From sunup to sundown, Sydney is a show-stopper when it comes to the harbour, panoramic coastal beaches and sunny blue skies. However the city is also a haven for indulgent experiences when you need to seek refuge and take some much needed ‘you’ time from life. Seriously, there is nothing better than sitting back and being pampered to help you find your zen.
With the New Year well and truly in full swing, the opportunity to escape for a weekend of indulgence is few and far; seeking time out, retreat and rejuvenation needs to get creative. Enter: Adilla Barbers, the luxe Double Bay destination that’s at the forefront of grooming and skincare with their newly launched menu and treatments, a pivot that focuses on long-service, premium client experience. Offering a true getaway from life, the luxe space allows gents to take a break, indulge in some me-time, then return to life feeling revitalised.
Clients can expect such indulgences as the “Adilla Escape”, which comprises of a tailored haircut with shampoo and scalp massage, a full straight razor shave, beard treatment and line up, styled with premium products and to top it off; a facial, moisturise and massage with the help of a professional, beauty-grade steamer. Packed with powerful oxidising properties that softens the skin and removes dead cells, the facial steam also helps to strengthen the immune system, stimulate white blood cells, prevent infections and destroy bacteria and viruses.
Adilla is the slick Double Bay space created for the modern gentleman. From the architectural design that boasts attention to detail to the brand ethos that goes against ‘old school’ barbering, Adilla Barbers was created to be a safe space for men. A place where they can feel comfortable, hang out and feel at home. The team of internationally trained stylists don’t tell men that their haircut experience has to be justified by being ‘old school’ or that they have to go to a woman's salon for a great colour, treatment or facial, they have designed a haven where gents can truly indulge.
What was the inspiration behind Adilla Barbers?
The inspiration came as I found myself jumping from barber to barber looking for something beyond a great haircut. The opportunities for self-care for men were scarce and a luxury barbershop seemed like a good place to start. Increased stress from an accelerating career in growth marketing coupled with a decrease in my want to have a “night out” left me with few options for an experience I enjoyed. I wasn’t totally comfortable in salons although I had tried a few. Something in between was what I was looking for.
And so an idea was born. What if we could combine the look, feel and quality of a classic barbershop with the beauty services and experience of a salon to ultimately create a space where men can feel confident enough to truly relax. Why does having a haircut have to be a chore, a task, why can’t it be considered a luxury escape? Adilla Barbers was born.
How did your business evolve and change over the events of the last 12 months?
The change has been quite significant, we have completely shifted our business in the last 12 months. For a number of reasons; COVID related and non-COVID related.
Non-COVID related; the market has begun to catch up in men's grooming and ‘self-care’. We have gone from pitching our deluxe services to clients requesting them regularly. This forced us to push our services even further and to ensure we always offered something different to our clients. Just ask for The Adilla Escape.
COVID related; we have seen our traditional ‘busy periods’ dissipate. There is no longer the unmatched desire for a Saturday appointment, it is very much spread across the week quite evenly. EG: Revenue difference between a Tuesday & a Saturday dropped by 40% in 2020 vs 2019. Meaning we now have more staff on a Monday -Thursday than we previously ever have. COVID also gave us a unique opportunity to slow down and look at our business and what was working and what wasn’t. We could really go through our services, products, team and figure out where our weaknesses were. We obviously had to minimise the number of people in the shop for most of 2020, which affected our total revenue, but we had time to get creative with our numbers and the results were mind-blowing.
We have learned that COVID or not, we are taking a break from the daily grind to comb through our business to this level every quarter and annually to a larger extent. Keeping a close eye on our growth, team happiness, productivity, client feedback loops and spending.
How have the trends in Men’s grooming evolved over the last 5 years?
It’s evolved from men accepting using 2-in-1 products to having multiple products for hair, skin and body. The current social landscape and gender fluidity movement has also made it hugely and widely acceptable for men to have their nails done, be pampered, massaged, attend skin treatments and more. It’s all about finding that time for yourself. In fact, there are now just over one million Millennial men (34% of Millennial men) who both use skincare products and also buy some type of skincare product in an average six months. Guys don’t want a suite of products to adopt. We have compiled the high impact services into our menu to ensure it's relaxing, memorable and not overwhelming.
What sets Adilla Barbers apart from its competitors?
A lot of aspects that are team focused, and a lot that are client facing. We take pride in our culture and our approach to internal education. We shut our shops every 6-8 weeks and have a complete team day. The goal here is to share knowledge, feedback and to help each other improve in every aspect of our client service. It’s easy to lose focus or get complacent! As founders, we work for our team, our job is to listen and ensure they are happy, learning, improving and in a position to give our clients a memorable experience every time they visit us.
On the client side we have led the market in terms of service. This hasn't been easy, but it has been worth it. We named our hero service “The ADILLA Deluxe’ and since then so many barber shops around us have a ‘Deluxe' service. A form of flattery! We have since upgraded to The ADILLA Escape and have added extra elements that no-one else has, bridging the gap between beauty and barber. Lots of research, testing and investigation goes into our service upgrades.
Our team is incredible and very driven. They are always eager to learn and iterate on what we offer our clients. They spend a lot of time perfecting their knowledge in product so they can always customise their client recommendation.
Can you tell us about the Men’s skincare elements if your business? How have your clientele responded to this?
No major travel, home-schooling, working from home, these are just some of the things pushing people to feeling “trapped”. During COVID we ramped up our knowledge on skin care and created the ADILLA escape. A combined professional hair and skin service giving our clients an opportunity to escape, if even for just an hour. The feedback has been so positive it helped us drive and keep focused during the rough spots in 2020.
Our retail sales have increased by 20% YOY, as they want to recreate this feeling at home. We have always had skin care products in the shop, however offering these more ‘beauty focused’ services and with many clients now upgrading to our deluxe and escape packages, our skincare retail has increased noticeably.
What’s your signature skin treatment? How did you come up with it and what key areas of concern does it address?
For skincare, the most effective things you can do is exfoliate, cleanse, tone and moisturise. We have a signature men’s facial, also incorporated into our escape package. Using a professional steamer, we complete all steps which comes with additional benefits:
• Strengthening of the immune system
• Stimulating of white blood cells
• Prevent infections
• Destroy fungi, bacteria and viruses
The steamer allows us to deep cleanse the skin, and teamed with an exfoliator, it also removes dead skin cells, excess sebum, dirt, bacteria and has the benefits list above. We also do a facial massage with oil and finish with a cold towel to close the pores and remove excess product. We also add V76 SPF moisturiser. SPF is one of the most effective anti-aging products you can use, and most people, specifically men, don’t use one daily and in Australia, we need it.
Do you have separate treatment rooms for Facials etc or do you incorporate them into your barber services?
At the moment we incorporate them into our services at the chair. We aren’t sure the market is quite ready for separate treatment rooms, but it is absolutely something that we are looking forward to seeing in the future. We don’t think it’s too far away.
Where do you see Men’s groom progressing over the next few years?
Equality! On the whole men have thicker skin, larger pores and are more prone to oil and blackheads. There is absolutely an equal need for skin care and skin care services for men as there is for women. It is becoming more socially acceptable every single day for men to have beauty treatments, and the younger generations coming through are bragging about it all over social media. We believe this will continue to grow and normalise over time giving men an opportunity to escape for more than just “a haircut”.