MEET THE TEAM – ALEX "AXLE" HOGG
Born in Manchester (UK), Alex’s family moved to Australia when he was three before settling in Warrandyte. After spending years in retail he came to the conclusion that he “loves people but is happy to no longer have to try and sell them things they really don’t need”. This led him to a fresh career as a barber; his favourite part of it is the client interaction. “Sometimes you might talk about the weather or the weekend and then there are times you might be a friendly ear to someone who really needs a chat. I love it! You really don’t know what’s next.”
A keen collector of nostalgia, in his spare time he’ll hit up op shops all over Melbourne, hunting for anything he can save from the ‘80s and ‘90s. A family man living locally, he shares his life with his wife and 4-year-old boy plus two cats and a dog. Read on to find out about this barber’s best ever tip shop find…
Alex, you have a reputation as a keen collector of nostalgia. What have been your greatest finds?
My most notable purchase is from the Cold Stream tip shop (I drag my son there every week or so). I picked up a home theatre projector and screen for $30, took it home and set it up in my garage. My 4-year-old loves it and makes me play the same movie (Cars 3) over and over and over…the garage is now called “The Ocky Strap Home Theatre”. Besides that, my favourite ‘80s purchase is definitely my Garfield telephone – he’s sleeping and when you pick up the handset his eyes open and he’s awake, it’s amazing!!!
Do you remember the first haircut you ever gave someone? What got you interested in barbering in the first place?
The first haircut I ever gave was in the academy on my second day. The only practice I had done before was on a mannequin head the day before. I can’t remember the client, or their hair, or what style it was… I just remember thinking I wanted it to just be over hahah! Once it was done, I felt so relieved. I had done it! The haircuts became more comfortable after that and I slowly got better. I got into barbering through a friend in the industry who gave me a shot. I’ve always been into fashion, be it clothes, tattoos or hair (when I had some!). Barbering keeps me interested in style in general – my own and others. I’ve always felt most comfortable in a job when I can wear what I want and be myself. I could never do a job where I have to dress up in a suit….I’d feel like I’m pretending to be someone else.
What’s your favourite thing about Lilydale and favourite thing about working at Lefty’s?
For me the best thing about Lilydale is the surge of new businesses offering what you used to have to travel to Brunswick or the CBD to get. No longer does Beryl serve you up a Nescafe Blend 43 at a local “cafe” around here! The Yarra Valley boasts an endless supply of incredible resources and I love that if you look in the beer fridge here it’s all on display. Every beer is local. I love that someone might try that here at Lefty’s and then buy a slab or visit the brewery. Lefty’s supports local and it feels great! I grew up in Warrandyte and the older I get the more I appreciate the space, the beauty and the quality of the outer east.
What’s the best thing about being a barber, and what are you less keen on in the job?
The best thing about being a barber has to be the banter. You might be talking about ‘80s movies with one client, music with another, and then you might have a deep and meaningful with the next dude. It can go any way.
Are there any brands, products, equipment or other professional tools that you swear by?
I swear by my chair. I am constantly pumping it up, down and swivelling it all around. For me it’s about two things: 1) saving my back and 2) getting the best light. Plus it allows my customers to get a good look around the shop.
If you let your imagination roam, what’s your dream path in your future as a barber?
I guess eventually having my own shop would be amazing but I’m in no rush to get there. Running a shop brings pressure and stress that I do not need in my life right now. Creating a space that is different and unique but also appeals to others would be really fun someday. For now I’m still wanting become the best barber I can be and I’m happy pursuing that. I really cannot see myself competing – for me it’s about being happy with what I do for myself and my clients.