Nestled in the heart of Collingwood on bustling Smith Street, you will find the green-tiled walls of barbershop Kenneth Geoffrey’s. At the height of uncertainty during the pandemic, owner and mullet crafting extraordinaire Kizzi left her former role, signed a lease on an old pharmacy building (on her 30th birthday), stripped it bare and fitted out the new space in a short eight weeks. Crediting her love for Harry Potter, help from a handy husband and a lot of YouTube tutorials. Kenneth Geoffrey’s opened their doors in 2020 and have never looked back.
We recently spoke to Kizzi about family ties, local comradery, crocs and the new Square Stand. Read the full chat below.
SQ: Firstly, great name! How did you come up with ‘Kenneth Geoffrey’s’?
K: Kenneth Geoffrey was my grandfather. When creating the space, I wanted it to feel classic and I felt his name would represent that. Who better to name it after than someone who helped to mould me into the person I am today. Plus, it gives sentimental meaning to me.
SQ: Tell us about how Kenneth Geoffrey’s started? What’s your background and what sparked the idea?
K: When the pandemic first started, tensions were rising within my previous workplace. I had been there for ten years and was growing restless. I decided it was now or never. With the future so uncertain, I was able to negotiate a great rental price as so many places were sadly closing their doors. I signed the lease on my 30th birthday, a great stepping stone into adulthood!
Everything was coming together nicely. Then we got hit with another lockdown and we were faced with the fact that we couldn’t have any tradesmen on the property to fit it out. So, my husband and I banded together and built the entire space between the two of us. A lot of YouTube videos were watched!
SQ: What has the response been like since you opened?
K: I didn’t inform my previous clientele of my departure as it all happened so quickly. From the day I decided to leave my previous role, to opening the doors was only eight weeks, I had to start again. I posted on social media the day before I opened saying where I would now be cutting hair and that brought in the few people I did still have contact with.
Over the past year and a half, I have had new people find me every week. Being a local has its benefits. I’ve also been very fortunate to have some amazing staff join me that have helped Kenneth Geoffreys grow. We have become a very close team and everyone just wants the shop to be a success, for which I am very grateful.
SQ: Why did you choose Collingwood as your location?
K: It was a no brainer, Collingwood is my home, having spent the past decade of my life on Smith Street. I have been fortunate enough to make friends with many locals. I love the vibrancy that Fitzroy and Collingwood have to offer. The area is always bustling with so many characters, there is always something exciting and new on your doorstep.
SQ: Tell us more about the decor/branding of Kenneth Geoffreys, what inspired you?
K: To be honest, we had no plan for the design of our space. I had spent a lot of time watching Harry Potter throughout the first lockdown, so I had the ministry of magic on my mind when planning out the space. Green tiles, copper/gold fixtures and magic.
I wanted it to be minimal, but classy. Underground English train station vibes. Lots of light that is welcoming and inviting. The building has a rich history as it was originally an old pharmacy, so I wanted to reinstate it to what it once could have been.
SQ: Why did you decide to use Square to power your business?
K: Square seemed like an obvious choice to me. I liked the ease of tapping and going. Everything is so sleek and designed to look appealing on the counter. There’s no fussing around entering the sale price into a bulky EFTPOS machine. It is virtually wireless too, so not too many cords to get tangled in and look messy.
I love the fact that you can also opt for an appointments booking system that is connected to a booking site, so it takes all of the reservation admin work out of staff hands, meaning we don’t require a receptionist. The Point of Sale app is also ridiculously easy to use and has made running my business easier than working as an employee at any other shop.
Scheduling that puts time in your hands.
SQ: How has Square helped your business grow?
K: Customers constantly comment on how easy it is to book an appointment. The website is really user friendly, meaning they can book, cancel and even reschedule their appointments all without calling the shop. This gives us more time to spend with our clients in the chair. The system sends out reminder notifications and I can even change how regularly I want them to be sent.
An added benefit for our business is that Square also offers no show protection, which has been a lifesaver for the people that book an appointment without actually intending to show up (which is, unfortunately, a huge problem in the hair industry.)
SQ: What have been some of your most popular services this year? Any surprises?
K: Mullets! Everyone is loving a mullet at the moment and we love a good mullet too! But to be honest, we have such a diverse clientele that the styles we work on range from skin fades, long hair, standard men’s haircuts, or even a hot towel shave if you feel like treating yourself!
SQ: Can you tell us more about which Square products you use day-to-day?
K: Square offers free QR booking codes which I had made into a sticker on our front window and also put onto our business cards. So, when we have clients come in and ask about appointments, we are able to direct them to the QR codes which allow them to find an appointment time that works for them. It also directs them to our price lists and service times.
We also have a website for our products, so people can view our stock without entering the store and purchase our product range and merch online. This was super helpful during the lockdown, allowing us to generate an income when we weren’t able to cut hair. It is all connected up to our Square Stand too, so I don’t need to constantly update the website with our stock to manage it.
SQ: How is the new Square Stand going?
K: The new Square Stand is cool. I love that it lights up so people know exactly where to pay. We get a lot of comments about how great it looks. So far we haven’t had any issues with it that haven’t been solved within 15 minutes by emailing or calling Square.
SQ: Tell us about your future plans?
K: I want to extend my hours eventually so we can open seven days a week, but it is tough to find barbers in this industry at the moment as there is a skills shortage. Hopefully, we will have some new up-and-comers ready to hit the floors or some travelers back in town soon that want to join our team.