Sporting and styling a beard, sideburn or ‘stache often came down to one of two choices in Brussels: Rodolphe, the upmarket chain of barbershops in Louise and Schuman or traditional Turkish barbers in Schaerbeek. And that was pretty much it. Recently however, a new spot, Bayer & Bayer, has opened in the heart of the city’s downtown district that, modelling itself on the quintessential English barbershop, brings a much-need dose of experience and craftsmanship to grooming for gentlemen. We talk concept, customers and community with the new imprint’s founders.
Can you describe your concept in a few words?
Our concept is based on old school service. An English-styled barbershop offering a range of high quality services exclusively for men. A warm and friendly place where they also can enjoy a relaxing time at the bar.
What is its core business?
High quality services provided by experienced barbers/stylists.
What, in your eyes, makes it unique?
The location (a typical Brussels maison de maitre with ceilings up to four meters high), the high quality service provided by experienced barbers/stylists and its unique place as the only barbershop in the center of Brussels.
Can you discuss the concept’s first steps?
Being the owner of already two hair salons in Brussels, I realized that male customers did not always feel comfortable in a mixed salon. I also knew there weren’t any barbershop in the city’s downtown district so saw an opportunity.
When did the idea first take off and how did it come about?
About two years ago.
Can you talk to us about the concept’s name and its significance?
It was quite easy, my last name is Bayer and I developed the project with my sister-in-law: an experienced stylist and barber, whose name is, obviously, Bayer too. The name is a unifying factor for two highly qualified people in the trade.
What excites you the most about your concept and what are you the proudest of?
The satisfaction we get from the gratitude of customers and to realize that we are responding to a demand from men who were looking for a place like this.
How and why did you choose the neighborhood you’re currently located in? What attracted you to it in the first place?
The neighbourhood is a well-known place in the historical centre of Brussels. The barbershop is located in a magnificent townhouse in the Sablon area. This area is well known and a popular place surrounded by antique stores, fashionable boutiques, hotels, restaurants and a lot of well-known Belgian chocolatiers: it goes well with our barbershop.
How do you feel you’re bringing something fresh to the neighbourhood?
We believe that our barbershop blends in perfectly with the other businesses located in this neighbourhood. Our customers have a range of shops and restaurants in the area where they can have lunch or dinner and do some shopping before or after having spent some time with us.
Do you feel you’re adding value to it in any way?
Of course, Bayer & Bayer meets the demand for a service our customers were looking for in the center of Brussels.
What, if anything, do you hope to change with this new opening?
We’d like to entice our customers to come to this neighbourhood and discover its historical significance. On a personal level, our target is to satisfy our customers and respond to an existing demand.
What did you least expect about starting this business?
The immediate success, our customers’ satisfaction, and the recognition of the services offered and the satisfaction they bring.
What would you tell the beginner?
Every new project needs to be very well thought. Invest time in learning communication skills and means of communication: this is very important today. Believe in your project and live up to your promises.
Can you name one other concept that proved to be an inspiration?A concept whose moves you follow?
I’d say Ellis Gourmet Burger.
What does success look like to you?
Recognition and satisfaction.Bayer & Bayer Rue Joseph Stevens, 35 (1000 Brussels) bayerbayer.be