Barbering educators Sam Diab and Kate Feutrill-Finlay of Box Hill Institute are both considered masters of their craft; yet each is a product of divergent training backgrounds.

It’s no secret the men’s hair scene is booming, and with the demand for quality education at an all time high, the team at Box Hill institute are paving the way for a new generation of barbers.

Which begs the all too important question; what is it that qualifies an educator to teach barbering to apprentices and full-time trainees?

Barbering educators Sam Diab and Kate Feutrill-Finlay of Box Hill Institute are both considered masters of their craft; yet each is a product of divergent training backgrounds.

Having commenced work at 14 years of age, Sam has been barbering for over 25 years. At the age of 17, he made the move from Lebanon to Australia.

Sam then went on to work in a selection of barbershops before subsequently opening his first site in Thornbury, Melbourne.

“Twenty years ago, the barbering scene in Melbourne was not as popular as it is today and as a result many of those traditional barbers and their skills were lost to time,” Sam revealed.

While he now owns and operates two barbershops – The Grooming Lounge Barber in Thornbury and Bundoora respectively – Sam’s barbering journey began during his formative years.

The business owner first learnt the tricks of the trade at his father’s barbershop in Lebanon; a space in which Sam was taught to use manual hand clippers, scissors and cut-throat razors.

“Barbering was more difficult without today’s technology leading to barbers with more diverse and adaptable skills,” Sam continued.

Over the last two years, Sam has been responsible for the training of 10 new barbers. He was also a finals qualifier in the recent Barber Konnect competition; Sam’s first competition.

“I want to pass my knowledge to the next generation like my father did, so a legacy lives on through my students”.

Sam’s colleague at Box Hill Institute, Kate Feutrill-Finlay began her career as a hairdresser before going on to train as a barber in the UK.

Today she owns The Flair Lounge in Doreen, a site just outside of Melbourne. While the salon caters to both male and female clients, Kate is adamant her passions lie with barbering.

“I really enjoy making men feel good about themselves, I love doing women’s hair too, but the edge is in barbering,” Kate mused.

Kate revealed that she typically sees female clients every five to eight weeks whereas male clients tend to visit more frequently; from three to five weeks on average.

“The conversation is very different. We can follow each other’s footy teams and we have so much more connection due to the greater frequency of their visits.  It’s like catching up with a good mate every month.”

Over the course of her career, Kate has steadily established herself as an exceptional barber; a status only strengthened by her many and varied clients – including interstate clients.

Kate possess tremendous enthusiasm for training new barbers, revealing that as an employer, she is privy to many gaps in the skillsets of qualified hairdresser – hence Kate’s strong desire to enter the educational sphere.

“So many retail experiences have gone online, but you’ll never be able to get a haircut or shave online!” she said.  “We are an industry that is allowed to touch our client, connect with them”.

Furthermore, Kate maintains that in a world of convenience and instant gratification, such face-to-face encounters as the barbering experience are vital to both hairdresser and client alike.

“We are so lucky and I want to nurture this for our future, give clients a service that makes them want to come back. I want to train barbers to keep that going and make barbering a unique and warming experience.

The barbers I train will be present and be aware that they are holding a client’s very well-being in their hands and if they understand this and have what it takes, they will be great barbers. It’s fun, exciting and every day is different.”

Kate’s tip for becoming a great barber? Take in every bit of knowledge and expertise offered through training and live a journey with open ears, eyes and hearts.

Two experts with a wealth of knowledge between them; ready and eager to nurture a new generation of talent.

Box Hill Institute offers barbering training to apprentices and full-time and part-time course options. Qualified hairdressers can complete only five subjects to gain a Certificate III in Barbering (SHB30516).

Visit: call 1300 BOX HILL for more information.