“Barbering is in my blood”, says Dinnelle TaylorMitchell, owner of BarberShopCo in Auckland’s vibrant Viaduct. She laughs, “I was folding towels in my Mum’s hairdressing salon at the age of eight. Hairdressing is awesome but barbering gives me a fulfilment I just can’t explain. It’s instant gratification, total job satisfaction.”
That’s the two first things you notice about Dinnelle, her genuine passion for barbering and her ready laugh.
She says, “I’m a firm believer in that saying about ‘making beautiful things, even if nobody cares’. There’s a craft in barbering… a real tradition and a sense of being connected to an era where perfection was the standard to aim for.”
Dinnelle trained in hairdressing after completing school and has been in the industry for nearly 16 years. With a true passion for learning she made it to the top of her game and was proud to call a multi-award winning hairdressing brand her home.
She says, “I’ve always been ambitious and pushed myself. I thought I was at the pinnacle of my success when I was running the Servilles’ Academy Salon… but I’ve come so much further than I ever could have imagined back then, professionally and personally”.
So, why barbering? As Dinnelle tells it, “I always had a lot of male clients as a hairdresser and come to think of it, a lot of my female clients had short hair. There I was teaching people not just technique but how to talk to people, how to have a consultation, how to ask the right questions… “
She says, “it’s always been about trust for me. Your client needs to trust you’ll understand what they want. They need to trust you and trust the style. You know… be able to manage it later.”
She continues, “I’d done everything I could do in hairdressing – education, sales, everything in the salon… and then I saw a Technical Director role being advertised at BarberShopCo and my friends said, go for it – it’s totally you”.
“I applied and had my first interview with the board (John, Mark and Adam). It went really well. I’ve never left an interview feeling so amazing I was just totally blown away by them.
I thought, who are these guys… I need to be a part of this… they’re going to change the industry.”
“Adam said I just had to do the psychometric test, which I did… and totally bombed. When Adam told me I was gutted. But I knew I had to fight for this opportunity.”
“So, I spoke with him and said that I should have mentioned that I’m dyslexic, and I know I can do this job and I can prove it in other ways. We arranged a breakfast meeting with the Board for 7.30am on about the 23rd of December. Only one of the busiest days in the salon, or time of year for that matter. My nerves where high but I knew I had been given that chance I had asked for. I left that meeting hoping I had done everything I could - knowing that I needed to be a part of this.”
And there is that passion we mentioned, blazing up a notch, “They offered me the role on what was actually the day I was getting married; a last-minute upgrade on our ten-year anniversary. That was one incredible, life changing day.”
Thinking back to that breakfast interview she says, “Actually, John did say he thought maybe I’d be a good franchisee”, she laughs again. “Of course, now I am.”
“I did really have to prove myself moving from hairdressing to barbering while mastering the skills… efficiency, precision… crisp, clean hairlines. I am very grateful to Lexie who first trained me in hairdressing years ago. She was hard on me, always pushing for precision – right down to men’s grooming and how to trim a beard (we did that and not many salons did, back then).”
“So, I learned a few more things in my first role with BarberShopCo, won a few people over and you know I just have to credit the Board and the team for how they’ve taken me under their wing. Adam, I’ve learned so much from him. He’s helped me see what I’m good at and taught me how to leverage my skills.”
“The way I see it, if you’re open to others you learn more. Often, we listen just to reply. John, Mark and Adam have such insight and clarity about what they want to achieve… and they take you with them. It’s not just one thing, it’s thousands of little things and fundamentally, it’s about the customer experience.”
“I did the intern programme with Jen who has been the most amazing coach. These guys are just so committed. They brought an Italian guy called Frank Bazzano over from Australia to teach us the hot towel shave and that’s when I knew that I’d truly found my calling.”