Barbershop Types and Tunes

June 29, 2011

Well my first big news is that I have a job in a barbershop! I'm so, so happy about this. It's a really great shop (actually shops plural, as they have a couple of branches), the barbers are really nice and the owners are cool. I'll be going between two branches, one which is a bit more "salon" feeling with black granite surfaces and chrome finishings, and the other is very traditional with green shop front with gold lettering, and cream interior with wooden furnishing, leather chairs and bits and pieces all about the place. I'll be doing most of my cutting in the second place and doing my shaves in the first.
As I was working away in the traditional branch the other day, grooving to some music by The Doors that the owner had put on, it struck me that most barbershops tend to fall into one of four categories:

 - The Sports Barbers: sports magazines in the rack, big plasma screens with the sports channels on (or at the very least a radio tuned into the game), flags and jerseys and probably the odd autograph on the wall, everyone chatting about which team is better and who won what.
- The Chop Shop: these are the barbering equivalent of a McDonalds. Over here at least, they generally have blue lighting in the window (and often inside too... though how you can cut well under neon blue strip lighting is beyond me). They are in-and-out as fast as you can and rock bottom prices to reflect this. These barbers will cut up to 40+ heads of hair a day. You don't go in there for conversation and a bit of relaxation time. It's a wham,bam,thank-you-m'am job that won't cost you more than a few euro.
- The Gent's Salon: essentially the same a ladies' salon these types often will also have a beautician in the back doing gent's waxing etc. While not as expensive as a ladies' salon these are the higher end of the price range in gent's grooming. While some of them do have the lovely traditional interior, others will have a uber-modern funky d├ęcor. So I guess this type has two subcatatories: 
      A.) The High End Gentleman's Grooming Room, with interiors that drip class, luxtury and the finer things in life. Private rooms for shaving services. Staff in immaculate uniforms. and 
    B.) The Funky, Trendy Men's Hair Design Salon. Both will specialise in more creative cuts and techniques and will generally offer advanced colouring services also. The interior will be chrome or plastic. Brightly coloured or stylishly designed. Modern chart music will be playing and plasma screens showing music videos are on the walls. 
B. is more likely to play up it's modern trend-setting cuts while A. will probably market itself as a bespoke service and will have elaborate hot towel shaving services also.
 - The Traditional Barbers: Often with wooden furnishings, to me at least, these barbershops feel comfortable the minute you step inside of them. The barbers are efficient but you never feel rushed and having a sit and a chat with other customers while you wait is the norm. Music-wise anything from 50's swing to rock 'n' roll to classic rock is common. While a radio might be playing there is unlikely to be any tvs. Often the walls will have shaving memorabilia and other curios on display, each with a bit of history behind it. Some of these shops also go in for a more rockabilly style neo-1950's feeling but I still put them into this category.

Each has it's pro's and cons and there is a market for each, and a plethora of shops that combine elements of each of the above. Personally though I'm incredibly happy to be in a traditional shop, run by fourth generation barbers. It makes me smile being in there so to get you all in the mood here's a tune I was dancing along to with the broom just the other day, from the fab Kitty, Daisy and Lewis!:
- BE


Bit2 said...



Barber Eile's Blog said...

Thanks :D I'm super happy about it.

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