ABOUT JOE AND CO
I already had a very established independent boutique unisex salon in soho (theloungesoho.co.uk) that had been open for 16 years and we had a very healthy share of loyal male clients. The feedback I kept hearing from these guys was that they ended up at the lounge soho because they wanted more then what there local barbershop offered; they wanted to be able to book an appointment, have time taken over their service, be in a modern interior and have a haircut and advice that what above the usual short back and sides clipper experience; I got the feeling that their hair and style was important to them and they wanted to go to the best salon and did not mind paying a premium.
. . . . . .
Contact details Joe and Co:
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO BECOME A BARBER? WHAT WAS THE DEFINING MOMENT THAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE THAT PATH?
I have been in the industry since i was 15. I loved the whole experience of giving a client a hair cut and originally I trained as both a male and female stylist but my passion was for mens hair.
The defining moment was when a friend of mine who had a serious rockerbilly quiff came in and asked me to cut it that I realised that I wanted to be able to it and every thing else related to barbering…. I blame his quiff!!
WHAT DOES THE PROFESSION OF BARBERING MEAN TO YOU? AND WHAT IS THE EXPERIENCE YOU WANT TO OFFER YOUR CLIENTS?
I realized that for most guys who wanted to get a haircut, their only option was a unisex salon or a lower price barbershop and I wanted to turn that idea on it’s head and present the idea of a barbershop as being indulgent and high end, somewhere that you could have the choices and the time taken over you just like you would in my other salon but in a man only environment and by specialized mens stylists trained in barbershop but also classic hairdressing techniques. In particular I wanted to create a ‘modern’ take on the traditional barbers and develop a new forward thinking angle in mens hairdressing, one that was about a fresh experience and not one that harked back to the traditional. I am not knocking these places as I worked and trained in one early in my career and joe and co. Services are very much based on things that have been happening in barbershops for years, but my aim was to add more finesse to a guys grooming experience.
HOW DID THE PROFESSION CHANGE OVER THE YEARS IN YOUR OPINION? AND HOW DO YOU SEE ITS FUTURE?
The barber shop was seen as the lower end of the hairdressing spectrum for a number of years, it was almost a dirty word not synonymous with quality and more of a necessity. In the last 10 years this has changed considerably and interest in how your hair and facial hair looks has become part of fashion – particularly with programs like mad men, broadwalk empire influencing styles. Guys have started to be more interested in their grooming needs and the quality of the service they receive, where it is done and the end result – men are looking more at trends and styles within popular culture and are more interested in emulated these looks.
In my eyes, the barbers is a space to have a mens specialist look after you in a male client only space, totally different kind of environment to a unisex salon. The experience is unrushed, thoughtful and complete. Clients come in and get advice about there hair or beard, what products to use and trends – we are a forward thinking barbershop and we hope this vision will continue.
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO YOU ATTRACT TO YOUR BARBERSHOP? WHAT DO THEY LOOK FOR?
We get a really diverse mix of clients from all over London and beyond but mainly those who live or work in soho. The majority of our clients tend work in creative industries, particularly media and advertising along with guys from the shops in the area.
Because these clients come from such design led industries they come to us looking for the details, the hair cut, the finishing touches, the service and all these factors make us stand out from the competition – our location is also very central which helps!
WHAT IS THERE STILL A PLACE FOR SUCH AN ARTISAN PROFESSION IN A TIME WHERE EVERYONE IS CONCERNED ABOUT SPEED AND LOW COST?
Clients don’t come to us for a rushed service or budget environment. We offer 45 min haircuts, a complimentary beer, whiskey or fresh coffee, a tidy up service in between haircuts and we have always set our prices and the amount of time we spend on a client to reflect that. There will always be a demand for low cost services, but that is not where we sit, we want to offer what people pay for – I would much rather give the client a complete service and charge correctly for the time and effort that cut corners and rush them out.
WHO IS THE MOST INTERESTING, STRANGE OR MOVING CLIENT YOU HAVE HAD SO FAR?
We have a regular client who comes in dressed head to toe in a spiderman or ninja costume (he only removes his mask for the wash and haircut). He has been coming in for a while and although we don’t get phased by things like this, some clients do raise an eyebrow once the service is finished and his gown comes off!READ OTHER INTERVIEWS SHOP THE PRODUCTS