By Virginia Muzik
Located right along the Brisbane River in Teneriffe, a trendy, up and coming suburb north east of the CBD, Garth Male Grooming is housed on the street level of an old wool store building that has been converted into luxury apartments. On the Friday night, the area was buzzing with after-work drinkers and diners enjoying the al fresco eateries that also share the building.
As you enter Garth Male Grooming, the flat screen TV gets your attention. Tonight, the tennis is on. The atmosphere is slick, with minimalist décor, earthy tones and light pop music playing.
Garth is a unique grooming studio offering a range of expert treatments for men. Classic in both style and design, it offers a comfortable environment in which to relax and be pampered.
Owner and manager, Marguerite Hancock, has a background in beauty therapy and, more recently, in cinemagraphic makeup. She explains that the studio is named after her father – “an amazing man”.
“We opened in April, 2006. We were planning to open sooner but there was a delay with the building that we are in,” she says. “We chose Teneriffe for the demographic: a high concentration of men, and couples with high disposable income.
“We wanted to create a classic masculine environment, using materials that don’t date, for example, wood, glass and cement. By using a wooden wall that weaves its way through the salon and dimmable lighting we have a warm and welcoming ambience. The white walls and high ceilings enhance the woolstore loft apartment feeling.”
While the studio caters predominately to men, 10 per cent of clients are female.
Garth uses two product ranges, Dermalogica and Germaine de Capuccini. Marguerite chose Dermalogica as it is a popular and respected brand, with packaging that appeals to both men and women and a great support system for their salons. Marguerite says Garth was the first salon to take on Germaine de Capuccini, which she chose for the extensive scientific research behind the products and its beautiful range of body treatments – along with a great range specifically for men.
Garth Male Grooming prides itself on creating an environment that is comfortable and relaxed with a focus on maintaining high standards in their treatments.
For Marguerite, the decision to open a men’s grooming salon was easy. “The male-only grooming industry is the fastest growing area in the beauty industry and we needed to get Brisbane on track with the rest of the world,” she says.
Garth’s clientele ranges from 25 to 55, with the oldest being 73 and the youngest 14! “Our clients represent a wide range of professions from farmer to entrepreneur. We have a high density of clients from our local area but we also have men that travel up from Melbourne, down from Cairns and everywhere in between.”
To gauge client feedback, studio staff uses client feedback forms periodically and generally talk to clients about how to meet their needs. “This is important as the male grooming industry is in its infancy,” says Marguerite. “So the decisions we make are integral on the path to its future.”
Garth’s signature treatment is its Renovation package. “A man can come in and can get a complete consultation with us about what we think can help him and what he would like to improve. From this, we devise a plan for the two hours we have and then a long-term plan for the future. We find that because men have less knowledge about the industry they crave information and our expertise,” Marguerite explains.
Their most popular treatments are their one hour massage, one hour facial, eyebrow wax and back wax. Garth also offers express manicures and pedicures, and facials which are popular with their busy clients.
Marguerite regards retail sales as an important part of the salon and of providing a comprehensive consultation and informing the clients as to how they can maintain their skin at home. “We do not focus on add-on sales. It is about not forcing the clients; the best outcome is when we’re honest and get good results for the skin of the individual. You will always get repeat sales and recommendations when you meet the client’s expectations.”
A cohesive team of therapists and a happy working environment is definitely the key to a successful business, Marguerite says. “I believe the greatest asset we have is our team. As therapists they are extremely knowledgeable and have great techniques. But just as importantly, they have a great relationship with their clients. We like to create a relaxing environment for our customers but we also want a great working environment. Laughter is essential. When choosing staff, I look for all the obvious: professionalism, technical ability, but I also look for someone that I think complements the team.”
The team at Garth Male Grooming are always looking forward, seeing how they can improve their treatments and talking to their clients about what they can do to meet their needs. For example, Marguerite says they would love to include a traditional close shave with some of their treatments.
“We think that male beauty has so much further to go and we just want to maintain a high standard as this happens,” she says.
Garth Male Grooming is located at The London Quarter, Shop 4/36 Vernon Terrace,
Teneriffe. Phone (07) 3257 7248 or visit www.garthdayspa.com.au
Editor’s note: since this article was first published in Professional Beauty magazine, Garth Male Grooming has changed its name to Garth Modern Day Spa.