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Barber Jordy paying it forward

Makoura College Gateway student Figa Manesa, 16, gives a client a haircut while barber Shayne Harmon watches. PHOTOS/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

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A barber doesn’t require a qualification, but Masterton’s Barbershop Jordy owner, Jordan McDowall said having a certificate does separate the advanced from the average.

Barbering in New Zealand has evolved because of social media, Jordan McDowall said.

At 27, McDowall said in the five years since starting his Queen St business, he had learned not to rent a chair to a barber unless they displayed passion.

“Barbering is not something you sort of find, it finds you,” he said.

Shayne Harmon was classed as an apprentice at the barbershop last year, but this year, had earned the right to call himself a barber.

The 24-year-old completed a course at New Zealand Hair and Beauty Industry Training [HITO] in Wellington.

“I actually like getting out of bed to come to work every day now,” Harmon said.

“I did work in a job for a couple of years out of school and I didn’t really like getting out of bed to go to work.”

When Harmon finally reached out to McDowall, he was told to do a barber’s course at HITO, so he did.

Makoura College student Figa Manesa said he had been cutting his brother’s hair at home when he took a gateway class at college.

The 16-year-old had asked his careers and gateway teacher Fionna Omundsen, who knew McDowall, to ask for work experience on his behalf. He now works at the shop once a week and will continue to do so until the gateway programme ends.

“I like learning new stuff and Jordy passing on his knowledge to me means if I grow up to be a barber, I can help teach other people what Jordy taught me and help give my knowledge over,” Manesa said.

McDowall said he was proud to be able to pass his knowledge on.

The drive to own his own barber shop came from “a passion for making people look good, feel good and giving males confidence”.

He had noticed a shift in barbering culture about 10 years ago when he did his own gateway course.

Back then there wasn’t as much opportunity to get creative with cuts, he said.

“In New Zealand there were a lot of 90s barbers that just gave you short back and sides.”

He said the presence of social media had “changed the game”.

“Photos on Instagram, Facebook and having videos out there means there’s more culture awareness and fashion awareness – people are a lot more involved with new trends now.”

Stars involved in music, culture, sport, especially football and rugby players, were a major influence on the hair styles men asked for when they came in, he said.

“People like Sonny Bill Williams started being on the main stage having nice haircuts, and Issac Luke in the Kiwi rugby league team had designs with nice cuts,” McDowall said.

“Generally, people just wanted to have better quality haircuts and now the bar is way higher and people want better haircuts.”


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