When Jack Fahey left Bundaberg to pursue an international freestyle BMX career, the last thing he expected was to return as owner of Slicks Barbershop.
Countless hours on his bike at the Bundaberg and Bargara skate parks as a youngster led to Jack showcasing his skills in front of thousands of fans in Europe and establishing himself as a star of the sport in the USA – everything he had dreamed of.
But another of Jack’s long held dreams will come to fruition tomorrow when he and his wife Breanna open Slicks Barbershop on Targo Street, creating another chapter in a life as colourful as Jack’s many tattoos.
Jack, who has worked as a barber for the past three years, said the seeds for the barbershop were sown when he met his barber wife Breanna in California.
“I wasn’t a barber before I met Breanna but I had thought about doing it,” he said.
“But in my previous job overseas (BMX), I could only make money doing that, so I wasn't able to go to school to get the qualifications to become a barber.”
After the couple married and Jack gained his barber qualifications, the pair worked together in a barbershop, but Breanna said they soon realised the opportunity was there to own their shop and realise a shared goal.
“I've been in the industry for about 10 years now and it's always been a dream to own my own shop,” Breanna said.
“It's a bit hard over there in California. And then when we got married and he became a barber as well, it was the perfect opportunity. So, we figured, why not?”
Jack said the inspiration for the shop’s name was inadvertently provided by their now two-year-old son Bentley.
“Ever since he was a newborn baby, he would love, when he was in the bath or the shower, to have his hair slicked back,” Jack said.
“So, we started calling him ‘Slicky’ or ‘Slicks’ and, when we were thinking up a shop name we were like ‘Oh man, what can we do?’ and then we were like ‘Slicks, yeah, it’s perfect!’
“It’s funny because he has a mullet, so that’s why were gave the logo a mullet and face tattoos like me. It’s kind of a cross between me and him, so it’s pretty cool.”
Jack said he and Breanna wanted the shop to be different to other barbershops, with a range of games on hand, including a soon to be installed pool table, creating a place where customers could relax.
“We just wanted to build a shop, something unlike any other shop around, something where people can come in and not only enjoy and get a great haircut or shave, but also enjoy the whole experience,” he said.
“Every service comes with a complementary drink – a beer, spirits, soda or water, we’ve got coffee. By the time they leave that they've just had a good time here.”
Jack said returning to Bundaberg to live had never been in his plans but now that he was readjusting to the quieter pace, he was enjoying his hometown return.
“I like it here a lot, but it's a little slow paced for me. But the few times that we came and visited Breanna loved it so much and she wanted to live here,” he said.
“I'm used to this whole crazy lifestyle where there’s people screaming at you and I'm getting crazy on my bike.
“When I come in the barbershop, it's a different pace and it's nice just to relax and hang out and chat to people and not be doing something that's so scary every single day.”
Bundaberg is a long way from her Californian hometown when measured in physical distance, but not such a great remove in size and vibe.
“I love the small town, the slower paced, quieter feel,” she said. “And I feel like it's a really good place to like have a family and to raise kids.
“I’m used to being in a smaller town in California and it’s a beach town, so I’m used to the slow pace and that’s just my thing – I’m not a big city person, so I love it.”
Jack, who has regularly dedicated time to conducting demonstrations and coaching for young Bundaberg Region riders when returning home said he intended to dedicate more time to the community that has supported him during his career.
“All my time lately has been put into building this shop and making it perfect but the second I get a chance I’m going to get back into doing some more community things,” he said.
“And not only with BMX, I've got a lot of plans to do community things with the barbershop so that’s something cool to look forward to.”
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