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Lockdown lessons help barber slow down

Barber Ben Scott is doing life a little differently post lockdown. Prior to closing Benny’s Barbershop for over two months over the noho rāhui / lockdown, ‘me time’ was not something Ben often prioritised.

Having had time to think and ‘take a sabbatical’ over lockdown, he is now dedicating time to practising mindfulness and doing more of things that allow him to unwind and recharge.

For Ben, 26, getting on a motorbike is his kind of ‘mindful’ and he hopes his actions of self care have a ripple eaffect on all those around him.

“A lot of the time, I put myself after everyone else... But I’ve since realised that when I’m not mentally fresh, it puts stress on everyone else,” says Ben.

Ice baths, floats and yoga are among the things Ben does to calm his mind and stay “mentally fit”.

“Motorbiking is my main out. I don’t have my phone on me, I can switch off and am totally free of worry.”

Lockdown was a tough slog for Ben and his team. He says if the move to alert level two had come just days later, he would have been forced to consider closing for good.

“We went from making $80,000 a month, to bringing in just $400 over two months.”

During lockdown he tried to keep his team engaged with a weekly Zoom catch up.

With no work or administration to do over lockdown, Ben put a routine in place, knowing that he would need that to get through. He got up early, did online workouts and set himself challenges, like learning how to do a lengthy wheely up his driveway and re-fibreglassing his parent’s boat.

In its first week back, Benny’s Barbershop clocked up over 1400 hair cuts.

The 26- year-old has since started a buy one, donate one scheme, which brought in more than 16 free hair cuts on day one of the initiative, to help give back to those who may need a helping hand right now.

“We’re noticing a lot of people have been made redundant and over the next week there will be more. Some are taking it in their stride and others are struggling,” he says.

As for his own team, Ben is noticing that lockdown has brought about some real reflection.

2019 was a massively tough year for the team at Benny’s Barbershop, with barber, Fyfa Dawson fatally hit by a truck whilst cycling to work.

Ben says lockdown provided some of the team with the time needed to process that event, with them now opening up about how it has impacted them.

When it comes to talking with his customers and employees, Ben has a simple approach.

“Just be genuine and have a chat. Nothing is really off limits.”

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