The profession of barbering is one of the oldest in the world. In the past you might have seen a revolving pole outside, painted red, white and blue. For many of us this will evoke images of leather-backed chairs, shaving foam and men fraternising over straight shaves and cigars. The Bearded Man pays homage to this patrimony, feeding the demand for a professional clip and trim, together with good old-fashioned quality service – minus the smell of tobacco and medieval pomades.
Each staff member is sporting facial hair that would make the archetypal hipster jealous. Though, Josh assures me, “it’s not as easy as it looks.” Perhaps it is the birth of the young creative subculture and the greatly desired Victorian preacher beard we have to thank for the modern revival of the barbershop.
Like all good ideas The Bearded Man was born out of experience – 14 years of working as a barber and a hairdresser all over the world to be exact. Josh noticed that men were looking for something more in their grooming routine.
“I find that guys like going somewhere to get their haircut, but once they’ve got a haircut they feel like they have to leave.”
“Over the years I’ve seen a lot of barbers that are really cool but a bit pretentious, I wanted to create something a bit more neutral and inviting where they can come in, carry on, have a few drinks and leave feeling really good about the day. We just want to make getting a haircut a bit more of an experience for men.”
During the time I spend conversing with Josh over a steaming hot latte, a group of females walk in, sit down and order coffee’s. There is something about The Bearded Man that makes it more of a place for rendezvous, than a standard walk-in-sit-down salon. The provenance of the coffee is Melbourne based and there is an indescribable organic feel to the overall space that is warm and familiar.
The studio layout is considered, relaxed and reflects Josh’s enthusiasm for minimal design and simplicity, teemed with a touch of masculine luxuriousness and greenery. “My house is like it and the studio is too,” Josh says. “You totally forget you’re in a barbershop. I wanted to keep it as open and simple as possible.”
After just two months, The Bearded Man has rendered an impressive clientele list. “Beards do need to be maintained and men are a lot more aware of their grooming needs these days. Most guys get their beards trimmed once every three weeks. After three weeks it starts to look a bit caveman-ish,” Josh says. According to Josh’s fashion forecast, we’ll be seeing a bit more movement in hair trends.
“I think we’ll be seeing longer styles, cropped fringes – a bit of the 90s movement coming through.”
Josh and his experienced team of right-hand men are reaching out to the groomsmen of Melbourne, with groomsmen packages currently in the works. Beard trims, hot towel treatments, wet shaves and coffee scrubs are among the services available to grooms’ parties. With this comes a definite element of exclusivity and anticipation leading up to your wedding day. “We’re definitely interested in looking after grooms. A lot of the time guys don’t know what to do on their wedding day. They can come in here, have a whiskey and all hang out.”
The Bearded Man is an experience for all of the senses, “not just ‘that’ place you tell your mates you got a nice haircut from”. Having just had their liquor license approved, the boys are reaching for bigger and brighter things heading into the future. The dream, Josh says, is to hold art exhibitions and sign a list of resident DJ’s in store each month.