Through Sickness & Through Health
Jaymz finally secured a job after a long history of unemployment, mental illness, substance abuse, 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 Fung 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 and London. 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 walked away from her workplace in tears due to ongoing politics. Her negative experiences inspired her to form the acronym of SILK - "Style Is Love Kindness". Janice picked up odd jobs in tutoring and house cleaning, but 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 lead a sober and more positive life. 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. 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. Janice and Jaymz jumped hysterically as they hugged and cried in disbelief, then realised their client was still outside. Jaymz hurriedly brushed up 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 - Janice and Jaymz met Edwin Reese, a respected photographer and entrepreneur who quickly became a close friend and client. Edwin believed in the potential of Silk Barbers, and offered his marketing expertise. With Edwin's guidance and the couple's focus on high quality service, the SILK community grew beyond their expectations. Soon the team was able to move their shop from a spare bedroom in Caulfield South to their living room in St Kilda East, in a new apartment that provided greater exposure.
"Progress, not perfection" is what Jaymz always says.
Updated barbershop in the lounge room in St Kilda East, designed by Janice.
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, Janice browsed tirelessly for an affordable commercial lease. Silk Barbers had earned a supportive community, but it was time to build a family.
The search led them to a beautiful heritage building in Malvern. The small corner shop was once rundown and neglected, and the landlord had recently restored its potential with love and kindness. Jaymz could not help but see the metaphorical significance - 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 Janice and Jaymz found courage to start from the very bottom - it is the basis of how the shop is to empower a team of barbers, and it is where Jaymz finds strength to push through his physical impairment to serve the community.
Thank you Cabrini Hospital Brighton for looking after Jaymz!
57 Station Street, Malvern 3144
Jaymz and Janice opened their first commercial space on Friday, 28th of September, 2018.