It has been a winding, but ultimately fulfilling journey on the road to success for Griffith barber Tristan Sergi.
Having gone beyond the “stigma” of being a male in a female-dominated industry, and being inspired by his family and an international example, Tristan has had his dream come true.
In just four months, Tristan’s Barber Shop has become an institution for men, perfectly timing its establishment with an increased awareness of male presentation.
But for Tristan, it was a journey that started when he was a teenager, allowing him to proudly follow in the footsteps of his moth and sister.
“I wanted to do it when I was 16, but there were no young male barbers getting into the industry,” Tristan said.
“I thought people would judge me, because it was a bit feminine, so I did other jobs, but did didn’t like them.
“Then I went overseas, to Italy and when I was there I wanted to get a haircut. So I went into a barber shop for the first time.
“There was a guy having a coffee, someone watching TV. I thought it was awesome.
“I had always been to a hairdresser to get my hair cut.I walked out and thought ‘this would be fantastic for Griffith’. I had a vision and a dream.
“I came home and told Mum this was something I wanted to pursue, but that I wanted to move to Sydney to learn.”
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That learning included a barber course, but then finding work proved difficult without experience.
However, one barber provided Tristan with a small wage to do some cleaning and administration work and although he wouldn’t pay him to cut hair, suggested he offer free haircuts as a way to practice.
This led to cutting friends’ hair, before Tristan decided to make the move back to Griffith.
Upon his return, Tristan started working in his sister’s salon and his reputation grew from there.
“When I got my confidence up doing males I bought a chair in my sister’s salon in Griffith,” he said.
“In the first week I cut two people’s hair. The next week I did a few more.
“Word got out around town and I started an Instagram page and it kicked off. After two-and-a-half years the salon was becoming a barber shop.”
Having broken the mould and gained a reputation for modern barbering in a hairdressing environment, Tristan knew it was time to spread his wings further, setting up Tristan’s Barber Shop at 168 Yambil Street.
“I didn’t think it would have taken off,” Tristan said. “At this stage, in our fourth month, I didn’t think it would be going as well as it is.
“There has been good support and we are picking up people along the way, just from word of mouth.
“It’s a dream come true.”