We asked men's grooming specialist Daniel Alfonso and barber Kenny Duncan to define the concept of service for us. They could learn a lot from each other.
Traditionally, barbers and stylists didn’t have a lot in common. Barbers were not only reluctant to use a blow dryer but also weren't all that interested in doing hair color. But Julius Caesar, a barber with an impressive following on Instagram (@juliuscaesar) is convinced that there's a "strong magnetic pull between the barbershop and the salon these days." As the newest member of the Wahl Education, Caesar has met barbers who are diving into the salon-strong aesthetics of hair and stylists who are attending barbering courses. Even he admits that he's become interested in learning how to do hair color himself.
Daniel Alfonso, a licensed cosmetologist and owner of Daniel Alfonso Men’s Salon in Los Angeles, is bridging this gap between traditional barbering and men’s styling by offering services like hair color, smoothing treatments and chemical relaxers along with shaves, beard trims and haircuts: His motto: Make a man feel like a king after he leaves the salon. That can mean offering complimentary whiskeys and alcoholic beverages or a hair straightening service for men with very curly hair. Alfonso finds that a lot of men who have tight curls have trouble styling their hair. This service makes it easier for them. For Alfonso, service is all about catering to your clientele’s interests. Case in point: Clients at his salon get a shampoo before and after a cut. “It’s all about pampering,” he says.
Décor also has a part to play in the overall experience. Alfonso found a furniture maker who crafts limited-edition barber chairs. “Finding five chairs this unique is like finding five old-school Mustangs,” he says. Each chair has a very masculine and regal look—all feeding into the salon’s motto of making a man feel like a king. It’s one thing to have great décor and a killer location, but marketing is essential to the success of any men’s salon or barbershop. Alfonso offers this advice for anyone who wants to tap into the burgeoning men's market:
- Have a clientele in place before opening
- Market your services through social media or special promotions
- Create a one-stop shop
- Stock sulfate-free or organic shampoos that don’t damage thinning hair—something most men want to avoid
For Kenny Duncan, an educator for Andis and owner of Mane Attraction Unisex Salon in Philadelphia, service starts with giving back to the community. “I wanted to be a mentor to other barbers nationally,” he says. His mission: to be that favorite uncle who encourages, pushes and supports those in the barbering field. He’s done just that the last 11 years as an educator for Andis. In fact, Duncan claims the company has played a key role in helping him to develop those kinds of relationships. Recently, he was named Educator of the Year at #barbercon, a barbering convention held in New York City this March. Duncan was elated to be chosen as educator of the year out of a pool of barbers from all over the world. He’s certainly paid his dues. He was the main barber on the set of the movie Creed and now travels around the world as an on-set barber for musical tours. He recently returned from the Adele tour in London. “You have to be prepared before you have an opportunity,” he says. “Andis gave me the preparation for all my other opportunities.”
All accolades aside, Duncan is most proud of his community service work, which includes partnering with the Department of Education on a literacy project. Duncan would like to see more barbers participate in the program by offering families free haircuts for kids who read 10 books. “We want to encourage the whole family to read together,” he says. Duncan is also working with local libraries in his hometown to supply books for the program. So far he's found that more often than not, barbers are motivated to give back. Duncan encourages barbers to do more than simply cut hair. He encourages them to be a positive influence in their communities. Not bad advice to follow.
Profit & Loss
Recent market reports show that the hair loss and replacement industry generates annual revenue of about $3 billion. Service your clientele by stocking products that address the issue.
1. The Men’s Vitality Supplement by Bosley Professional Strength helps improve blood circulation to the scalp while also helping to lower DHT levels, one of the molecules associated with male-pattern baldness. Salon owners who want to stock these vitamins can visit bosleypro.com to see a list of distributors.
2. Made from the same proteins found in real hair, X Fusion Keratin Hair Fibers help to create the appearance of naturally fuller, thicker hair by interlocking with existing hair.
3. Bosley Professional Strength Bos Renew Dry Hair Shampoo includes DHT inhibitors that help maintain healthy hair and scalp while keeping product buildup from damaging thinning hair.