Fashionistas, take note – male grooming in Phnom Penh is getting serious.
Fed up with the lack of stylish salons for men, one enterprising undergraduate student has invested $40,000 in a barber shop that offers sophisticated styles and VIP grooming treatments.
The White and Red Barber in Phnom Penh, one of the few high-end barber shops in the city, opened last month after its owner noticed a gap in the market.
Kem Ratha, 25, a Cambodian management student at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh, saw that many of his male friends were eager to style and colour their hair but had few places that would offer more style and choice for their cash.
Sophisticated male hair-styling has taken off amongst Cambodia’s young men in the last few years, especially since the rise of Korean K-Pop stars and their trade-mark cuts.
But it is rare to see modern barber shops for boys in Phnom Penh, according to Ratha.
“I had an idea to fill the niche by serving boys with a reliable, comfortable and skilled barber,” he added.
His shop, named after its distinctive red and white design, offers private treatment rooms for more discerning customers who can choose from a range of cuts, colouring, face massages and ear-cleaning.
Ratha spent about US $40,000 in total on opening the business, including importing equipment and building private rooms for treatment as part of a VIP package.
He sees the expense as an important investment in making his shop match international hair-dressing standards.
All the styling equipment at the White and Red Barber comes from South Korea and France.
“It is a big investment in barber shop, but I want to be up to international standards and be as stylish as other countries. I hope that will attract more guests to my shop to get the services.”
The VIP service at the barber allows clients to reserve private rooms to have treatments.
Ear-cleaning is the most popular choice for clients, most of who are in their mid-20s.
“I think these people like to look nice and cool, and want to have the best treatments for their bodies done in private,” Ratha said.
A simple no-frills hair-cut at the White and Red Barber is US$4, while the VIP service ranges from US$10 to US$50. The White and Red Barber can be found at #216, Norodom Boulevard, south of the Independence Monument.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhim Sreyneang at [email protected]