A New Warby Parker Spin on the Barbershop
Harry’s, a line of men's grooming supplies co-founded by Jeff Raider of Warby Parker, opens its first barbershop today. Located in New York City's trendy SoHo neighborhood, the Corner Shop is Harry's first offline store. But Raider is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of retail: Warby Parker launched several of its own successful bricks-and-mortar outposts earlier this year.
"I think our goal has always been to deliver amazing shaving experiences," says Raider. "But really it’s a way for people to walk in and feel very much that their experience is consistent with what they see when they come to the site."
The goal of the store, says Raider, is to start an "informed conversation" with Harry's customers. Though Raider says he enjoys running the online business, which he launched with Andy Katz-Mayfield last March, he wanted more interaction with customers. "There’s always context that you miss by not being able to touch and feel things," he says. Raider envisions the shop as "an intimate thing,” where customers will stop in not just for a trim but also for advice and products. "We'll tell them how to shave and use their Harry's products better," says Raider.
The store also presents an opportunity to get to know the Harry's customer personally. After haircuts, barbers will take three headshots of the customer's hairdo--front, side, and back. (In true Warby Parker fashion, photos will be taken via iPads.) These photos will do more than keep a record of how the customer likes to look. They'll help the shop personalize the experience. The next time that customer comes in, says Raider, he can ask to alter his look and the barber will know what to do.
Designed by Partners & Spade, a New York City duo known for pushing the retail envelope, the Corner Shop evokes the barbershops of the 1950s with its refurbished barber chairs and white tiled floors. But the shop feels decidedly modern and cool, thanks to hip merchandise from brands like Public Supply and the stylish barbers.
Services at The Corner Shop range from $15 for a beard trim to $35 for a haircut--not cheap, but not out of the ordinary for New York City. A cut and a shave costs $60, and the full line of Harry's products, which includes $2 blades and $8 cream, will be on hand.
For now, Raider is focused on creating “a good overriding experience with the brand” rather than boosting its bottom line. However, he wouldn’t be averse to opening more stores if the SoHo location does well.
Though he won't disclose Harry's financials, Raider says the company is far "ahead of where Warby Parker was at this time," or seven months into its life as a company. But only time will tell if Harry's can become a household name on par with Warby Parker. Despite competition from services like Dollar Shave Club and RazWar, Raider contends his product line, strong brand, and customer service will help set Harry's apart. "We love every single customer as a person," he says.
JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer
Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.