Better BusinessJuly 1, 2007 By: American Salon Staff American Salon
Guys and Dolls
Men and women receive equal treatment at San Francisco's new Barber Lounge salon and spa.
South of Downtown in San Francisco's burgeoning SoMa neighborhood, a hip, new salon and spa called the Barber Lounge is attracting a loyal following of men and women with its stylish décor and services that cater to both sexes.
The waiting area was designed to look like a living room. "I wanted it to feel like you're coming to someone's apartment to get your hair done," says owner Greg Griffin.
"In my experience in the industry, I've noticed that women want their husbands and boyfriends to get nice haircuts, but men don't necessarily want to pay stylist prices," says the Barber Lounge's owner Greg Griffin, "so I decided to put a barbershop within a salon and spa so that men and women would feel comfortable coming here together."
In the Barber Lounge's retro barbershop area, guys are treated to straight-edge shaves and dry cuts in vintage chairs from the 1950s.
The Barber Lounge opened in January, offering a Dry Cut, Hot Towel Shave and other men's grooming services in a vintage-looking barbershop area with chairs from the 1950s and a checkerboard-patterned floor. In addition, the salon offers stylist cuts, haircolor, manicures and pedicures, makeup application and spa treatments.
The "Wall of Hair Icons" highlights celebrities and historical personalities whose haircuts have influenced style trends
The 5,000-square-foot space, which features skylights and steel casement windows, was designed by John Lum Architecture to feel like a loft apartment, with eclectic "found" furnishings and spa treatment rooms that resemble bedrooms, each painted with a different color scheme. A selection of paintings and photographs, which Griffin plans to rotate every four to six months, includes images of "hair icons"—celebrities and political personalities past and present whose haircuts have influenced style trends. For the retail area, Griffin chose to offer product lines that would appeal to both sexes, such as Goldwell, Davines, Sharps and the Barber Lounge's signature skincare line, Barber Botanicals.
The styling area features custom-designed freestanding walnut furniture.
"I definitely veered toward the masculine side with the décor, name and Web site," says Griffin, "though I still wanted it to have a unisex appeal. I feel like most salons and spas cater to the female demographic, but since I already have many female clients, I wanted to go after more male clientele."
The check-in desk is backed by a window looking into the styling area that allows natural light through and enables stylists to see when their clients come in.
Griffin trained at the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis and has worked at a number of salons in San Francisco. Prior to opening his own business, he spent several years cutting hair out of his loft apartment because he couldn't find a salon he was interested in working for. So far, he's thrilled with the response to the Barber Lounge.
The pedicure area.
"A lot of guys have come in for their first manicure, pedicure or facial," he says, "and I think women get a kick out of the barbershop vibe." —LOTUS ABRAMS
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