Founded by Tony-nominated actress Brenda Braxton and her personal trainer/martial artist husband, the salon/spa offers “world-class service and a relaxing atmosphere at an acceptable price.” The salon has a full-time loctician on staff in order to serve the needs of their local clientele. Increasingly, formerly unisex salons (forget that word!) are getting men in the door in droves by relying on personality, individuality and community.
Explains Shannon Lamm, owner of Atomic in Raleigh, North Carolina, “My clients are 50-percent male because we’re more about having fun than a business plan to make money. Clients know they can get something that’s one-of-a-kind in our salon, where the stations reflect the stylists’ personalities. When everything looks the same, you get what everyone else has—even businessmen don’t like cold, formal salons anymore.”
Another salon stressing local-think is the new Robert Jeffrey location in Chicago. The salon aims to be welcoming to everyone with minimal decor and outdoor garden for relaxing—Chicago’s first for a hair salon. But what’s truly different is its sense of community. Once a month, the salon invites local aldermen and other neighborhood group leaders to speak to both the staff and the clients. Explains co-owner Charlie Bonanno, “We’re partnering with everyone around us to create a sense of community. The men’s spa across the street is part of our custom care package—guys get a cut and color here, and go over there for spa services. Today, men want to relax after work and feel part of something; they also expect more.”
Bonanno says that in a change from a decade ago, men are referring other men to salons—they like to hear about where to get a hair cut from other guys because they tell each other exactly how it is. Jessica Hammel, president of the Reading, Pennsylvania-based American Male chain says the best way for salons to steal men from the barbershop is to offer more than cuts.
“Men want more today and as a result, our skin care services are growing tremendously,” says Hammel. “Another selling point for salons is that barbers outside major cities don’t keep up with the latest looks.”
Core Cuts and Beyond
Hairdressers who have a strong male clientele agree that longer looks are back; how long depends on the client’s age. What’s always true: The shorter the cut, the more exacting the lines must be.
“There’s no room for error on short cuts; men are very particular,” notes Bonanno.
On the other hand, says Logan, there are no seasonal trends to deal with. “The nice thing about the men’s business is that at the core are simple cuts and stable styles,” he says.