Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just Back from the Barber Shop

I am just back from a Barber Shop. Not 'Saloooooon' . Read Barber Shop. One of those places where Barbers (Not stylists) look at you with a glee in their eyes if you present yourself with an unruly mop of hair.  The look is akin to those that are found in the eyes of Sheep farmers who are about to shear the wool off their sheep.I was asked if I had come for ‘Hair Cutting ‘. A very precise description of what actually happens there at the barber shop. No further questions were asked or suggestions given. To hell with what the customer wants. We are here to cut hair.  And mind you, there is no dearth of customers waiting to have their haircut at this shop.

I have always had this strong belief in three businesses. Food of the retail variety, laundry and Barber Shops. I have never ever come across anybody not making money in either of these businesses unless they screwed it up from their end.  Among these three businesses, I find Barber shops the most promising. You can’t stop hair from growing can you? So a monthly haircut is a must for those who still have some hair left.

India currently has only two or three types or Barber Shops.  The first are the old local ones which have been around for two generations at the least. They still use the same old chairs and benches with duplicate after shave lotions and creams. The second variety would have air conditioning and better hygiene. The third one refers to the branded saloons such as Jawed Habib/Naturals etc which promise a better overall ambience as well in addition to personalized styling.

However, on the pricing front, there exists a huge gap between the second variety and third variety as described above. The second variety of shops roughly charge about Rs 60 to 100 bucks for a haircut whereas , the high end ones start at Rs 250 and may go up to Rs 500 or a thousand bucks. If some smart aleck could work out starting a chain of saloons which offer personalized styling at a reasonable price, I’m dead sure that it is going to be a HUGE success. Training the people makes all the difference. And that is going to be the key differentiator along with implementation.

It is my fervent wish to see a chain of Saloons who care more for our hair while its still there and charge a reasonable price for styling it.


  1. There is no ground on which I can disagree.

    it is huge money. Here in south Africa, while generally the Indian children opt for engineering and medicine as tertiary courses, others, white children in particular opt for beautician courses.

  2. I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this..
    straight-razor shaves