GIRLBOSS

Each week you tell us about what you do. Girlboss stories will also appear online on NZME's new career hub, www.yudu.co.nz, where you will find more career inspiration, news, advice and job search tools.


Frances (Frankie) Hutchings is in the business of cutting men's hair - she has recently opened her second Bay Barbers shop at the Historic Village.


Name: Frances Hutchings
Job title: Owner of Bay Barbers Piccadilly Arcade and Historic Village, co-founder of Frank & Flo
How long worked here: Six years

What does your job involve?
A little bit of everything ... from working on the floor barbering, looking after clients and the team, training, judging competitions and doing demos to researching, creating and making stock for Frank & Flo and getting out on the road as a rep to place it, running stalls at expos and marketing and social media for both businesses.

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Why did you get into the profession of cutting men's hair?
My hands were forced, as they didn't stand up to the chemicals of hairdressing. I count it a blessing now (I didn't at the time) as I wonder whether I would have had the patience to stay a hairdresser. I love the fast pace of a barber shop, no appointments adds a fun surprise factor to the day. You never know who is going to walk in next and what challenge awaits with their hair and what you will learn from that person. Bay Barbers is always busy.

Do men like having their hair cut by women?
I think it is due to the team sharing a common vision. My team are all contractors so they work for themselves and understand the value of doing their very best work and looking after each client. I don't believe it is because we are women (we've had amazing men working with us up until last year). The fact we are a female team right now is due to these girls being incredibly talented. They have the skill set and hard-working attitude that gained my respect.

What do you like about your job the most?
I enjoy our trade in every form. I love the precision work that is the art of a barbering. The shorter you go, the less room for error. It is a challenge to master and a trade that is always changing so it requires constant learning. I enjoy that. I also love the challenge of Frank & Flo - creating an all-natural brand that I know is safe and healthy makes me happy.

What's the most challenging aspect of your role?
Running a business and managing a team is challenging, but I enjoy the work and the people. Seven years ago after contracting for a number of years I thought I knew all I could about running a barbershop. I was so wrong. Business and marketing is something I had to learn fast, and continue to learn today. I'm very lucky to have a very patient and helpful fiance, family and team behind me.

What's your proudest work moment?
Proudest work moment has to be right now. Sitting down to answer these questions gives me a break in looking forward and a chance to look back. My little shop and brand, and how far they both have come. We've grown from one barber to four barbers in a short time, and are opening a new shop in the Historic Village.

What training/experience have you had to prepare for your role?
I'm into my 18th year in the hair industry. I started doing work experience in high school and gained an apprenticeship in a hair salon at 16. I had an incredible boss and wonderful stylists training me but after three years my skin couldn't cope with the chemicals and I had to rethink my career. Barbering back then was a dying trade, but after seven months working odd jobs I managed to gain another apprenticeship in barbering. From there I contracted to a number of barber shops throughout the North Island, gaining a vast range of different skills from the talented people I worked with. Contracting gave me a bit of business acumen but nothing prepared me for the responsibility of a shop and a team.

What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
A print of desiderata from an old barber - I have it on the bench in front of my chair. A beautiful read that everyone can relate to. For me who is a constant planner and known to forget to take a break, this is the piece that grabs me: "Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time."

What's the most important thing your current role has taught you?
Be kind to every person who sits in the barber chair and every barber that stands behind it - you never know the battle they are going though. We are all human and we all have good days and bad. I have gained some incredible friends and learned that every person can teach you something if you give them the chance, time and respect.

Describe your work wardrobe?
Black pants or skinny jeans, a singlet or Frank & Flo shirt, brogue shoes and a hat.