Brian Casey Hairdressing owner Leanne Andrews sharpens up
her skills on husband Bevan at her new shop in Stuart St
A South Dunedin barber has set up shop in central
Dunedin, boosting numbers for what she calls ''a dying breed''.
Leanne Andrews has been barbering for more than 20 years. She
was taught the trade by her father, South Dunedin barber
The association with Mr Casey continues in the name of Mrs
Andrews' new venture, Brian Casey Men's Hairdressing, which
has just opened on Stuart St.
Taking a break between clients, Mrs Andrews told The Star
plenty had changed in barbering since she clasped her first
pair of sharp scissors.
Where most men used to favour barbers, many now chose salons.
At the same time, the number of barber apprentices had
dropped while many incumbent barbers were slowly moving
''We [barbers] are a dying breed,'' she said.
However, she believed one thing had not changed: a lot of men
still liked to be able to get a haircut without having to
make an appointment.
Mrs Andrews learnt her trade from her father, completing her
apprenticeship to work in her father's Mayfair Mall shop. She
took over the business in the early 1990s, when Mr Casey
retired, and stayed at the helm until 2010.
''You could say it's in the blood,'' Mrs Andrews said. ''I
always used to joke that my father was like an older twin.''
Mrs Andrews was the first woman in Dunedin to complete a
barbering apprenticeship and hoped to be able to help more
women get involved in the industry.
Women worked at other barbers and men's hairdressers in the
city, but she hoped more could be encouraged.
As a woman, she sometimes felt she had not been taken
seriously as a barber in what was very much ''a man's
world'', she said.
On the other hand, she thought some men liked coming to her
because they found it easier to open up and talk to a woman.
Veteran men's hairdresser Errol Sharp, owner of St James
Men's Hairdressing, said salons made inroads on barbers'
custom from the 1960s, when men started wanting longer
At the time, many more traditional barbers were reluctant to
change their offerings, and salons were the beneficiaries.
Barbering apprenticeships were also replaced by courses
offered at education providers. All up, the changes meant
there were not as many city barbers as in the industry's
heyday, he said.
As other barbers had adapted and trained new barbers for the
future, Mr Sharp was teaching a young woman who approached
him wanting to learn how to cut men's hair.
- Jonathan Chilton-Towle