Some might call Russell Manley the pioneer of the retro-modern barbershop movement. A British transplant and long-time barber, Manley opened his first New York shop on the Lower East in 2008, originally named Tommy Guns. Years later, the uber-trendy location expanded to a second shop in Williamsburg.
Following the closing of his LES location, the Brooklyn location became Manley’s main hub. Manly rebranded the salon and debuted a new name: Ludlow Blunt. Located on 85 N 3rd Street in Brooklyn, NY, Ludlow Blunt offers the atmosphere of a true traditional barbershop. "Our interior has authentic 1885 Cuban mahogany pharmacy cabinets and original 1930's barber chairs," Manley says. "Every detail—from the fans to the light switches and cash register—is all original."
Even though Manley credits some of the shop's popularity to its authentic barbershop feel, it's not only a a place for men. "The atmosphere is that of a high-end barbershop, but our staff is comprised of all senior stylists and trained hairdressers," Manley says. "In fact, 50 percent of our clients are women. We offer everything a woman could get at a regular salon, but we cater to guys for shaves and cuts, too."
On top of an extensive list of unisex offerings including everything from a hot towel shave to a double-process color, Manly and his staff aim to make the client's experience special from beginning to end. "We have an eclectic playlist of music, and we offer beer, bourbon and a list of herbal teas as well." After making the guest feel at home inside Ludlow Blunt, a memorable haircut is just icing on the cake.
Manly's secret to thriving and surviving in a competitive city like New York? Treating his staff well. "The biggest thing I've learned from owning and operating a salon in New York is to always reward my staff for hard work and loyalty," Manly says. "Your staff is your key to a successful salon and it's longevity."