For the vast majority of men in the Cape Town CBD, a good haircut involves going to a women’s salon, where the shape of your beard and the product in your hair is something of an afterthought. But in Bree Street, Cape Town’s mecca of urban style, a studio has opened dedicated to men’s grooming. Named The Groomsmen’s Studio, this trendy space understands that the modern man cares about the way he looks, and wants to relax in style.
Steven Scheepers, creator of The Groomsmens Studio, shares that it’s exactly the kind of place he always wanted to visit as a customer. A space where you can relax with a beer in your hand and chat to mates. You’re not a number being rushed through the door. We’ve created a masculine environment for guys to get their hair done, even their nails done, and have a cigar at the same time. Steven, together with his partner Shara, have created a classy, modern space that oozes style. There’s a relaxed atmosphere inside and just the right amount of personal attention.
A former chef at the Test Kitchen and an expert in the hospitality trade, Steven realised that the real niche wasn’t in restaurants – but in hair studios. He went on a visit to New York and came across a concept, Frank’s Chop Shop, where guys went to get their hair cut, have a beer, play snooker and smoke cigars. I grasped the concept. Why not create a masculine environment for metrosexual men? After all, more and more guys are starting to take care of themselves – but they don’t necessarily feel comfortable doing that at a ladies’ salon.
Steven and Shara set about creating a shop designed for men that wasn’t simply a barbers’. No, it needed to be unique. Groomsmens stands for a way of life – it’s about kicking back after a long day of work and getting pampered. It’s about having something to drink and spending 40 minutes to an hour being looked after. Steven and his partner Shara are opposed to the idea of a conveyor belt service where the customer is simply another set of feet through the door.
Steven has applied this same attitude to the suppliers he works with, and has gone into partnership with Beardworks, a homemade brand from Knysna that provides beard oil and other products that most ladies’ salons wouldn’t ever think to stock. Steven is effusive about the service he receives from a supplier he trusts, and is striving to give his customers the exact same treatment. “Good service is everything, and I’m looking into the idea of sending my stylists to the hotel rooms of our clients for a personal haircut. Steven is even exploring the idea of taking a pop-up barbers’ chair to weddings, enabling grooms to get together for a drink and a style before the big event.
To date, Groomsmens specialises in washes and cuts, hot towel shaves and beard shaping. Shaan Lewis is their chief stylist and was named gents’ stylist of the year in 2015, while the team recently hired Athena, a specialist in manicures and pedicures.
Going forward, Steven has designs on expanding the space to incorporate a men’s spa, and wants to add a cigar lounge and bar too. “Most hair studios can’t wait to rush you out of the door,” Steven says. “But here, we want our customers to sit down and relax and really take the time to take a breath.”
In a fast-paced world where people seldom have the time to exit the rat-race, Steven and Shara’s studio is a welcome slice of respite. It’s a place for boys to be boys, drink in hand and cigar in tow; where a customer isn’t just a number, but someone who’s earned the right to get a darn good pampering.