on their rest breaks.
Most of Jimmy’s clients are repeat customers and he puts a big emphasis on great customer service and conversation. Jimmy is very personable and his infectious personality spills out of him to his staff and customers.
Jimmy is planning to open stores in the next year outside of Brisbane and is looking at the Melbourne market as a possibility. The ‘Jimmy Rod’ machine is a successful formula and could be applied anywhere throughout the world.
Another interesting thing in the ‘Jimmy Rods’ business model is that he includes women as barbers. Jimmy explained he had many girls wanting to join the team and learn the trade and most love the vibe in this traditional men only space. It probably kept the swearing down but the girls were all having a fun time with lots of laughter and jokes.
Well barber world, watch out for this successful cutting and shaving machine to enter your strip mall or shopping centre as Jimmy’s plan falls into place. We need more passionate people in the world Like Jimmy O’brien.
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