TRUCK drivers are not normally known for their hairstyling skills, but Tamworth’s Ben McLeod has turned that idea on its ear.
Mr McLeod has opened up Straight Lines in the Winners’ Walkway Arcade off Brisbane St, after driving trucks for 12 years.
Prior to life as a truck driver, Mr McLeod completed his hairdressing apprenticeship at the same salon from 1992 to 1997.
He then moved to Sydney and worked as a hairdresser, returned to Tamworth and worked at Colour By Numbers.
His father-in-law then told him of the money that could be made in truck driving, so he did a career u-turn and started driving for Carey’s Freightlines. “I didn’t tell many people I was a hairdresser,” he said.
“I kept it to myself, although my friends knew. Gavin Sutton used to call me ‘Benny the Barber’ and I kept cutting hair on weekends.”
While driving trucks he also worked as a labourer in Queensland and a landscape gardener, before returning to Tamworth and getting back into hairdressing after his cousin told him of a salon for sale.
“My wife kept saying I should consider it,” Mr McLeod said.
“Then this salon came up for lease and I thought it was ironic that it was where I did my apprenticeship and so I opened Straight Lines.”
Straight Lines is somewhat of a reference to the many kilometres that Mr McLeod
travelled as a truckie, but also because he didn’t want to make the salon too “girlie”.
“I wanted to be a bit more me,” he said.
“I love hairdressing for the beauty of being able to open my own business.
“It’s just the freedom and creativity and working with people. I spent too long sitting in a white box talking to myself.”