The story of Chris Tabone’s journey to Yours Truly Barbershop is quite a twisty tale.
“I started my professional career at Yellow Pages as a graphic designer. At that time, Yellow Pages had a policy of allowing their staff to take a year-long sabbatical, and they would guarantee your job on your return.
Told my boss that I had a new job!
“I spent my time off travelling the world and towards the end of my twelve months I saw a job ad for a Contiki tour guide. On a whim, I applied for the job and got it – so a few days before I was due to go back to Melbourne I told my boss that I had a new job!”
Chris loved his time as a tour guide, eventually creating his own tourism business called ‘Koda Sail’ offering sailing tours of Croatia, Turkey and Maldives. The business was so successful that he even appeared as a contestant on the TV show Shark Tank Australia!
“As a tour guide, I’d work for six months over the European summer, then spend six months in Melbourne during the Australian summer. When I was in Melbourne, I’d go to barbershops to get my beard trimmed, so on another whim I googled ‘barbering course’ and around 2015 I learnt how to become a barber.
“For a decade I didn’t see winter – summer in Europe touring, then summer in Melbourne barbering. It was a pretty amazing lifestyle!”
Come 2019, newly married and with a baby, Chris was inspired to make a change.
“It was tough having a business in the tourism industry during lockdowns. Plus with a wife and a young child, it wasn’t really feasible for us to keep moving every six months.
“So I started looking for other opportunities. Having worked in a few barbershops around Melbourne, I thought I could take the chance to open my own.
In 2021 the Footscray resident was buying a coffee at Counterweight Vinyl & Espresso when he saw the ‘For Lease’ sign at Yours Truly Barbershop. It felt like it was meant to be, and he took over the business.
“We were open for just four days in 2021 before we were closed for thirteen weeks due to restrictions. That was tough! But now that we’re fully open, I’ve enjoyed serving old and new customers.”
Chris has not made too many changes to Yours Truly Barbershop since taking it over, although he has brought in the basketball paraphernalia from his childhood home.
“My Barbershop now is like the bedroom that my teenage self would have dreamt of. I’m a huge basketball fan, so there a bit of sports stuff in here that’s actually mine from back in the 90’s. The space itself is real chill and has a comfortable vibe. The addition of the NBA Jam machine is probably my favourite as it’s a game I used to spend hours on back in high school. Our customers love getting in to their appointment early and giving it a bash.”
“I think that a barbershop can be the heartbeat of a village and I feel really privileged to have a job where I get paid to talk and to see clients in my own community.
“My vision for Yours Truly Barbershop is that it becomes a reason for people to come to Footscray.”