Australian Ace Shella Thornton Gets On The Mullet
I am based in Redlands, the East side of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I have been in the Barbering Industry since 1993; mentored by a European Barber who taught me a lot of the old traditional ways. My birth father was a barber based in the Philippines making me a 2nd generation barber and my mother was a hairdresser so doing hair is in my blood.
After finishing my apprenticeship I found new ventures and took every step I needed to extend my knowledge and take myself to where I am today. I managed a store in Sydney where I gained experience from other Barber colleagues I worked with. Keen to please and eager to learn I was like a sponge – I loved learning and was curious. But I wanted more than managing, I was curious about owning a shop and craved the challenge so after a few years, I came back to my hometown. Following the birth of my two children, I was offered a shop and I jumped at the opportunity.
I now own three stores with my husband and have been in business for 10 years. I also love educating the next generation of barbers as I find it is a trade that you can take with you and travel the world because wherever you go someone needs a haircut. I have also gained my Cert IV in Training and Education. My ethos is that what was passed onto me by my mentor I do not own but should also pass on.
Building a good relationship with my clients makes a successful business. People also love to be remembered and because men come in a lot more often than women it is easy enough to remember their haircut, as well as the conversation we had on their last visit, plus us humans are creatures of habit and some of us, do not like change.
I have achieved a fair bit in my career over the past 10 years – being placed 2nd in a few Barber Competitions in Australia but being recognized as the ‘First Lady’ as I was the first Female Barber to place in the Battles was a massive achievement. Additionally, I become an All Star Ambassador for iCandy Scissors, Australian Global Educator for Andis, and an Ambassador for Zerogapped Magazine. I am also the Founder of FEIBI Awards, Australia’s first female Barber Awards.
Over the years of Barbering, I have lived through almost 3 decades of Mullet hairstyles. I have found it has a 10 year cycle, so every 10 years it resurfaces again but with a twist.
When I was in Sydney I was asked (after they found out I was from Queensland) “why do Queenslanders have mullet hairstyles?” I actually never realised that it was only considered a Queensland regional hairstyle. So I just told them “ because the sun is so hot up there we keep it longer in the back to keep the sun off our neck and protected” They believed it….
Mullets are one of the harder hairstyles to teach and pass on to my apprentices but once they get the idea that it is a combined haircut of the short sides and textured top with the longer layered back they have fun as I do cause it is a very rewarding hairstyle to complete once it’s finished.
There are a few ways to do a mullet these days and it is more of a modern mullet because it is requested more than the traditional (where the length on top and sides is kept fuller and longer but the back is also kept longer.)
The modern mullet is a combination of the shorter front and sides and length in the back, we call this business in the front and party in the back because looking at someone from the front it can look like a standard haircut until you see it from the side.
Consultation is key to achieving the desired mullet for the client, these days they will bring a photo which does help but as professionals, we need to explain to them as well what we are about to do especially if we think it won’t suit their face shape or hair and to give them options.
So the mullets I have come across in this decade are a lot more creative and I must say I do get excited when someone comes in and requests a mullet whether it’s with me or my staff. I have given a few of these a name as we come across them.
Crullet – This is a combination of a Crop and a Mullet combined. You would proceed with blending the sides, with whichever the required length the client wants, with the back but keeping the length at the back then I would start blending from just behind the ear angling your comb. It is all about angles with mullets – do the same technique you would do for a crop on top, then trim the back to the required length, or if keeping the length layer it and blend into the top. This is probably my favourite mullet.
Bullet – This is a combination of a Bowl cut and a Mullet. Quite an easy style but not really requested in my stores. For this, you would give your client a bowl cut, determine where they want the fringe/bangs, again stop just behind the ears with the solid line with the sides. Looking in the mirror helps with how it looks and if it needs to go a bit further back do not be afraid to do so. No real fading required with this style mullet just a bit of layering for the back to give it some texture and you are done!
And then there’s the Skullet – Skin/Mullet. This style can either be blended or kept separated.
Tracks, colours and designs can also be added if the client requests them. There is no right and wrong mullet really, anything goes, you both get to be creative!