Q&A: The barbershop that keeps the music playing

We talk to Joanna Roberts, the entrepreneur behind the barbershop Mustachery on Brunswick in Brisbane’s New Farm district. What makes this barbershop stand out is that it is founded on a love for music – every day customers get to hear playlists of different artists, genres and eras, which helps enhance the overall customer experience.

ISB: How did you come to the idea of setting up a barbershop business?

JR: As a hairstylist, I understand the impact of a great do, the boost of confidence it gives, the instant change of mindset and the inspiration it can give to the people that see it. In hairdressing school, I have always loved doing men’s cuts when most of my colleagues hated it. Men’s cuts are quite analytical but yet open to creativity and that is me as a person in a nutshell. I’m very process-oriented but need space to be creative. My late husband always encouraged me to open up my own shop. After his battle with brain cancer, I decided it was time to make it happen. The shop is a nod to him and a nod to my creative side.

ISB: How were you able to make Mustachery on Brunswick stand out from the other barbershops?

JR: I wanted to create a space where men could come and feel comfortable while receiving a top-notch grooming service. Also, a space where clients can claim the shop as their own. When the Mustachery On Brunswick went up for sale, I jumped onto it straight away. Mustachery on Brunswick is one of the longest-running barbershops in New Farm. Most of our clients are local to New Farm. A lot of them have been going to the shop since day one. We have the most beautifully diverse clientele – hip, creative, full of contrast, inclusive and quirky.

ISB: Why do you consider music an important element in the overall identity and experience Mustachery on Brunswick offers?

JR: To make Mustachery on Brunswick stand out from other barbershops, we focus on taking care of our regular clients by valuing the rapport we have with them, being part of their life and their local community. This creates a unique and memorable experience for each of our clients. Our barbers themselves are unique in their own way and provide a certain experience to the clients that follow them while being highly skilled and knowledgeable beyond their years. Most importantly we have considered our clients family outside of our own. Each visit from our clients is like a catchup session from a friend. Music is a crucial element of our overall identity and experience. Music has the power to create a specific atmosphere and enhance the overall experience for our customers. Just like us and our clients, we curate a diverse playlist that reflect our brand values and create a vibe that represents us and our clients.

ISB: Aside from playing the music, how does your business show support for the Australian music industry and the artists?

JR: Apart from playing music, we show support for the Australian music industry and artists by showcasing posters of upcoming shows in the shop, attending music events ourselves, supporting efforts of local artists by downloading their music, buying their merch. We have also supported upcoming actors and directors by making our shop available for a movie scene.

ISB: What are your plans for Mustachery on Brunswick in the next couple of years?

Our plan for Mustachery on Brunswick in the next couple of years is to continue to grow and represent the community we are in while maintaining our commitment to excellent service and customer experience. We want more people and community to experience the Brunswick Street brand and expand to new locations while staying true to our brand values and unique identity.

ISB: What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned in this business journey that would-be entrepreneurs should take to heart?

JR: The most important lesson I’ve learned in this business journey is to always stay true to myself and my why. Running a business can be quite stressful and conflicting priorities present themselves all the time. It’s easy to lose yourself in the process. By staying true to me and my why, I am able to make decisions that align with that. The journey then becomes more personal and my clients can feel that and buy in to that. If you can find your people and create a unique community that represents you and your why, you wouldn’t have to work another day and what a way to impact not just one person but a whole community.