In The Shop: How 4 Businesses are Capitalizing on the Male Market

At the Bowtie Barber Club, customers aren't just "clients," they're members. At JMC Barber Shop in Elmhurst, IL, guests are invited to pick up a guitar or play on the organ while they hang out before (or after!) an appointment. These are just some of the ways that barber shops and male-centric salons and spas are drawing in--and keeping--clientele. Flip through the slideshow below to see how these businesses are going above and beyond the simple barber shop concept of the past.

  • men's salon Nashville
    The Bowtie Barber Club

    Location: Oxford, Ohio and Nashville

    Former MLB pitcher Keith Weiser knows some things about male camaraderie. One, he spent a lot of time between 2006 and 2012 on the Colorado Rockies baseball team and, two, he’s the grandson of one of Ohio’s top veteran barbers. This would explain why The Bowtie Barber Club is often described as “a cross between an old-time barbershop and a clubhouse.”

    Most of the regulars at Weiser’s flagship location in Nashville opt for the shop’s $10 monthly membership. Here, among the bowtie-sporting barbers, Club Members receive monthly discounts on haircuts and retail products, as well as free shoe shines. Each month, they’re invited into the 1,300-square-foot, speakeasy-like space for after-hours, XY- centric events such as Poker Night, and Beer, Bourbon and Cigar Night.

    Opened in April 2016, Weiser’s 1,800-square-foot, second location in his hometown of Oxford, Ohio, offers three separate rooms, one of which he and his father converted into a private, membership-exclusive lounge. The owner markets the membership to the many students attending nearby Miami University, and he hasn’t been short on takers. Members can come and go as they please, even if they’re not getting a haircut, and many students like to take advantage of The Bowtie Barber Club’s luxe leather chairs and free-flowing root beer.

    “I wanted to reclaim the quality of the custom barber experience as well as position my shop as a community nexus,” sums up Weiser. “Men want to feel like they’re part of something, rather than just coming into an uncomfortable place and getting a haircut.”

  • Los Angeles hair salon for men
    Daniel Alfonso Men's Salon

    Location: Los Angeles

    Paging fans of adventure: Step into Daniel Alfonso Men’s Salon, and you’ll be surrounded by 200-plus-year-old thrones, mirrors mounted to chains, bull’s horns and even some turquoise cowhides. “In catering to a man’s every grooming need we wanted to create a kingly atmosphere,” says Alfonso, whose space just happens to occupy the former West Hollywood penthouse building of royalty, namely piano and style virtuoso Liberace.

    Despite neighborhood barbershops’ recent surge in popularity, this salon proprietor feels that as a stylist, he can provide more than he could as a barber. “Here, you can get your hair cut by one of us, go to another one of us for color, and see yet another team member for a beard trim—all while we’re refilling your whiskey or coffee,” Alfonso points out.

    To scout out talented men’s stylists, Alfonso, who markets his own skills via YouTube (to the tune of 20 million views), scours Instagram and other social media. “I’m building an all-star team, so the people who work with me must already have considerable social media following,” he says. (Even much of the salon’s antique décor items were found via Pinterest.)

    Looking forward, Alfonso believes that the concept of the “metrosexual” has made way for simply the “well-groomed guy,” and that this shift signals a demand for a more comprehensive menu of men’s styling services. Ancient aesthetics, meet modern marketing!


  • music themed barber shop
    JMC Barber Shop

    Location: Elmhurst, IL

    Barber Jay Clarida covered the walls of his shop with guitars, CDs, records and music posters for a very specific reason. “When I opened JMC Barber Shop in 2006, the barber industry kinda had a bad rap for taking away your sideburns without asking, or just giving you a straight buzz,” he says. “I’ve been a rock musician for 25 years, and I figured that the guitar and music theme might help men to understand that I’m not here to butcher them.”

    The owner’s “thematic spectacle” started with one wall of the shop but has since encroached into the entire space, much to music-loving customers’ delight. But it isn’t only the décor the guys love. Clarida encourages customers to go ahead and play the guitar, drums and organ, tuned up and ready to go, that occupy his 1,000-square-foot floor space. “The theme, as well as the soundtrack we play, is mostly rock,” he notes, “but we try to represent every genre.”

    The four-man team at JMC Barber Shop prides itself on brushing up on what’s new in men’s styles, and on encouraging clients who want to try something different. “Most requested nowadays,” Clarida says, “would be undercut styles, shaved-in parts—for lack of a better term, hipster haircuts.”

  • spa for men
    Studio One Eleven Day Spa and Salon for Men

    Location: Wilmington, DE

    Proprietor of Delaware’s sole men’s salon and spa, Ginny Rodgers started her career in the unisex salons of Philadelphia. “Most men would go there because they had no other choice, but you could tell they didn’t like the smell of the women’s products, or the drama and chatter of the salon atmosphere,” she says.

    Rodgers took note, and when she moved to Wilmington and opened Studio One Eleven she made a point to offer the services men would love, stripped of any feminine vestiges. The space has a “masculine but soothing” feel, sporting neutral colors, stone textures and private quarters for shaving, waxing and nail care. The salon and spa also offers precision haircuts, coloring and highlighting services, massages, facials, ear candling and scalp treatments. Special perks for all grooming guests include a five-minute chair massage, and wine and cheese on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    The business even gives free, five-minute cleanups between haircuts. “We tell the customer to be here five minutes before the hour or 25 minutes past the hour, and we can squeeze them in between regularly scheduled clients,” Rodgers explains.

    But, in general, this owner tries to give her male customers a break from watching the clock. “We don’t compromise by rushing anything, ever,” she says. “Like women, men love to be pampered, to feel like they’re stepping back from life for a bit. And they’re extremely loyal—once they get comfortable with their therapist or stylist.”

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