ABOUT BARBER AMSTERDAM
Barber is a unique barbershop in the heart of Amsterdam where men can enjoy a shave or a trim and where they can find the finest grooming products carefully selected for them. In this interview, Petra van Roon tells us about her journey to founding Barber and shares with us what her barbershop has to offer.
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contact details Barber:
Binnen Oranjestraat 24
1013 JA Amsterdam
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Why did you decide to become a barber?
I have always worked on my own business for the last seven years, not necessarily in barbering or hairdressing, but I have always had a passion for work that involves craftsmanship. It could be anything as long as craftsmanship is involved.
My previous shop focused on women and while running that business a lot of men asked me where they can find equivalent shops for men. They were interested in a unique place where they can have a relaxing treatment and get a hold on fine products. After I was bought out by my previous business partner I thought about what to do next. I went travelling and in that period I noticed that there were many barbershops abroad and suddenly the pieces of the puzzle fitted together. At that moment Amsterdam did not have a place which was totally dedicated to men – except for the red light district- but not a beautiful place with substantial quality. So the combination of my interest in craftsmanship and my background in personal care came together and I started Barber.
We live in a time where everything is about speed. Do you think that there is still room for craftsmanship in general and for barbering in particular?
In the beginning it was really exciting as I was curious about how men would respond. I thought about offering a quick shave that would fit in between their busy schedules. But what we noticed is that men liked to take time when they come here. They liked the idea of being able to pause a while and put aside the daily obligations. The needs are different and the time one has for a shave varies from person to person, so we try to fulfil the different needs taking that into account. We offer a treatment which takes about half an hour. Such a treatment is ideal during a break for example. On the other hand we offer treatments which take more than an hour if you want to really relax and slow down.
What is the shortest and what is the longest treatment?
The shortest treatment takes about twinty minutes and the longest about an hour and fifteen minutes
How do you see the profession developing in the future?
I think there is much room for different types of barbershops. I really like the way hairdressers and tattoo shops have developed. Both crafts have much diversity and each shop attracts certain type of people with their specific preferences. So I think barbering has yet to go in that direction. I hear sometimes that the barbershop will go out of fashion once for example the beards go out of fashion, but I disagree. What I offer is more than a shave or a beard trim. I offer men the possibility to sit in the chair, have a good treatment and unwind, and it is up to me to stay tuned to the current trends. I have to prepare myself and my staff to fulfilling these changing needs of our customers.
So you want your barbershop to be a place where men can slow down and have a good treatment. Are there any other aspects besides these two?
These are indeed the most important elements of a treatment. However we approach each person in a different way. Some customers like to talk about what they have been up to, others like to sit down and enjoy a few beers and so on. So once a customer enters the shop we tune in to that person depending on what he feels comfortable with. Besides this personal approach it is important not to rush, have an eye for detail, use quality products and to put that person in the spotlight.
Who is the most interesting, strange or moving client you have had so far?
I must say every customer is special and has a special story to tell. Of course there are people who stand out.
I have a customer who is 83 years old. He is an artist and has a beautiful long white beard. He comes once a month here to have his beard trimmed and taken care of. After a month he is usually fully grown with hair. After a treatment he looks refreshed and he is always happy with that. Another customer comes here every week for a head shave. He has been coming here since the opening of the barbershop. I find it very special that customers are very loyal and keep coming back.
One particular customer really touched me. He came in with a nice long beard and wanted to shave it off. I was surprised and asked why he wanted to do that. He then told me that his wife was pregnant with twins and the pregnancy was not going very well. He believed that growing a beard would bring luck. So he grew his beard during the pregnancy of his wife and after nine months the babies were born and they were doing very well. The pregnancy period was a hefty emotional ride for the couple and he came to me to shave his beard as a way to close that phase in his life.