More Than a Haircut! - Krishna Gupta

Truefitt & Hill – the gentleman’s luxury barbershop – just opened its doors in Hyderabad, and we caught up with one of the partners, Krishna Gupta, to get the lowdown on why men should spend top dollar for a shave. The brand is the oldest barbershop in the world, and has been recognised by the Guinness Book of World records. Started in 1805, it holds a Royal Warrant to the Duke of Edinburgh, and this high recognition reflects in the quality of service. Krishna Gupta talks to us about its foray in India.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to bring Truefitt & Hill to India.
It’s my first venture that I started right after college in the UK. I wanted to do something related to men’s grooming. After a lot of research I found that Truefitt & Hill was the most appealing, and the one that spoke out to us; we had a great connection right away. That’s how we got in touch with the brand and that’s pretty much how it all started. Now we are focusing on making it the best barbershop in the country.

How would you convince Indian men – who are generally salon-shy and used to shaving at home or at their local barber shop – to try out Truefitt & Hill. Do you think Indian men like taking care of themselves as much as their Western counterparts?
The truth is that Indian men love to groom themselves, but there’s no place available that is exclusive to them. In Mumbai there was only the Oberoi’s barbershop, where most High-Net-Worth Individuals (HNI's) who wanted a luxury grooming experience would go. So there isn’t any facility for men to go and groom themselves. Usually all salons are dedicated to women, and have a small men’s section. So, each salon has an average of 70% women, and 25 -30% men, and often men find it really awkward to get manicures, pedicures and facials in front of women. What we try to do is cater to those men who like to groom themselves in the privacy of a luxurious setting. We offer a range of services like face massages, head massages, haircuts, manicures, pedicures, and pretty much everything that men would like to do to look and feel great.

What clientele are you looking to tap in Hyderabad?
We have the same clientele in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru or Hyderabad. We are targeting men in general. It might seem like only HNI's come to the salon, but we get all types of men. We get kids for haircuts as well; we get fathers bringing their young sons to get their first haircuts, and we get youngsters and teenagers coming in to try shaving for the first time outside their home. So we have all kinds of customers; we are not only HNI-focused.

What are the more popular services offered?
Haircuts. But what we are hoping to increase in services are shaves, since Truefitt & Hill is known mainly for its shaving products. We have over 120 products, of which 80% are dedicated to shaving. There are lots of pre and post-shave products that most men in India have never heard about or tried, and we are hoping to introduce them to these products when they come in and try a shave in the salon. The shave is extremely popular worldwide, especially in cities like London and New York. I’m glad that it is slowly but surely catching on in India.

Men are known to be quick to shave and get ready. Now will they take as much time as women to groom themselves!?
We don’t offer services; it is an experience. When a man comes in for a shave, he walks out not just with a shave, but with a feeling of complete rejuvenation and relaxation. So it’s not something that you might get done every day over here; you still might shave everyday at home, but to treat yourself you will come here once in a while. Once you come here, shaving won’t be the same. We use five hot towels in each service which completely relaxes you. It is really good for your skin, it opens up your pores. We use pre-shave oils, and we have a choice of 10 shaving creams. We really spoil you here.

What’s in it for the women?
The women will be guaranteed to be given their men back to them well-groomed! Besides, once a year on Women’s Day we open the salon for women, too.

How many stores do you have in India?
We have five in Mumbai, two in Delhi, two in Bengaluru and one in Hyderabad.    --- as told to Suneela