What do you do when you come to realise there isn’t enough focus on mens’ grooming care and products? Well, you can do what entrepreneurs Aaron Wallace, Lina Gadi and the rest of the team did; start your own. We invaded the Shear & Shine Barbershop and HQ in Croydon to speak to the squad.
Where did the initial idea for the barbershop come from?
The first thought actually came from running Start Young Global and from that I got a big understanding of customer service, how businesses are run and how they should run. Then I found that I was moving in a lot more professional environments and circles and when I’d go to any barbershop (other than mine), I was just always disappointed! I found that every barbershop I went to apart from my personal one was shoddy and the service wasn’t very good and I found it frustrating. Then I thought why is it that so many of our barbershops look like they don’t care about what’s happening and the same thing can be said for some of our food shops etc. I thought that there would be a gap here for a really professionally run barbershop which is on the same level as the European salons, that was the thought process when I first got into it.
How has the reception for the barbershop been?
It’s been really good! I found that the reception for the barbershop was so much higher than when I was doing Start Young, even though I was doing just as much work and achievements with Start Young. But when you’ve got a physical shop, people take a lot more notice as opposed to just an online business. I found that from opening the shop it raised everything and people took much more notice of what I was actually doing. All of the clients that we have cut so far have been happy and we have really built a strong reputation in Croydon, so a lot of people know about us now, through online and coming to the shop. In a short space of time we have gained a good establishment.
What do you think you’re doing to build on customer service?
I think that customer service is the number one thing! At the end of the day, they are your bread and butter, they are the ones coming and to be honest they don’t actually have to. They could go to another shop and most barbershops have similar prices. You have to think what is making me different to everyone else. So for me customer service is very high and we try to hit that target as much as we can. We are still a start-up and are still new, so there are things that we can’t physically do just yet but we try to make it a comfortable experience for the customers, as much as we can and I often change the music depending on the type of customer that I have got in the shop. For instance, we have got the Xbox, they can make a cup of tea. We are trying our best to put customer service at our forefront and integrate it into the product side of things as well.
How did the idea come about for the products?
The products were all part of my whole thinking, when I thought of the barbershop it was not just solely that, it was the barbershop plus this and that, it was a whole experience. But what I did feel like when I was cutting people’s hair is that a lot them were suffering from similar things such as dry scalp and our hair problems are different to what European people face. Therefore, I wanted to tackle our issues and when people were asking me for advice and stuff like that and where they could go, it was hard for me to point them in the direction of any particular product. I thought why is it that there’s not really much out there for us? I also found that when I personally was looking for something for my hair, and I‘m walking trough the Tesco aisles, I’m not seeing anything with my face on it or anything that is targeted at me. And I’m looking at these boxes thinking is this going to work on my type of hair and am I going to get the right effect and I thought that it’s important that we are represented in these areas as well and that we have our face on these kind of things as well. For a European guy if he walks down the aisle and sees a product that has a black face on it, the first thing he is going to say is, is this going to work on my hair? We do ask these questions but not as much and why is that?
Tell us about the men’s range?
Our biggest seller at the moment are the beard oils, they help to clear out the pores on the face, which allow the hairs to come through and enables you to grow a fuller beard and keeps it glossy and soft. Then we have got a shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, which is actually my favourite! We’ve got aftershaves, we have 5 different scents, we have the body oils and we have 3 different scents for those too. We have the fixing spray as well, that is for hair styling. E.g. if you style your hair in a certain way, if you have waves for example and you want to keep the waves, or if you just got your hair cut and want to keep it fresh for a little longer, then the holding spray holds the hair in place. We also recently got the gift box sets because I found that we had a lot of women that were interested as well, and not just women but a lot of people just wanting to buy gifts for someone else, so we introduced the sets.