Jack the Snipper got together with the fella’s from Men at Work in Sydney for a beer and a chat. ‘Behind the Beard’ is an interview series highlighting interesting and influential gents, from Oz and around the world.
Paul Macnamara is the founder of Byron Bay based Haircare brand and Barber Shop, Jack the Snipper. We recently got together with Paul to discuss style icons, gender stereotypes, and beer.
Where do you hail from?
I was born in Liverpool, UK but spent my twenties in London before moving to Australia in 1998.
What did your folks do for a living?
My Dad is a Barber. It’s in the blood. He still has his Barber shop in Liverpool, around the corner from where I grew up.
My Mum was a beautician, working with Elizabeth Arden and Prada. She recently retired. Very happily I might add.
Most memorable hair style you’ve rocked over the years?
In the early nineties, I definitely turned into Jim Morrison for a bit. This photo is a bit blurry, before the days of iPhones but it’s the only proof I have.
Any influential people who sparked your passion for hair/styling?
I’d have to say that Vidal Sassoon was someone who I looked up to most, due to the incredible shapes he achieved with his cutting. I believe he bought hairdressing into the modern age. His technique transformed the way hairdressers approached the haircut.
Also, Trevor Sorbie, who began his career in Barbering and is still, one of the world’s leading ladies hairdressers today.
Where did you learn your trade?
I grew up in my Dad’s Barber shop from a little boy and was initially trained by him as an early teen. I went on to complete my hairdressing apprenticeship with Andrew Collinge in Liverpool.
Andrew was British Hairdresser of the Year five times.
Have you ever faced any negativity being a man in the hair business?
Ha! What are you talking about? It was brilliant, I was surrounded by women all the time.
Seriously though, I never paid too much attention to what people thought. I always found hairdressing to be a great conduit to channel my creativity and it allowed me to travel the world. It’s pretty hard work (believe it or not) but very rewarding.
What sort of stuff are you into outside of work?
Anyone that knows me will tell you that I love music. Anyone from Andrew Weatherall through to Connan Mockasin. If you don’t know who they are, look ’em up.
I love reading books that I don’t understand and that help expand my mind. For example, I’m attempting Carl Jung’s, The Red Book at the moment.
Swimming in the ocean is an everyday occurrence for me and I’ve been known to flirt with a yoga mat on the odd occasion.
Everton Football Club. Enough said.
Why did you settle in Byron? What drew you there?
When you grow up in the UK, the dream is to live somewhere warm and by the ocean. A place where you can look up and see palm trees. I came to Byron Bay as a traveller initially in 1998 and didn’t ever want to leave. I spent 12 years in Melbourne before again, deciding to head north to the warmer waters of Byron.
Besides being an incredibly beautiful place to live, Byron Bay is an exciting place to be, for emerging and established brands. I felt it would be a great place to open the first Jack the Snipper Barber Shop and launch our range of hair styling products.
Are you at all surprised to see the barbershop trend come back into prominence?
Not really. I opened my first Barber shops in Australia in Melbourne in 2001, I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened. Men (and women if they like getting haircuts in Barber shops) deserve and want a place they can go, relax and have a great haircut. Have a chat, have a beer and leave feeling dressed. That is what my current one, Jack the Snipper Barber Shop in Byron Bay is all about.
One thing I would like to impress on up and coming Barber’s, is that etiquette is just as important as technical skills. You may be able to crack out an incredible taper but if you are lacking in conversational skills or manners, you are missing the point. I believe the Barber shop to be an all-round experience and not just a haircut.
Is there an era of men’s style that you are especially drawn to?
I’m a huge fan of the 1960’s style for men. The original Madmen series epitomises what I mean. Suits became more fitted and the haircuts were high and tight. It was a time when gentlemen looked like gentlemen.
If you could cut one head of hair in the world, living or dead, who would it be?
Andy Warhol, without a doubt. Not only did he revolutionise the art world, he facilitated the making of some brilliant music. Influencing artists such as David Bowie and David Byrne (Talking Heads). Not to mention The Velvet Underground & Nico.
I’m not sure I’d even pay much attention to that iconic mop of hair, it would just be one killer conversation.
What sets Jack the Snipper Styling Creme apart from other hair Styling products on the market in Australia?
My first reaction to that question is ‘it’s overall awesomeness’ but think i’d better elaborate.
My aim with Jack the Snipper Original Styling Creme was to create a modern version of Brylcreem. A Men’s and womens short hair product that is known for it’s effectiveness and quality. The natural waxes give the Styling Creme flexibility, perfect for both slick backs and texture alike. In turn, making an incredibly versatile product to suit all men and women with short hair. The woody, sweet and spicy scent gives the Creme a distinctive and masculine finish. I believe that this Styling Creme can become a staple for Men and Women worldwide.
And you don’t just have to take my word for it, GQ Magazine featured the Styling Creme and said “For a sleek finish, Australian brand Jack The Snipper’s Original Styling Creme, is the go.”