WhatsUp DownUnder in March

WHATSUP DOWNUNDER with Australian Female Barbers

Cheers from the Colonies all!  Welcome to the first-ever Whatsup Downunder where I’ll be giving you an insight each month into how we do down here.

First a bit about me. My name is Collette @collettecutthroats .  I’ve been in the industry 32 years, ran a business for 25 of them, raised 3 kids singlehandedly, am semi retired working 20 hours per week. I run a page called @australianfemalebarbers and have built a community over the past 3 years on a platform that celebrates women who stand behind the chair in Australia. I am on the board of a Barbering Industry Charity @jackreedfoundation I write a blog for an Australian publication @barbershopmag ,  and have written articles for other magazines including one other UK publication.  Last year I ran Australia’s first online Awards for female barbers, AFBA “Her Shot Aus” which was judged by Hayden Cassidy @haydencassidy and Tori Gill @torigill_barber and sponsored by many well known local and international barber brands to the tune of $7000 in prizes.  I was invited to judge a National online barbering competition for The Cutthroat Journal here in Australia last year, and am about to be involved as a judge in another National Awards programme commencing in the coming weeks.  

A photo of Collette Saunders in her barber shop.

So to be an ambassador and present all things Australian in the female world of barbering is a privilege.  Every day I see the stunning work of our women here and I resolved long ago, by creating @australianfemalebarbers to take them to the world.  From the girl in the corner shop in the Outback town, to the Urban chick, or that insta famous female platform artist that is educating in her studio, the entrepreneur with her five year plan to make a difference.  Yes its all happening down here in ways that keep me attached to my iPad,  most days,  and never ever getting bored with their content. 

For the most part, the Australian barbering and hair industry moved through Covid well.  We have had good control over its spread here being able to close down our borders both nationally and state by state.   The Industry here was not shut down, except for those cities in lockdowns.  Yes, business did slow, and people lost jobs, but by now a large percentage of those have returned to the floor.   What we have seen as well is the unfortunate absence of overseas barbers who fill the gaps and prop up our hair industry. The UK and European, the South American barbers who bring their own styles of cutting to the teams they become a part of.  It will be a long time before we see a full return to these Visa holders and will welcome them when we eventually can. 

As you would be well aware Australia is a huge country.  The UK fits 3 times into the State of Queensland alone. We have a wide range of diversity in the styles of shops that operate.  For example, in the outback town of Broken Hill, New South Wales, you’ll find Shelby the owner of Broken Hill Barbershop.  This young girl went from her city apprenticeship, moved back to the well-known outback mining town where she was born, and opened up a place where you’ll get the best walk-in cut and the best local beer on a stinking hot 40 degree day.  Once upon a time being so far out west made it difficult to give the locals more up to date styles because the education was lacking. Now with online youtube tutorials and videos from some of the best in Australia and around the globe, at the very least an outback barber can educate themselves from what is on offer.  

In the capital cities things are more competitive.  Social media is the advertising, and booking systems Apps are slowly taking over the original walk-in shop system.  Most suburban and small town shops still rely on the walk-in, but the move to give customers the booking option is absolutely becoming the business model that is giving shops that specialist barber vibe.   Adding to the styles of shops is the introduction of specialty services for the discerning Aussie bloke.  Services that were in the past reserved for ladies day spas. Now a bloke can rock up for a mani, pedi, steam facial, microdermabrasion, laser and waxing. And they absolutely love it! Just check out Suzi Kelly’s @gentsandrascals_barbershop at the famous Maroubra Beach in Sydney,  where a man can get The Ultimate Package for a meagre $350au (about 150quid) and it includes teeth whitening as well!

While it was the case years ago that Australia was always a few years behind in styles and trends, that definitely is no longer the case now.  The calibre of creation here is on par with some of the best international creatives.  To be connected via social media has seen the push for our industry that has rocketed some of our best to well deserved recognition.  It also inspires creativity, and gives a sense of friendly competitiveness between peers. 

Each blog I’d love to give you some of my best female barber accounts to check out, like and follow on Instagram.  Be sure and tell them I sent you won’t you 🙂  These ladies will be my top picks of the month from @australianfemalebarbers and I’m sure you’ll agree these ladies rock.

Jasmine Kathleen @jasminekathleen owner of @overgrown.supply in Melbourne. International platform artist, Educator and sponsored by Babyliss.

Rhia Rebel @rhia_rebel_barber owner of @little_rebel_barbershop in Melbourne.  Gender neutral and safe space inspired by musical subculture and driven by equality.

Sunshine @sunshinesmileyhappyface who recently won 1st Place in the inaugural @australianfemalebarbers online national competition AFBA “Her Shot Aus.  Her beautiful cutting style and presentation of her craft is one that gave her the deserving title of AFBA Female Barber of the Year 2021.

Well, that’s the round up for this first blog.  If there is anything you’d like to know of, or see raised here in future blogs please ask me.  I’m never far away on DM and always up for a gidday how you going!  Til the next Issue,  wishing you all well,  stay safe and Cheers from Downunder.

Collette Saunders      @collettecutthroats

Founder              @australianfemalebarbers @afb_recruit

Board Director.        @jackreedfoundation

Blog Spot            @barbershopmag

About Author /

Ruby launched ZeroGapped, the magazine for the barbering women of the world, after noticing that there was a gap in the market. ZeroGapped combines her love of publishing and barbering, in one spot online.

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