Through Sickness & Through Health
Jaymz finally secured a job after a long history of unemployment, mental illness, and homelessness. All seemed promising when he could labour away at a warehouse, until he got injured on August 24th 2016, then sacked the day before Christmas due to his redundancy. Doctors reported tendinitis and bursitis, with swelling and fluid buildup in both shoulders. Buried under WorkCover paperwork, Jaymz was bound to the bed for half his days, unable to lift his arms, to open doors, to drive his car, or to even shower on his own. He was forced to stop and relearn everything he knew, like a toddler, learning how to move through life - again. Books and YouTube tutorials about barbering became his obsession - it was the best thing to distract himself from the pain. The only thing that got him out of the house were the weekly trips to his GP, physiotherapist, pain therapist, and psychologist. (Many thanks to the team at Cabrini Elsternwick Rehabilitation Centre!)
Jaymz burrowed a pair of old clippers from a family member and unashamedly pleaded for the chance to cut the hair of his two nephews. With shoulder injuries and no formal training, each haircut took three hours.
2016: The first cut. Jaymz giving his very supportive nephew an attempted fade in the front yard.
With the medical and emotional understanding of what Jaymz was going through, his partner Janice became the sole breadwinner of the household, and took no excuses from Jaymz as she pushed him back to school to pursue his passion (Cert. III of Barbering, Kangan Institute of Tafe). It was her way of helping him accept his physical condition and to make something of himself - even if it meant attending class numb on painkillers, and practicing with the cut throat razor on himself. Janice scouted hair models for Jaymz every week so he could accelerate his progress, and supported the home to her best ability - empowering Jaymz to work and rehabilitate at his own pace. In addition to schooling, Jaymz actively sought mentorship and was privileged to train under master barbers and hair stylists from Singapore, London, and the USA. They were all impressed by his learning progress.
Jaymz practicing the cutthroat razor shave on himself in front of Janice's dressing mirror.
Late 2016, Janice formed the acronym of SILK - "Style Is Love Kindness". She had lost her job through unprecedented events, and soon the pressures of hunger and unstable income became a confronting and isolating reality. She helped Jaymz prepare his resumé and cover letters as he applied, door-knocked, and trialed at numerous barbershops, but many deemed him unemployable when they learned of his physical condition. With rental debt and medical bills escalating, and every employer sending Jaymz home, their vision for Silk Barbers seemed like the only possible solution for survival.
Jaymz lost his dearly beloved grandma that year (rest in peace) and received a humble inheritance. Through his mourning came a greater determination to excel in barbering. He thanked his grandma and invested in a secondhand barber chair and new tools (thank you Marty from John Wurzel & Co.!), and Janice threw her savings into a secondhand mirror and drew pictures to decorate the shop. Together, they set up a workstation in their spare bedroom in Caulfield South (many thanks to the landlord for allowing it!). Janice sacrificed nights of sleep to create and manage the website and social media accounts, and consistently promoted through unsponsored posts. Finally, their first client rang the doorbell. Jaymz jumped hysterically and cried in disbelief, then realised his client was still waiting outside. He hurriedly fixed his composure, and probably looked a bit too smiley and desperate when he answered the door. Amazing thing is that the client (thank you Keith K.) still visits Silk Barbers from time to time!
The first home barbershop setup with Jaymz' grandma's corner desk.
From Tragedy to Triumph
Tendinitis and bursitis invited friends in 2017 - arthritis in both shoulders and Fibromyalgia. It was a mental battle for Jaymz to accept that he was to live with permanent partial impairment, and a chronic pain disorder that has no cure. Jaymz made a conscious decision to swallow his doubts, to stop applying for work at other barbershops, and to focus on Silk Barbers. Janice was his greatest inspiration to persevere, as he wanted to repay her for becoming his strength when he was unable to help around the house both physically and financially. Silk Barbers became his way to hold her up when his arms couldn't.
"I feel no choice but to put all I have for Silk Barbers. Barbering is my calling. One thought to not give up, one idea to employ myself, one reason to support our home again."
- Jaymz Haven
A fateful encounter - Jaymz met Edwin, a photographer and serial entrepreneur who quickly became a close friend and client. Edwin believed in the potential of Silk Barbers and offered his digital marketing expertise. With Edwin's guidance and Jaymz' focus on high quality service, the Silk Barbers community grew beyond expectations. Soon Jaymz was able to move his shop from a spare bedroom in Caulfield South to a living room in St Kilda East - in a ground floor apartment that provided greater street exposure.
"Progress, not perfection," says Jaymz.
Updated barbershop in the lounge room in St Kilda East.
The Importance of Community
Seeing her teary-eyed as he stepped out gleaming in his graduation gown, that night marked the first time Jaymz had ever completed a course. It was an emotional night with deep reflection of the hurdles and accumulated achievements.
Having a glossy barbershop setup at home could not outshine the truth. The barbershop was to run at a great loss if Jaymz were to continue cutting alone. Hindered by his partial impairment, the shop was limited to serve only a small handful of clients per week. In attempt to save the future of the business, Jaymz felt is was time to move the business out of the living room. Silk Barbers had earned a supportive community, but it was time to build a family.
The search led them to a restored heritage building in Malvern. The landlord offered a little corner space - it was the perfect new home for Silk Barbers.
Sketching up plans of the new shop - a compromising yet exciting milestone.
Interior design visuals for the shop, thanks to our client Kai Heng.
SILK stands for "Style Is Love Kindness". Love and kindness is where Jaymz found courage to start from the very bottom, and to find strength to push through his physical impairment to serve the community.
Thank you Cabrini Hospital Brighton!
57 Station Street, Malvern 3144
The fist commercial space opened on Friday, 28th of September, 2018.