Barber, entrepreneur, dad; Luke Newman somehow manages to juggle all three things. As well as founding legendary Australian men’s grooming brand, Uppercut Deluxe, Newman runs two barber shops infused with old-school charm. Newman’s most recent hair-driven venture is his second barbershop – General Officer located in the bustling Brisbane suburb coorparoo. We linked up to get the low-down on all things hair and business...
INTERVIEW: RUBY AVERY-DE WAAL / PHOTOGRAPHY: @ZIDSPHOTO
Where did things start out for you in the world of barbers and men’s grooming?
The penny dropped for me when I was over in Portland in America about 15 years ago helping a mate building skateparks. At the time, I had just finished design school and was going back to Oz to look for a graphic design job. I walked past this cool barbershop one day and I was just like, ‘Thats it! Im going back to Oz and learning to cut hair!’.
I’ve always liked old school stuff so I think it just clicked, it was the perfect job because of the ritual of the barbershop and how it has such heritage as a trade.
"General Officer is like getting a haircut in your mates garage. No ego, just a good chat and hopefully a lot
What does a typical day in the life of Luke Newman look like?
I get woken up early by my youngest boy who is three, Stirling, asking me to make his breakfast. Then I make a coffee and try and get my head together for the day. I try and think about three things Im grateful for to make me start the day feeling thankful, then play with the kids for an hour or so before heading of to one of the barbershops. Then it’s just 8 hours of talking trash and having fun with customers before heading home to wear out the kids. We try and have a skate or go for a walk to the park. After dinner I try and read or just chill out with wifey with a cup of tea. We just try and keep it all pretty mellow and simple.
As a barber, we’re sure you meet plenty of interesting characters! Have you had any quirky style requests over the years?
Occasionally, the funniest one I had was a guy who showed me a pic of a budgie and asked for a haircut like that.
You’re the original founder of Uppercut Deluxe, a renowned Australian men’s grooming brand. What made you decide to make the change toward now running two of your own barber shops? Basically, we had kids and I just knew I couldn't do both. Uppercut was a rad journey and I loved building and doing all the graphic design for the brand but it just got to the point where I wanted to just cut hair and hang out with my family without the stress and travel of running a big business. I’m so proud of what Uppercut has become but my heart has always been with connecting and hanging with people.
Congratulations on opening your second barber, General Officer! Tell us a bit about what people can expect from the new place in Brisbane!
Barbering was never meant to be about a scene or trying to compete with other shops for the coolest fitout. General Officer is like getting a haircut in your mates garage. No ego, just a good chat and hopefully a lot of laughs.