Cost-saving hobby becomes career

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Balclutha man Caleb Dempster (18) found his passion for barbering as a year 9 pupil at St Peter’s College Hostel in 2013.

Four years on, he is training to be a qualified barber at the Mr Barber training school in Auckland.

“I would’ve been about 14. The boys liked getting their hair cut short on the sides and long on the top. We refused to pay $22 to get our sides cut short, so we got our hostel money and bought a $20 set of clippers from The Warehouse . everyone was sort of like ‘who wants to do it’ and I was like ‘I may as well’,” Mr Dempster said.

Not every haircut was perfect in the beginning; a few even went slightly wrong, he said.

“Now my mate Jake has been getting his hair cut by me for four years.

“Everyone eventually started to like the haircuts, so it just went from there.”

A year later, when he was a year 10 pupil, he started to think he could turn his money-saving hobby into a career.

“I thought I may as well just stick to it.”

As for his training at Mr Barber, Mr Dempster said he was put on to it by a men’s barber called BLOKE, in Dunedin.

“It’s great. You need no experience to be here, either; we are learning a traditional style of barbering, like how to do fades and beards. I love doing beards more than doing haircuts now.

“If you want to learn to barber, I would recommend going to Mr Barber. You could walk in with no passion for hair but leave with a fully ignited passion.”

Mr Dempster said that when he returned to Balclutha at the end of the year he would like to find a job in the barber industry, but the ultimate goal was to open a barber shop in the town.

He hoped his longtime clients, like Jake, would come from Gore to Balclutha for a haircut.

Mr Dempster, who also played for the St Peter’s College 1st XV, hoped to gain a spot on the Owaka rugby team when he returned. If the team was after a new barber, then he would step up to the plate.