It takes thought, skill and investment to design a barbershop interior that truly stands out from the crowd. Mike Taylor, whose shop Bonds Broadstone was the winner of Best Interior at the Modern Barber Awards 2020, shares his top tips on creating an award-winning barbershop. If you’d like to enter the Best Interior category, sponsored by Takara Belmont, click here!
1. Don’t ever scrimp on barber chairs
It’s like when you’re buying shoes and beds – don’t go for the cheapest! A well-designed barber chair helps keep both your and your clients’ posture correct. And of course, they look amazing too. Sure there’s a lot of cheaper alternatives out there, but you really want to invest in a good, established brand. Personally I design my barbershops around the barber chair I’m going for. It’s quite often my starting point for designing a shop. I think your barber chairs should be the most expensive part of your salon design. Some colours and fabrics have a 16-20 weeks lead time, so if you’re renovating or refurbishing remember to build that into a schedule. The comments I get from clients (“I wanted to come into the barbershop as I wanted to sit in your chair!”) make the investment worth every penny.
2. Bring some personality to your design
Make sure your shop has a bit of your personality in it. Put stuff into your shop that have a story behind them. I’ve got pictures of sporting events that mean a lot to me, bands that I’ve been to see, a copy of The Sun newspaper from when John Lennon has died and a portrait of Winston Churchill painted by great uncle. They’ve all become talking point with clients. If you’re entering awards, judges are looking for stories and the feel of the shop to be brought to life in your entry – so don’t forget to include the little bits of personality that make the barbershop unique.
3. Source unique furniture
In my Bournemouth shop I have a Scooby Doo piano that people think is a bit mad, in our Broadstone store we’ve got a haberdashery unit and we’ve also got 1970s cinema seats. I’m really excited about a life-sized R2D2 model thats going to go in the Broadstone shop when we reopen– I can see people wanting a photo with it. I source stuff from eBay, antiques shops, Facebook… I’m always on the lookout. I think a lot of men are nostalgic creatures. We post pictures of our weird and wonderful items on social media and it always creates such a buzz.
4. Make sure your shop is up to date
Although it’s not strictly about design I think it’s so important to the client experience that your shop is in touch with the latest innovations and trends. Are you doing cashless payments, are you offering Broadband, when you can offer drinks are you serving the local coffee that everyone is raving about? We even have little touches like personalised mints, aftershave and we sell t-shirts and caps of the brand which all helps to create something that clients can buy into. It’s about being more than a barbershop.
5. It’s all about ambience
The barbershop playlist is honestly one of my favourite things about my job! We don’t just play the radio, we curate playlists or we play records in the store. I’m so excited to get back to playing music with my barbers. Consider what you’re playing though – I don’t include songs with swearing in them as you don’t know who’s going to be offended and I know my clients don’t like music that’s too pop so we avoid that!