A unique space is opening in Trafford which will bring together a bar, barbers, hair salon and beauty salon under one roof.
Owner Andrew Sharples hopes Beards and Brows on George Street in Altrincham will become a safe and inclusive space for “everyone” to enjoy their hair and beauty care while hanging out together in a fun space.
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“It’s totally new ground for me,” Andrew, 44, told MEN
“It’s a wonderful idea I had and it’s something I’ve been working on for some time now.
“I have a Masters in Organizational Psychology, I worked in HR for large organizations.
“It might not be the background you associate with someone opening this kind of place, but my story is about helping people work together and get the best out of each other.
“I’ve always been about the synergy of things and I guess that’s how it ties into it all.
“It’s about these different businesses coming together and cohabiting in one space without worrying about taking customers and really supporting each other.”
Andrew says the idea for Beards and Brows came to him when he was with a former girlfriend and they both decided to have their hair done together.
As expected, one of their haircuts took less time than the others.
He explains: “It took me 25 minutes to get my hair cut, but for my girlfriend it took four hours and all afternoon.
“At the time, there wasn’t really a way to make it a shared experience that we could both enjoy.”
Since then, Andrew has spent the past three years refining his business idea.
He had originally planned a place near the universities, but the plans fell through and he came across the Altrincham site during the first lockdown.
“Everything will be housed in a fantastic three-story building,” he says.
“It used to be a haberdashery, a music school and an office, so we had to completely renovate it and refit it to make it suitable.”
As Andrew began to draw up plans for construction work, the country was again quarantined and put his business plans in doubt.
“I thought we would have difficulty not being able to open for a very long time and I was worried that people would not return to the main street, but it turned out that all of this was unfounded and I was worried about the bad things.
“The real difficulty we had was not being able to find traders or equipment. It suddenly became this incredible challenge of getting plaster and wood.
“We originally hoped to be open in March, but we’ve had huge delays because we can’t get people to do the job in the world we live in right now.”
Andrew says he realizes that launching a business during the pandemic presents its own challenges, but he says he’s confident in what he’s offering people.
“Obviously it was a huge risk to start a business without knowing what was going to happen in the world let alone in the industry,” he laughs.
“Some people think it was a bold move, but sometimes you have to get into these things and carry on with the faith you have in the business.
“I think people are going to like it and I think it’s going to really bring people together.”
Besides a hair salon, barbers and a beauty salon, there will also be a bar where local DJs will perform during the weekend.
But, insists Andrew, the business is all about hair and beauty.
“Those who register on our system will be able to buy drinks from the bar, so it will work as a kind of members club.
“We want to create a cool, youthful vibe, so we’ll be playing house music in the evenings and having a DJ for a few hours.
“If you come during these evenings, you can get your hair done, make up, have a few drinks and head out on the town for the rest of your evening.”
He hopes the space will also become a welcoming place for trans and non-binary people and others who might feel the traditional salon or barbershop isn’t inclusive enough for them.
“I think the hair and beauty industry has generated a kind of segregation,” he explains.
“It creates environments based on what we know or think people want without really considering how others may feel.
“We tried to create something away from that. Our barbers have brick walls and it looks a bit masculine, but we have a beauty area and I want men to feel comfortable going there and getting treatment or botox.
“I would like to say that we have created a more inclusive and non-judgmental space.
“We will try to do everything we can to avoid these stereotypes and these barriers that people face.
“I want everyone to feel like they can come here.”
Beards and Brows is set to open in October. You can find more information here and they are also looking for a number of beauty and hair businesses to get involved with.
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