From a third-generation hairdresser comes a cafe and barbershop dedicated to providing a complete sensory experience – General Order.
General Order is the creation of hairdresser, Paolo De Marco. Paolo spent six years working alongside his wife in the retail industry, and realised there was a growing demand for spaces that offer retail, art, coffee and services – such as hairdressing – in one location.
Paolo decided to create an all-in-one experience of his own, utilising his talent as a hairdresser and his experience in the retail industry. General Order, which opened in July 2016, marks Paolo’s return to Melbourne’s hairdressing scene.
The concept is simple, but effective. Essentially, Paolo doesn’t want customers to feel like numbers, but rather individuals who are getting a quality service and a bit of ‘me time’.
“We allocate a time for you and the reason we do this is because it’s that man’s time-out; it’s his time that he’s allocated to be well groomed and get a great haircut,” Paolo said.
One night over beer and pizza, Paolo and Nick Demkiw – Head Designer and founder of Autonomy – discussed the idea of merging a barbershop with a retail and cafe component.
Nick brought his retail concept from the Emporium store and partnered with Paolo to bring coffee and retail to General Order’s barbershop.
The result: General Order offers complimentary beer for barber customers as well as coffee by Melbourne specialty roasters, Industry Beans. Cold drip, single origin and coffee blends; as well as tea; hot chocolate and chai can all be enjoyed in store or taken away. The talented baristas can whip up nearly any beverage you desire on the crisp white La Marzocco that adorns the front counter.
While you enjoy your cup of Industry Beans, peruse the décor in which the old and new merge. The space is very white, giving it a fresh Scandinavian feel and is decorated with wooden accents – a old fashioned wooden counter greets you as you walk in and wooden shelves stocked with supplies run along one wall.
Light is plentiful, shining in through the large windows that open onto Richmond’s busy Swan Street. An artfully graffitied alleyway – painted by local artists – is also visible from the window seating. General Order’s design follows its founding principles: fresh and simple.
From the instant you enter General Order a complete sensory experience begins. While you enjoy the smell of freshly roasted specialty coffee, your eyes will be entertained by the minimalistic design and as you hear the soothing sounds of running water and milk being frothed on the machine. It is hard not to slip into a state of serenity.
Words by Ashleigh Whitehill | Cat lover. Tea enthusiast. Twitter