Brad Pitt, Tom Hardy, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and George Clooney have at least two things in common. First, they all are famous actors, second they all changed their image to adjust it to the current trends… and all have beards.
Undeniably, it seems that beards are experiencing a renaissance, and this has also modified men’s thinking about keeping up their appearance. Recently, next to my office I saw a mobile barbershop where a line of men were waiting for their turn to have the haircut during their work break. So, I started to wonder: is it a good time to open a barber shop?
As with every trend, this one also may pass someday, but, now, we see a great comeback of a previously great tradition — back to a time where men preferred to go to barber shops instead of patronizing unisex salons. Will barbershops survive this time?
A bit of history
The 1880s to the 1940s were the golden age for barbershops. During that time, visiting a barbershop was a weekly, and in some cases even a daily habit for many men. They had their own hangouts, where they could meet with their buddies and discuss current issues, and at the time barbershops even competed salons for popularity.
But time were changing and Gillette began to produce and popularize the safety razor. Their advertising agencies suggested that Gillette razors were more economical and convenient than visiting the barbershop. Moreover, then in the 1960s the hippie culture spread around the world, and men’s hairstyles began to change. Men started to grow their hair longer and shaggier, and their visits to barbers became either rare or non-existent. Men who needed to have the haircut chose either using electric shavers at home, or went to the unisex salons, and the popularity of barber shops radically decreased.
But this was all in the past. The last couple of years have shown us that with the age of social media, selfies and the hipster culture we have begun to care more about our appearance and this trend has also involved men. We are being judged by how we look, how we dress, and how we carry ourselves — and, if we’re lucky, how we do our job.
Studies show that a person is more likely to get hired if he/she looks well-groomed. Good-looking people make about 12% more money than less appealing coworkers. On Instagram, pictures with human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes and 32 percent more likely to attract comments than photos with no faces.
On the other hand, some scientists say that behind the current beard trend probably lies a fear about masculinity, which might be threatened by changing gender, sexual and emotional roles, and the pressures of modern life — this might also be the reason why barbershops are more trendy now. Men associate barbershops with times when their grandfathers and fathers lived in the men’s world and want to come back to this tradition.
Answer to the needs
Opening a new barbershop obviously has its pros and cons. In the picture below you can see how the features which I have written down relate to each other. The chart is clearly leaning towards the Strengths/Opportunities quadrant — it means that a barbershop as a venture can have a lot of strengths, which are connected with existing opportunities. Actually, it is the best possible scenario for a new business, but would it be a wise investment? Let’s take a look.
From the analysis I found out that there are at least four major strengths that are important and necessary to achieve success as an owner of a barbershop:
- The business is targeted only towards men and can be adapted to the men’s needs - this fulfils the need of creating a place where men won’t feel dominated by women and could spend some time in a male-friendly environment.
- Location. There are no other barber shops in the neighborhood, and a lot of people live or work nearby - this factor will increase the possibility of attracting new customers and building a recognizable brand, thanks to many word of mouth references.
- Professional and customer-centric approach to the client - this factor is an absolute must-have, no matter how luxurious your interior design is or how attractive your prices are, without a friendly staff and personal relationships with customers you can not build a loyal customer base.
- Highly skilled staff — men need to leave from the barber shop with a good haircut. An experienced and licensed barber who is trained to cut with clippers, the main tool used in cutting a man’s hair, should outshine the cosmetologists who work at unisex salons and are trained to use scissors and mainly concentrate on women’s hairstyles.
On the other hand, there are still some significant weaknesses that should be considered and addressed — below I name two of them:
- Income depends on the amount of customers and number of barbers working in the shop - if you don’t have your own license, you need to hire a licensed barber. The number of clients and barbers need to be high enough to cover your investments, expenses and still make a profit.
- Higher prices compared to the regular salons - the upside of this weakness depends on the customer base that you will attract. If a lot of single men with a high income live in the neighborhood, the cost might not be the key factor and the quality of your services will be considered worth its price.
We live in times where attractiveness and our appearance might be decisive concerning the job that we get or the amount of our salary. Undeniably, there are still promising opportunities for entire beauty market and barber shops as well. Moreover, as consumers we are always looking for new and better services, and if they meet our expectations, we are ready to refer them to our friends, family or even widely spread our opinions through social media.
In fact, I believe that barber shops probably will stay trendy for a while, especially when we consider the growing number of people that are concerned about their body shape and appearance. But no trend lasts forever, so now is time to build loyal customer base that will stay with us and use our barber services even if the trend changes, and entirely clean-shaven men’s faces will return to the scene.
Aso, I can give a guarantee you that professional customer care and the satisfaction of your clients can minimize the threat of any competition that might arise or the necessity to raise the prices in any business.
The SWOT analysis that was described in the article is now available as an example in the CayenneApps SWOT Library.
If your are interested in barbershops or any other business idea, please, check out our video below and feel free to make the SWOT yours.