In March Guys Grooming celebrated 12 years of providing a unique grooming experience for the men of Perth.
In celebration of this milestone, Barbershop Magazine spoke to Nathan and Rebecca Ahern about how the concept of Guys Grooming came about.
How do you get the inspiration to open a Male Grooming business? You spend 5 years driving a Contiki coach through Europe!
This was the perfect environment for Nathan Ahern (a guy who had no professional grooming qualifications as either a Barber or Beauty therapist) to gain the confidence that his full-service male Grooming business idea called “Guys Grooming” would fly. Nathan had seen firsthand the impacts of male grooming styles and trends across Europe and soon realized that this was missing from his home town of Perth, Western Australia.
After returning to Perth in late 2004, spending a year preparing the business plan, researching the market and falling in love with a beautiful “Hairdresser” called Rebecca they were ready to open “Guys Grooming”.
The opening of the business was stalled from Oct 2007 to March 2008 due to a greedy Barber within the same complex flashing a lease that gave him exclusivity. Apparently his $20 haircut clients were all going to jump ship and pay Guys Grooming’s $55!!!! All was sensibly resolved, and Guys Grooming opened on 27 March 2008.
The premises were 138m² and comprised 5 cutting stations and 4 treatment rooms all built around a central chill out area that had a bar and flat screen TV.
Clients came from all professionals, with different needs, to experience the premium services offered by Guys Grooming that covered hair, body and face. Within 18 months they had out grown this space and this can be attributed to some of the quirky marketing campaigns such as ”Ranga’s do get lucky” where red heads received a $25 discount. Not that Guys Grooming had a huge influx of red headed clients but the political incorrectness of the slogan created plenty of publicity.
Within 18 months they had out grown this space and this can be attributed to some of the quirky marketing campaigns such as ”Ranga’s do get lucky” where red heads received a $25 discount.
This move heralded the start of 7 day a week trading and new campaigns like “Clear the Forrest it makes the tree look huge” and “You’re ugly”. This tongue in cheek humour and brashness appealed to the market and Guys Grooming continued to grow reaching a full-time staff of 25.
With the increase of clients and continued development of styles and ideas Guys Grooming launched it’s first “Style Guide“ in 2013 and has since delivered 4 publications capturing all the evolving and classic styles that the Men of Perth have been wearing thanks to the talented team of hair stylists.
Staff and their development have always been a passion of Rebecca’s and is a fundamental reason for Guys Grooming’s success. The investment in training courses held both on site and at industry venues has seen the team deliver in-house master class sessions, demonstrate at expo’s and specialty events plus grown into the most experienced skin centre for Men in Perth.
In there 12 years much has changed in the industry and the renaissance of the beard has been market defining. This was captured in the last 2 style guides with a bearded men section plus WA’s own “Greatest Beard in Perth” competitions that was picked up by commercial TV and radio stations. Made popular by the hipster movement but more importantly it forced the industry into developing beard services, treatments and products. They stock the full range of Milkman beard products and their very own Beard Cape to assist guys with at home beard trimming.
Guys Grooming has always had plans to expand beyond 1 store. The impacts of the Global financial crisis, the collapse of the WA mining boom along with the buyout of investors, paying down debt and now Covid-19 the time, to date, has not been right but it is still a future goal.
When leaving Guys Grooming you know you have been somewhere special, you feel great and thankful for that extra level of service but more importantly you know that this business is a brand and with over 40,000 clients on their database and a wall of industry awards it’s your next Instagram and Facebook follow as their story is just beginning.
The above article appeared on page 35 Barber Shop Year 9 Issue 2.