Before Groom for Men, Theri DeJoode was doing makeup and show coordination for Robert Cromeans, Jeanne Braa and Robert Steinfort of Paul Mitchell Associates. It was around that time when she first heard the name David Raccuglia. Word on the street was that Raccuglia was launching a male-specific brand of hair products out of Evanston, IL—today it’s known as American Crew. Though the concept piqued her interest, at the time, DeJoode could focus on little else but her desire to attend Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, CA.
“That’s where I formally met David, though I had many conversations with him before I even knew who he was,” she says. After graduation, she says she wanted to go to Evanston and work at Raccuglia’s salon, Art + Science. “There, I worked hard on being a stylist and became the education director while waiting for American Crew to be born.” When the brand came to fruition, DeJoode worked as an educator before becoming the technical director alongside Raccuglia.
After seven years at Art + Science, DeJoode packed up and moved to Milwaukee, where her husband owned a women’s salon. “American Crew had prepared me for catering to the male market, so I decided to open a male-specific salon in the area,” she says. The original Groom for Men opened its doors in 1999; almost 20 years later, it has two full-service locations.
Contrary to the typical barbershop, the staff at Groom for Men is almost entirely female (which DeJoode calls “barbettes”), though it wasn’t that way by design. “It just kind of happened,” she says, “but we aim to hire people that are interested and interesting. The quality of a haircut doesn’t have anything to do with gender.”
Groom follows a simple motto: Old-school detailing in a new-school salon. “Old-school detailing refers to the dapper and well-groomed men from our history,” DeJoode says. “New-school salon refers to our fluidity for change, our attention to how a trend settles into modern lifestyle, and our atmosphere.” The barbettes, plus a male barber, offer haircutting services for all lengths, in addition to straight-razor shaves, facials, manicures, full-body waxing and scalp massages. The service is just one reason clients keep coming back. “They return for the easy-going atmosphere, the awesome vibe and the beer, too,” she adds.