Emma Russell continues her series charting the stories of former Whanganui students who have gone on to success in the big, wide world

Positive vibes, quality chat and a fresh groom are the gifts Samuel Monaghan keeps on giving.

The former Cullinane College student - just three years out of school - said he found his niche and went for it.

Three months ago the 21-year-old opened up Monaghan Barbers Shop in Whanganui with the aim to "bring back the old-school".


"When I was about 15 me and my brother got sick of having to get regular haircuts so we started doing each others from home...eventually learnt how to cut properly and I started cutting hair for all my mates," he said.

After finishing his last year of school Mr Monaghan started a two year apprenticeship at Barber town in Whanganui. At the same time he completed a one-year small business management course at the local Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

He said the course was great because it was flexible to work with each student.

"They mould whatever you want... I brought in my business plan for my barber shop and they helped me structure it,"

Mr Monaghan said it was hard to juggle his busy schedule but the hard work has paid off and now he is reaping the rewards with a busy shop and happy customers.

"I love working in a space where I can be myself completely all the time...it's so easy having a yarn with customers and I think it's a good way to get guys to talk and open up,"

The go-getter said he wanted to make it a genuine barber shop for men and focus on keeping it old-school.

"All my inspiration came from researching online and taking pieces from other old-school barber shops,"

He said it was a scary thing putting all his savings into the business as well as taking out a small loan but it has all been worth it.

"It was hectic over Christmas time...and because we are open Saturday mornings I had to give up rugby but you have to make sacrifices and the rewards have been great,"

Mr Monaghan said he had considered getting a degree in sport but after speaking to older friends who studied sport he felt there just wasn't the jobs available.

"Friends also advised me to start my barber shop in Auckland but I thought if I go there I am just joining all the others...I wanted to be the first old-school barbershop in Whanganui before someone from Wellington or wherever claimed it,"

Currently Mr Monaghan has one employee Josh Sharkey, a 23 year old Australian, and will look to expand as business grows.

To students contemplating starting a business he said "find something you really enjoy and just smash it".