Jess Millar – NZ Barber Of The Year!

jess miller

We chat to Jess Millar from Mancraft Barbers in Rotorua, who was awarded the ultimate prize in Barbering NZ Barber of the Year at the annual Industry Awards!

Jess Miller

Congratulations you are now NZ’s Editorial Barber of the Year, what does winning this award mean for you?

The recognition  from the industry and every section in it from reps, to hairdressers and fellow barbers has felt amazing . As a female barber I found it tough in the beginning especially since it is a male dominated industry so I felt I had to work extra hard to prove myself. This would have to be the most rewarding time in my career as a barber. I hope winning this award inspires other female barbers to keep cutting. 

In the finals you had two entries, which were both awesome, which one is your personal favourite?

I love both of them for different reasons but the funny thing was I struggled to get models so I ended up using one model & created two different looks on one head . I am glad the one that won did so well

Both of your entries featured zany hair colour, which is great for editorial, but do you see this happening as a trend, for men in your salon?

I think there has been an increase of men experimenting with their hair such as highlights and vibrant colours. Men are becoming more open to expressing their individuality and personal style through their hair . I hope seeing both of my entries inspire men to incorporate colour their everyday look.

Generally what type of look are men asking for, at the moment?

The taper and burst fades are very popular cuts requested in the shop at present with current trends

How popular are you finding hair colouring services for men, camouflaging grey for example?

I have noticed colouring is becoming more popular in the past year. Id say about 10% of the services I do are colour but I hope that increases. It’s all about educating our clients , introducing them to the endless possibilities to make them look & feel their very best. 

How long have you been barbering and how did you learn your trade?

I have been barbering for two and a half years. I studied at Toi ohomai/Te Pukenga and graduated as a qualified barber in July 2022

What made you first consider Men’s Barbering as a profession?

I had been in corporate for 6 and a half years and decided I was unhappy not being able to be my authentic self so I decided it was time for a change. I wasn’t sure what that change looked like at that point . One day was sitting at a barbers & I saw a barber teaching  and I thought “that looks like fun”. As a teenager I was very interested in hairdressing but never followed through, then it hit me …barbering, that’s it ! … I get to just be me and express my creativity  ! With in a month I had resigned from my job and had signed up to barbering school, then got an amazing opportunity to join Mancraft Barbers Rotorua after first semester , Now I’m winning Editorial Barber of the year 2023 , its been a wild ride and I can’t wait to see what the future brings. 

What would you consider is, the most important tool in your tool belt, and why?

Knowledge, Anyone can pick up a pair of clippers or scissors but knowing how to use them to achieve a desired look is a whole other story. I follow many inspiring barbers and I am always learning new techniques. 

Do you have a Hero brand of products that you prefer to use in salon?

Reuzel hands down , Mancraft Barbers introduced me to Reuzel and nothing else compares . Reuzel have a massive collection of all men’s hair & skin products, there’s something for everyone.

Can you pass on one thing, that you have learn’t from entering this competition? 

Go Hard, Don’t question yourself, Let your imagination run wild and have fun !





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