Often, hairdressing services can cater to a female audience, with a lack of energy dedicated to a male grooming features or products. The Gentlemen’s Tonic is a distinct service that only dedicates its hairdressing services to men who want a traditional barbershop combined with modern lifestyle and grooming elements. TreatNOW caught up with this unique business to talk about how they got started, how they develop their treatments and what we can expect from them in the future:
How did the Gentlemen’s Tonic come about?
Olivier Bonnefoy, the founders story:
“I think anyone who has spent a lot of time working in the City of London in some capacity dreams of going into business for themselves. The problem for many is that they become so institutionalised and are unable to risk the significant levels of pay. Also, the responsibility to start again with a limited chance of success seems very daunting. I had become tired of the politics and waste that large institutions experience and very much wanted to start my own business.
I spent a good many months before leaving banking, looking at the pros and cons of a number of sectors but couldn’t find a market that was not already saturated with competition nor interested me. I had always enjoyed lifestyle treatments such as massage, reflexology and grooming care such as facials and manicures, however, like many men I preferred these services when offered at home, away in hotels or in country spas. I have always felt that the vast majority of men feel uncomfortable being in unisex, spa like environments, as they are often intimidating, effeminate and minimalist. That is why I have decided to create an establishment that is comfortable, professional and yet in a relaxing environment, along with offering a range of products and services.
– How do you make your service special for each client?
First of all we tried to make our establishment comfortable, stylish and offer a professional and discrete service for all of our clients. When we launched approximately 10 years ago, there was still a little bit of a stigma regarding ‘male grooming’ so part of making men feeling comfortable was to create separate barber stations, no glass fronted big windows for people to see in and offer an relaxed environment, so men could try different treatments and services and ask questions without feeling awkward. All our staff are very experienced and in their own right built up relationships with the clients which we feel is important.
– How do you develop your treatments?
Research and by speaking to our clients and we have the perfect focus group for that, we started off with certain treatments with a basic rule we do ‘what it says on the tin’! Don’t over complicate things, use simple and easy language and try to make it easy. Most of our treatments have been the same for a long time, as it seems to work. We have added a few extra treatments over time and always like to try new ones.
– Do you use any unique ingredients?
That is a hard one to answer! We feel our Babassu and Bergamot range is fairly unique! Our range was launched in 2008 with the staple of 8 products which has now grown to 15 core products. We did extensive research and used one of the UK’s leading formulators to try and create a range that was as natural as possible. They do not contain:
Harmful Chemical Additives
Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate
There is always something new coming into the market place ‘the new miracle cream here, the latest craze to get rid of wrinkles’ etc but we try to continue with what seems to work for our us and our clients. We are in the process of finishing off offering a professional range of products and will be adding to our already growing product line to meet changing demand for quality male grooming products and services e.g. anti-aging products, eye serums etc.
– In your opinion, what is the selling point of your brand?
I think we don’t over complicate things, never celebrity endorse, offer a discrete and professional service and if we can will always try to accommodate as most of our clients have busy lives and schedules.
– How do you make sure that your customers find you?
We do not advertise as we are quite small in terms of the barber and treatment rooms that we have, we are very fortunate to have a lot of editorial, we use social media, word of mouth and cross fertilise through all our worldwide sites.
– If a new business/salon was setting up, what’s the best piece of advice you could give them?
Do plenty of research, prepare, make sure the location is right for your target audience and once opened listen to your clients and don’t always follow the latest fad, that works better for women than men!
– What is next for the Gentlemen’s Tonic in terms of treatments or services? What can we look forward to?
We hope to continue to grow and open more worldwide sites, add to our existing range and carry on the formula that seems to work!
TreatNOW is recruiting a range of health therapists, stylists and beauticians for a Spring launch. Get in touch to find out more.