Mister Grooming and Goods
Walking into Mister Grooming and Goods, the newly opened hair studio located at 4504 Butler, feels like walking on the set of a TLC reality show. Every aspect of the experience is designed for the senses. The studio’s walls are decorated with art ranging from renaissance era religious figures to posters of Marilyn Monroe, all set on a vibrantly patterned wallpaper that shifts the mood upon entering from getting a haircut as an errand to getting a haircut as an enjoyable engagement.
Perhaps an unofficial “man-rule,” getting a haircut at a new place seems to always be a strangely intimate, and awkward experience — I mean, your sitting in a chair for half an hour while a stranger touches your hair. Grooming and Goods’ barber and owner Michael Shurina fully understands the initial trepidation a haircut naturally brings.
“Sometimes I think of myself as more than a barber here,” Shurina said “When I’ve got someone in the chair I’m something of a therapist.”
Shurina, 35, runs Mister Grooming Goods with his wife Heather, 28. The couple came up with the idea for the salon while on their honeymoon, thinking a place should exist for men to get more than just a haircut.
“More” is an understatement for the services available at the Lawrenceville shop that offers specials like the Classic Cut, which starts at $15. There’s the $30 cut and shave aptly called The Sweeney Todd, a manicure called Man Hands for $20 and a Wax On Wax Off for the back starting at $50. The Baby Face anti-aging facial is $45. The scope here is huge, and for men accustomed to a mumbly haircut from a stranger, a welcome change.
“This is what Jay-Z’s haircuts feel like,” I think to myself as Michael ushers me into the chair, offering me a Magic Hat #9 at the same time. He tells me I’d look awesome with a particular hairstyle and we discuss the shape of my face and how I want my hair to look. Frankly, the conversation felt effeminate in the best way. Men aren’t often expected to care about their personal appearance and seeing the effort put into the salon begs the question of why any particular gender shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy a little pampering.
And pampering was what I received, in between enjoying a cold beer while I got my hair cut (seriously, this should be common practice) and the lively conversation about everything from Flavor Flav to living in Regent Square, Mister Grooming Goods values the experience. So much so, that expecting to wander in the shop — as one man did during my cut — and get a seat in a chair is a no-no.
“I look at it like this: I should be spending close to 45 minutes per cut and if I have people who scheduled ahead of time, you could end up waiting around for 2 or 3 hours before I could get to you, that’s not what we’re trying to do here.” Shurina said.
The simple effort of scheduling an appointment (you can even send a text message reservation), is well worth it. The personalized, individual service offered is a unique touch on male hair styling and one whose welcome is long overdue.