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Quick fire five with The French Barber (NZBN 9429046056931)

Jason Debande had a vision to bring a couture style French barbershop to town. A bout of homesickness, specialist skills with a pair of scissors, and a clear vision brought his dream to life. He says the best assets in his business are the people, who share the same passion for sleek and personal service as he does.

What inspired you to start The French Barber?

I guess I wanted to bring a barbershop with character to Wellington. I wanted to create a place that had my follow my own French style which also provided old school service.

I came to New Zealand for love. I met my fiancé in France where I was working in a barbershop. When I came here I wanted to be a barber, but run my own business. In my second year in New Zealand I felt like needed a change so I started the process.

The French Barber(external link)

What are you most proud of in your business?

I’m most proud of the people that work in my barbershop, they’re my biggest asset. They have the same vision and direction as me, they want to help people, and I can also see how much they enjoy it. They bring so much life to the shop and they’re the ones that make this place so great. Business needs great people.

What’s the biggest insight you have for people getting into business?

I would say get as much information as you can before going into business because you’re always going to make some mistakes. It’s important you know your product really well to be able to sell it. You’ve got to have a good steady case for what you’re doing. I was doing this for 14 years before so that helped a lot – you have to be very confident in your business plan. Being sure is very important. 

What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in your business? How did you resolve it?

It has been pretty cruisy but I have to say I worked really hard in the first year and a half. Back then I was working around 70 to 75 hours a week, it wasn’t easy. So another piece of advice is: in the first year, you’re going to have to work really hard, and put the time in. 

When I was first getting set up it was also difficult to find good barbers that met my standards. I put a lot of time into training up a few guys, so I’d also recommend putting the time into finding the right people.

How do you use technology to save time in your business?

I use Instagram and Facebook for a lot of our marketing and I’m lucky because my partner works in this field so mostly runs these channels for me. For my accounting admin I use Xero and for my pay slips I use a programme called Pay Sauce. I use a business software for my till which processes the businesses daily income. And of course there is Spotify to keep music playing in the shop throughout the day to create the right atmosphere.

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