The Grand Royal Story
Steve began and completed his apprenticeship in women and men’s hairstyling at the very successful Stuut’s of Sydney salons back in 1985. He worked under Norman Ironside and Sharron Blain two very switched on characters and champions of styling. Steve learnt the fundamentals of running a great business hair wise and training.
After leaving Stuut’s he joined his father, a fourth generation barber for a stint in men’s barbering. This is where he honed his skills from a man that was a true perfectionist. Leaning the finer art of the face shave, beard designs and the more traditional aspects of cutting and razoring.
Leaving Australia for England in 1990 he found himself working in Fulham in a traditional barbershop where he met Dino and Joe a Greek and an Italian, two best gambling mates. These two characters helped him understand what the vibe of a local barbershop was all about. Banter is what makes it tick and the barbershop is where it all happens.
On returning to Sydney in 1994 Steve hooked up with his father again and purchased the barbershop he had at the time in the Hilton. Steve then ran the salon for the next couple of years taking various cutting courses to stay on top of the game.
Then in 1999 it was time to launch Grand Royal Barbers a dream he had for the previous ten years. The first salon was opened in the Hilton, Steve’s old haunt. It didn’t take long before the salon was the talk of the town and with this success decided to go into partnership with Maria and open the Darlinghurst salon three years later. Maria then made the Darlinghurst salon hers, and in turn, it has become the funkiest barbershop in town.
Steve has always believed in education and feels that this has been the catalyst of his success. So when a position for an American Crew educator came up, Steve knew that this was for him. He educated for Crew for over five years and loves the fact that, with over twenty five years of experience he is still learning and passing on his skills to his staff and the next generation.
In 2010 Steve and Maria opened their third salon at Taylor Square, and relocated it to Surry Hills in 2013 which has been a huge success and just in time for the return of the beard.
“I’m very proud of the experienced staff in our team and the three great destinations we have created. We have a band of juniors coming through who are being trained by some of the best barbers in the industry, which in turn will mean a healthy crop of new barbers to keep our craft alive.”
Maria completed her apprenticeship in 1985, in both men’s and women hairstyling and decided there and then that men’s hairstyling was the direction she wanted to pursue. It was the 80’s and punk was dying and the new romantic look was hitting Scotland big time. With plenty of male friends up for a freebee Maria had a ball experimenting with some weird and wonderful creations. Leaving Scotland in 1988 Maria spent a year in Miami than a couple of years in the Channel Islands before returning to the UK to take up residency in London.
In London Maria worked in a barber shop not far from the Tower of London, she mastered the art of beard shaping under an old Polish man named Frank. Word grew of Frank and Maria’s beard shaping skills and before long every Beefeater from the Tower of London became their regulars.
After six months Maria was appointed manager and soon transformed the shop into a thriving business, with great staff and an excellent music collection. Then within a year, following the same format another barber shop was opened in St Paul’s and another in Spittlefields market. During the next five years Maria was under the watchful eye of her boss Mike Harris, whom she considers her mentor, Mike gave Maria the confidence to go and run her own business, Mike is still involved in the Whacky barber’s chain in London.
Arriving in Sydney in 1997 after a few demoralizing days in $5 chop shops, Maria started working alongside Steve and his father; there she discovered they all shared the same passion for men’s hair styling and a high standard of work. After a trip back to the UK and a long visa wait Steve and Maria decided to form a partnership and opened the Darlinghurst the salon on top of the already successful City salon.
Maria loves the fact that Grand Royal in Darlinghurst has established itself as the barbershop of choice to many of the local men, where she and her staff have built some long lasting friendships with their clients over the last decade. So when one of her regular clients offered her to take over their lease at a busy corner shop Maria jumped at the chance to create another local barbershop in Surry Hills.
Maria believes education is the way forward and still takes regular cutting and business courses. With hairstyles continuously evolving and revolving she’s finding some of her early creations back in fashion.