Barbershop business thriving

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Fast-tracking success: Georgetown Barbers employee (left) Nate Walters with owner and friend Niko Mahuika at the Invercargill barber shop on Centre St. Photo: Abbey Palmer

FROM cutting his son’s hair at home to owning one of the most unique barber shops in Invercargill, entrepreneur Niko Mahuika is ticking business ventures off his list with no plans to slow down.

A self-proclaimed “unorthodox businessman”, the traditionally trained, new-wave barber decided to set-up shop in Georgetown after “spotting a gap in the market”.

Just seven months later, Georgetown Barbers was thriving.

So much so, Mr Mahuika said he had already begun making plans to shift to a bigger space, open a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, and bring his on-the-side vintage clothing and music gigs into the limelight.

“I don’t want to do things inside the box, I tatted my face which sort of left me with no other option [job-wise].

“Me being the way I look, I wanted to challenge the status quo and the stereotypes that come with that by the way I act and the things I do in business.”

Plans for his own business ventures came into play after studying barbering in Auckland, and then working as a barber after his return to Invercargill, he said.

“I didn’t get into barbering to do quantity over quality, it was an art form for me and a platform I could use to be creative, so that’s why I wanted to start up my own shop.

“I wanted to do something that brought a bit of culture to Invercargill and switch up the social dynamics of the place.”

What made Georgetown Barbers different was its no barriers, no judgement policy, and its focus on authenticity, he said.

“I love the lifestyle of being a barber, we get so many creative clientele coming in, it’s good to get to know all the locals and build a more personal relationship with them.”

Friend and now co-worker Nate Walters said Georgetown Barbers offered a different quality of haircutting.

“We were trained traditionally but we have a good mix of old and new-school styles and take a lot of pride in our work.”

Mr Walters said what made him come to work every day was not the profit, but the passion he had.

Georgetown Barbers would move to a neighbouring building later this year to accommodate more barbers, and the original shop would be converted into a coffee-stop next year, Mr Mahuika said.

Incorporating his internationally imported vintage-clothes business, while continuing to work on music with crew Lot9, was also on the cards for the future, he said.

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