Sitting Down With The Legends Behind Dukes Barbershop, Wellington
"It was then being fully immersed in that atmosphere surrounded by like minded people that my passion for barbering really took off."
Alex: Hey Rick, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions today, can you give our audience an intro about yourself, where are you based and what do you do?
Rick: Hello my names Rick and I'm 37 yrs old and originally from the UK, I moved to NZ back in Nov 2013 and I've been working for George at Dukes Barbers since Jan 2014.
Alex: What made you first decide to become a barber? What were some of those first moments of realisation that made you so passionate about what you do?
Rick: Well I originally trained as a hairdresser working with colour and treatments for ladies hair. When I moved to NZ I wanted to carry on my career with cutting hair but without the chemicals, so I applied for barber positions and landed the job at Dukes, it was then being fully immersed in that atmosphere surrounded by like minded people that my passion for barbering really took off.
"Listening to what your client wants and making sure they get it."
Alex: Established in 2011, Dukes Barbers is a very popular barbershop located at Dukes Arcade, Cnr Manners & Willis Street, Wellington. With 6 highly experienced staff and a loyal following, what do you think are the key drivers that made your barbershop so popular in NZ?
Rick: I think it's a mix of things like friendly staff a calm peaceful environment to relax in and of course consistent quality service, listening to what your client wants and making sure they get it. Building a rapport with your customers, I think it's key to build a relationship rather than just looking at them as a number through the door.
Alex: Who are the people and what are the brands that inspired you to become such a talented barber?
Rick: I follow a lot of barbers on Instagram and YouTube there's lots of videos/ tutorials from people like Beard Brand, 360 jeezy and so on I could go on for ever, I find myself I learn a lot by watching wether it's online videos or other barbers on the shop floor, everyone can learn something new from everyone regardless of how good you are. I was lucky to attend an evening with Matt Brown from My Fathers Barber, he's a very inspiring barber not just his excellent clipper work but his life story too.
Alex: What are you most proud of about your Barbershop?
Rick: We have fantastic clients and a good bunch of staff, we all have a laugh it feels more like a family which I'm most proud of.
"Focus on what you want and it will happen."
Alex: What was the hardest or most challenging thing you had to overcome personally to get to where you are today?
Rick: Personally believing in myself, there's been times especially earlier on when I didn't feel good enough and just felt that my work wasn't as good as everyone else, so yeah believing in yourself, focus on what you want and it will happen.
Alex: On your website, you mentioned you’re into tv, what shows are you watching these days?
Rick: Me and the Wife are very much into anything Crime, currently watching Mindhunter on NetFlix and True detective. Really looking forward to Peaky Blinders to start up again.
"Make your client feel special and always talk with them, it's simple advise but absolutely key."
Alex: The founder of Dukes, George, has over 50 years of experience in the game. What are some of the key learnings you’ve had from him?
Rick: George is a big inspiration to me, he was best man for me at my wedding so I have a lot of respect for him and what he says. He's very old school as you'd expect with over 50 years experience, he's always told me and anyone that works for him to make your client feel special and always talk with them, it's simple advise but absolutely key. His other key piece of advise which is life advise and that's "Drink it while it's Fizzy" meaning don't wait until it's too late.